The 5 Languages of Love
Firstly, do you want to love?
Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to give your love to anyone.
Monogamous love between two partners -- in its all encompassing, day-dream provoking, passion-stirring as depicted in epic poetry and modern rom-coms alike -- is a choice. As Bell Hooks says in her analytical assessment of the heart in New Visions: All About Love:
“Love is an act of will -- namely both an intention and an action. Will also implies choice. We do not have to love.”
When we look at love as a choice which we continually make over and over again, rather than a default state, we infuse the relationship with personal agency. The awareness of choice offers us a greater opportunity to love immensely and complexly, because it comes from the place of actively deciding to offer love to another.
Once we become aware of choice and affirm that we do in fact want to love, we then get to decide how we go about showing our love to another.
Secondly, how do you love?
There are five main expressions, or languages, of love. We show and receive love differently, and understanding the way you most authentically offer love as well as feel satisfied by the love you receive can help you to better navigate your romantic relationships. You’ve already chosen love, so now you get to decide the way in which that shows up for you.
Read through these five languages. Decide which one resonates with the way you offer love as well as that which makes you feel loved by another. Additionally, more than one may resonate with you, meaning the language may be different, but the translations may be the same.
The 5 Languages of Love:
- Words of Affirmation -- Hearing or offering assurance through words.
- Physical Touch -- Love manifested as intimacy and presence.
- Acts of Service -- Offering one’s time, energy, or resources to benefit the other without expectation.
- Gifts -- Love spoken as a surprise. The gifted object symbolizes thoughtfulness and validation of affection.
- Quality Time -- One on one time spent together; sharing experiences together as an expression of love.
The best part about love languages? You can speak it in different ways. If you are already involved in a relationship with a partner, consider taking this quiz together.
Speak, touch, serve, give, and show up. Despite how we most authentically express our love, it is a choice we make and therefore a responsibility to offer wholly, and without expectation. When we can be aware of the preference of how we give and receive love, we make space for that love to grow into its most mature, complex, and fulfilling form.
Also keep in mind that the choice to love should be spoken loud, and though it is, by necessity, a messy endeavor, there is such grand potential to move through the beautiful mess with a partner. You certainly do not have to speak the same language, you simply have to understand one another's.