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The Individual Differences Experienced in Love Languages

Often referenced throughout pop culture, the 5 Love Languages are essentially categories for how we give and receive love. Identified by marriage counselor Gary Chapman, these love languages are words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, physical touch. The love languages hint at the individual differences we carry with us into the meaningful relationships in our lives and the expectations we hold for the people involved.

The 5 Love Languages are: 

  • Words of Affirmation: whether simple or complex, words of affirmation are positive acknowledgments of love and care.

  • Acts of Service: these acts show love by making someone feel cared for by taking a task off their shoulders.

  • Receiving/Giving gifts: As a visual representation of love, thoughtful gifts show effort and care from the giver.

  • Quality Time: When attention is undivided and a person is prioritized during quality time by a partner, the love of their partner is shown.

  • Physical Touch: Touches like holding hands, kissing, and cuddling are intimate and binding ways people feel and give love.

Love Languages are not static, as they are shaped by the experiences we have. Throughout our lives, how we have received and been expected to give love, as well as the developmental needs and wants we have at that point in time affect what love means to us. As people grow and begin to understand themselves more, they may even begin to find themselves identifying a secondary and tertiary love language beyond the primary one they tend to lean towards. 

Individual personality also changes the needs we have from our relationships. For example, extraverts, who value interpersonal interactions, may have a higher preference for words of affirmation and physical touch because of this prioritization of social connection. More conscientious individuals, those who are well-planned and motivated, may value quality time because of its importance in maintaining relationships.

Understanding these individual differences in relationships is very important. What is also important to note is that differing love languages in a relationship do not inevitably predict the future failure of a relationship. Instead, just identifying and understanding how your partner wants love from you, and knowing what you expect out of them, can be a key factor in relationship success.

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