I have a confession: I’ve been chatting about the five love languages with my girlfriends for the last several years… but I hadn’t read the actual book until this past week. There’s an online quiz you can take to figure out your love language, but inspired by my friend Kelly’s post a couple weeks ago, I finally picked up the book and found it much more insightful than the magazine-style tally from the online version.

(Disclaimer: I’ll share more about this in my book review at the end of the month, but I also found many of the examples of married couples in the book maddeningly old-fashioned. It’s still super informative, but just something I wish I’d known to expect!)

In any event, if you’re new to the concept of love languages, the gist is that people want to receive love in different ways and so a behavior that might make one person feel adored might do very little for someone else. The five love languages are words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. And figuring out which way (or two ways) you want to receive love is a fascinating exercise, whether you’re trying to better understand your partner or you want to learn more about yourself.

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For me, I most appreciate quality time and words of affirmation. I knew I loved words of affirmation — Mark Twain’s quote “I can live for two months on a good compliment” rings true for me — but the quality time came as a bit of a surprise. I work from home by myself so I would have said I’m pretty independent and comfortable spending time on my own, but I do really cherish the quality of the time I get to spend with my family and friends, even if there’s not always a huge quantity of it. For instance, Will works long hours so we probably spend less time together on weekdays than your average couple, but when we’re together we’re good at leaving our phones in another room and really enjoying each other’s company.

For Will, I knew before reading the book that he most appreciates acts of service. Sometimes I joke that there’s nothing he finds more romantic than me offering to pick up the dry cleaning, but once I realized those kinds of things meant so much to him, it made me happy to do them. His secondary love language is definitely physical touch — he’s a back massager, hand holder, forehead kisser, etc. There’s definitely a learning curve in picking up each other’s love languages (especially when there’s not a ton of overlap — opposites attract!) but it’s been eye-opening for me in both our marriage and my relationships with family and friends.

Have you taken the online quiz or read the book? What’s your love language? Do tell!

12 thoughts on “WHAT’S YOUR LOVE LANGUAGE?

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  1. Since I read that you’re into podcasts, you should check out By the Book, a podcast where two girlfriends read self help books and live by them for two weeks and report back. It’s usually lighthearted and hilarious (some books are absurd, like Class with the Countess and one about Tarot cards, but they also have done Marie Kondo and an array of other interesting books), but often they have some very interesting takeaways. They just did an episode about the Five Love Languages and it was really interesting to hear how it affected their respective marriages. It certainly has made me think about taking the online quiz at the minimum. You should check it out along with the follow-up episode where they read listeners reactions and experiences.

  2. In the midst of reading the book and totally agree about the old fashioned nature of some of it. I’m glad to know it’s not just me and look forward to your post. It’s a good book if you can look past some of the things the author automatically associates with women vs. men.

  3. I took the quiz yesterday after reading your post and then had my boyfriend to take it as well. It was eye-opening to see what each others love language was and how we can be more mindful of what the other needs. My love language is quality time, whereas he’s more physical touch, I’m excited to read the book to find out more about each.

  4. My husband and I took the formal test when we did premarital counseling back in 2012 — we were the only ones in class to have EXACTLY the same ranking/order of love languages as each other! I thought for sure my primary one (physical touch) had changed after I had children but it occurred to me recently I’m actually just receiving physical touch by snuggling/kissing the babies. (So now I have to be conscientious to not neglect being affectionate with Drew just because MY cup is filled throughout the day.)

  5. yes! my husband and i have both taken the quiz a couple times throughout our relationship- because things can shift as you grow up, you know?
    i’m totally a words of affirmation, and he’s acts of service. we joke how obvious this is during birthdays/anniversaries/etc: i would ALWAYS choose a sweet, handwritten card – and he could care less about a card- would rather have be get up to make coffee or a special breakfast.
    i think it’s great to take the quiz every year or so to see if priorities have shifted 🙂

  6. I have taken the quit but have not yet read the book haha. I am definitely a gifts person. The more I thought about it though, I realized that maybe a secondary lesson to be learned from this idea is that there are many ways to express love and all of them are important. For example, I love giving/receiving gifts but then I realized that words of affirmation, acts of service, physical touch, etc are all VERY important to me as well and I should also try to “give” out those to people I love. It helped having defined categories so I know different ways to show my love for those around me.

  7. Love this post so much. I’ve been meaning to read the book for so long but I already know that my languages are receiving gifts and words of affirmation. I always have to remind myself that my languages are not universal and I should be more open to other forms of love to support my friends and family.

  8. I’ve taken the quiz online a couple times and always get words of affirmation followed by quality time and physical touch. It’s definitely helpful that my husband’s top three overlap! I think I’m also acts of service more than the quiz shows though I often “feel bad” letting my husband do chores when I know he’s tired and worn out too.

  9. I haven’t read the book yet, but I did take the quiz online. My love languages are apparently acts of service and quality time, neither of which surprised me. I’m looking forward to reading the book and learning more about the different ‘languages’ (plus maybe getting my husband to take the quiz too)!