Have you heard of the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman? Even if not, you’ve probably heard the term “love language” used in reference to relationships. The book and its associated quiz are helpful resources for any relationship, but for dating relationships in particular.
The basic premise of the book is that each person has a “language” they use to communicate love to others. Usually they have a primary and secondary language, first and second of the five options, with the other three descending below those. The five languages, Chapman suggests, are:
- Quality time
- Acts of service
- Physical touch
- Words of affirmation
When a couple shares the same love language—for example, quality time—it’s easier to coordinate dates and communicate effectively. When we enjoy the same things, we’re naturally drawn to do them together!
This is much more difficult when you date someone who does not share the same love language. My husband and I—as I’ve shared before on Project Inspired—are not only opposite personalities, but we don’t share any of the same love languages! Josh is physical touch and quality time; I am words of affirmation and acts of service. Below are four ways we’ve made this work in our dating and marriage relationship that may help you date someone with a love language opposite your own.
Educate Yourself About the Love Languages
Want a great activity for your relationship? Read The Five Love Languages together! You’ll not only learn more about communicating love to each other, but you’ll also have some fantastic discussions along the way. You can also head to the Five Love Languages website to take a free quiz identifying your love language. We recommend taking the test for singles as opposed to married couples, even if you’re in a relationship (the sexual aspect of marriage can skew the “physical touch” results on the married test).
Continue to learn more about the love languages as you date, improving your communication of values and expression of love to one another.
Recognize His Efforts
Second, recognize your partner’s efforts to show love—even if they aren’t in your language! This can be tough because we tend to recognize what we prioritize. If you’re big on quality time, you might completely miss your boyfriend’s efforts to compliment you via words of affirmation, or vice versa. Affirm his love for you no matter how he expresses it—especially as he learns to love you the way you best understand it.
Try to Express Love the Way He Receives It
When you express love to your boyfriend, try to do so via his love language. Obviously this doesn’t need to be the case all the time, but if you know he loves words of affirmation, leave him notes telling him what you admire about him. Write him letters periodically. Take the time to express love the way he recognizes it best—just as he should be doing for you!
Lastly, give grace to one another. While love languages improve communication, we can’t get hung up on the details to the point where the relationship suffers. We all have a lot to learn in expressing love to one another; it’s not always easy! So as you grow in communication and learn to show love via one another’s languages, show grace—and appreciate each other for the individual things you bring to the relationship.