Navigating Different Love Languages in a Marriage

BrokenLoveLove languages serve a very important role in almost every relationship. Understanding what they are and how they affect you and your partner is important to maintain the love and affection you share with your partner.


As such, the team at Marriage Therapists Ottawa would like you to know about love languages and how the effect they have on marriages.


What Are Love Languages?

Love languages physical touch

The term “love languages” was coined by Gary Chapman in a book he published in 1992. It refers to how different people express and receive love. Chapman posits that everyone has a particular love language that primarily suits them and that understanding that language is a key factor in all relationships.


There are 5 different love languages.


1. Words of Affirmation


Those with this love language prefer to use spoken words when communicating love and affection. Words of encouragement and compliments allow these people to feel loved and valued.  Words like “I love you” and “thank you” mean a great deal to those who use words of affirmation as their love language.


2. Acts of Service


This involves actions and gestures that make life more pleasant. Persons whose love language is acts of service express and receive love through activities like household chores, errands and other things that improve their day. Actions like washing dishes, making dinner, buying groceries, etc make these individuals feel loved and appreciated.


3. Receiving Gifts


This particular love language holds the exchange of affectionate tokens as its centrepiece. People who follow this expression of love display and receive love through thoughtful gifts, surprises or symbols that indicate love. These gifts can range from the simple and small to the large and complex, depending on the personal preferences of the person in question.


4. Quality Time

Love languages quality time

Spending time together in a meaningful or intimate fashion is this love language’s cornerstone. Those who use this love language will feel appreciated and needed during shared activities like dinner together, walks, watching movies or just conversation. Intimate moments in the company of their partner are more than enough for those who use quality time as a love language.


5. Physical Touch


This love language is expressed best through tangible actions they share with their partners. Those with physical touch as their love language feel and express love through material and corporeal displays of intimacy and affection. Actions like holding hands, hugging, kissing, etc are appreciated and loved by those who use physical touch as a love language.


How Can Knowing Love Languages Help Marriages?


Failing to understand your partner’s love language can create serious marital problems. When people aren’t receiving love in a meaningful way that fulfills their unique psyche, it fosters feelings of underappreciation and misunderstanding. Left unchecked, these can fester and create disappointment, exasperation and even conflict in the marriage.


Learning each other’s love language can lead to more fulfilling and longer-lasting relationships and marriages. This will facilitate better communication and appreciation for each other, eliminating any inconvenience and misunderstanding. Hence, partners can better show each other their love and affection as they build a strong marriage.


How to Tell Your Partner’s Love Language


A simple way of learning how your partner prefers to receive and express love is just to ask. If they are familiar with the concept of love languages, they can easily tell you what they prefer and what they don’t. If not, an explanation of the concept can facilitate this discovery and help your relationship grow stronger.


An indirect way of learning your partner’s love language is observing and noting the ways they express their affection. If they like to buy a lot of presents or are very excited to receive presents, they may have the “receiving gifts” love language. If they tend to spend a lot of time with you, cuddling or holding hands, their love language may be “quality time” or “physical touch.”


What Is the Best Way to Show Love to a Partner?


Showing affection and intimacy to your partner will depend on what their love language is and what specifically speaks to them. Finding the specific vein in their love language that connects to them the most will help you forge deeper and more intimate relationships. If your partner’s love language is “acts of service”, you need to find the specific activities that allow them to feel the depths of your love and affection. This will show how much you care for your partner, leading to a greater connection in your relationship.


Marriage Therapists Ottawa – Couples Therapy & Counselling


Learning to communicate your feelings through your partner’s love language can completely change your relationship. They may not be a universal solution but love languages can help you communicate better and build a long-lasting relationship.

However, recognising love languages and using them to forge intimacy with your partner can be a difficult process. Please contact us if you need any help connecting with your partner. Marriage Therapists Ottawa places a strong focus on the emotional connections that exist between you and your partner. We provide counselling services for a wide range of issues couples may be experiencing so please contact us for help strengthening your connection.


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