Proposed by couples and relationship counselor Gary Chapman, the theory of FFL is based on a simple idea: people, depending on their personalities, give and receive love in different ways. Learning to recognize and understand these differing expressions of affection, both in oneself and in one's partner, makes it easier to identify the reasons behind conflicts, deepen interpersonal connections and better understand and appreciate gratitude and affection.
"People appreciate deeds and actions that make their lives a little more beautiful and nicer."
1. Words of Affirmation: Praise and Appreciation
People whose love language is “words of affirmation” place a special emphasis on verbal affirmation and affection. This includes expressions of love, compliments, and words of appreciation and encouragement - and can take the form of in-person communication as well as over digital platforms.
People who use this relationship language tend to praise others not only for outstanding achievements but also and especially for small favors, gestures and behaviors - without consciously categorizing them as praise. Often, they do not even realize they are praising, as it is simply their way of showing love and appreciation. For these people, written or verbal expressions of affection are most important since this is the form that makes them feel valued and understood.
2. Quality Time - Togetherness
Quality time as a language of love is found in individuals who prioritize dedicated time with their partners and who are always up for spontaneous activities. In any interpersonal relationship, their focus is on the full presence and undivided attention of the other person. There is also a strong need to actively spend time with their partner, have deep conversations and engage in recreational activities together.
3. Acts of services: Helpfulness
Action speaks louder than words. People whose primary language of love is helpfulness appreciate deeds and actions that make their lives a little more beautiful and nicer. This can be a cup of coffee brought to the bed in the morning, taking care of a household chore or making an essential repair. This language of love applies to people for whom actions speak louder than words - praising and recognition of loved ones through deeds.
4. Physical touch: Tenderness
Even though tenderness always figures in interpersonal romantic relationships, people fluent in this language of love attach special importance to physical intimacy - they feel loved when they receive signs of physical affection. Intimacy and touch are paramount here and play a highly important role in emotional bonding. People who communicate their appreciation via this language feel particularly good when they experience physical closeness - and value the warmth and security that goes hand in hand with tenderness and touch.
5 Gifts: Gifts from the heart
"The visual symbols of love" - this is how Gary Chapman (author and proposer of the Five Languages of Love) entitles thoughtful gifts as the language of love. What is important here is not monetary value but it is exclusively about the symbolic thought behind the material or non-material gift; it is about careful consideration and selection as well as the emotional benefits that comes with it. The key is to give meaningful things that reflect the values of your partner. People who speak this language of love feel especially appreciated and loved when shown small acts of attention – in action or in objects.