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  • Writer's pictureNicholas Nack

What are the five love languages and what do they look like?

The five love languages, developed by Gary Chapman, have gained popularity in recent years and are known by many. You may even have heard of them. The five love languages are words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. There have been quizzes developed for people to take on the internet to quickly find out what their love languages are, and they resemble many other forms of online quizzes that provide questions and then spit out some response telling the quiz-taker something about themself. In this way it may not feel legitimate. There has been some research done on the love languages to determine if there is data to back up the claims made by Chapman. There is a need for more research in this area, but there is some promise to the current research. While not all of the research has been in agreement, recent research has found that couples with matching love languages were associated with relationship and sexual satisfaction. Additionally, couples who expressed the love language that their partner preferred to receive had higher relationship and sexual satisfaction when compared to those who did not express their partner’s preferred love language. In this way each person can have their own love language that they prefer to receive, but can learn how to express the preferred love language of their partner. Research on sexual satisfaction has found similar evidence in that being aware and acting on a partner’s preferences predicted sexual satisfaction rather than just having similar preferences for love languages. In a related vein, research on prosocial behavior has found that people spending more money on someone else rather than themselves was correlated with greater happiness. In this way there is a greater emotional benefit to meeting the needs of someone else than to meet your own needs (Mostova et al., 2022).

Love languages are not the fix all. The simplistic nature of the five love languages can sometimes give people the idea that all they need to fix their relationship is to make a few changes to the way that they express or communicate their love languages. In reality the reasons why couples have issues is much more complex. If the fix was as easy as love languages for struggling couples, couples counselors would be out of business. This however is not the case, and in some cases using the love languages may be used as a means of scorekeeping, which can harm the relationship. Additionally, one’s love language may change over time or with a given situation (Carroll, 2020).

In a quick google search of Gary Chapman, it is easy to find Christian websites and support for him from christian groups, and in all actuality he is a pastor as well as a counselor ("Dr. Gary Chapman," 2022). Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages: The secret to love that lasts, includes language that is based from a Christian perspective. There are explanations made in the text that include biblical characters and references (Chapman, 2015). People who have been hurt by religion, mainly Christianity, may find these parts of the book to be unpleasant, and knowing that the author writes and thinks from a Christian perspective may dissuade some from reading his literature. Others who identify as Christian may find the book's biblical references to be helpful and familiar.


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