Issue #3 |Feb 2008

Today’s Topic: What Love Language do you speak?

Dear friends,

Valentine’s season is a great time to revisit the concept of “love languages”. This is the notion that we each have differing ways of expressing and receiving love; and our ability to experience love in our relationships will expand if we can learn to “speak” each other’s love language.

You’ll enjoy this article if:
• you’d like to identify your own love languages and
• you’d like to gain greater fluency in the love languages of a loved one.


Shirley Vollett, BSW, PCC
Life & Relationship Coach

Something to think about…

Truly connecting with a loved one comes down to one simple fact: You need to know and speak his or her love language.

-Gary Chapman

Wondering how to celebrate?

This Valentine’s Day, try something different. Take a few moments to learn your partner’s “love language”. And if you don’t have a partner, think about your child, a friend or a family member. These concepts can apply to any loving relationship.

Gary Chapman develops the idea of love languages in his book, The Five Languages of Love. Over many years of counselling married couples, Chapman noticed that many couples complain they feel unloved by their partner.

While one spouse believes he or she is expressing love, the other spouse doesn’t seem to receive or feel it. (Ever picked out the “perfect” gift or designed a “special” evening, only to receive a lukewarm reception?)

The problem may lie in the fact that couples are often speaking different love languages. According to Chapman, we all have a primary “love language”, just like we all have a primary spoken language. However, individuals in a relationship may not share the same one! While one partner is expressing love in his or her own way, the other is simply not “hearing” it.

So what IS a love language?

Simply put, your love language is reflected in how you express love and how you feel loved. Your love language is composed of the behaviors through which you EXPRESS love (like a loving touch or an affirming word) and the behaviors of another which cause you to FEEL loved.

To help you identify YOUR preferred love languages, rank the following Valentine’s Day options according to your preference. Which appeals to you the most?

1. Your loved one sets aside time to share a favourite activity and just BE with you, giving you their undivided attention.

2. Your loved one makes a point of expressing in words (written or verbal) how handsome/beautiful/intelligent/ talented/giving you are.

3. Your loved one plans something thoughtful for you: cooks you dinner, handles one of your chores, or watches the kids so you can relax.

4. Your loved one surprises you with an unexpected gift.

5. Your loved one treats you to a foot massage or a sensual back rub.

You might enjoy all of these expressions of love. However your top choices indicate your preferred love languages.

So which number was your favorite?
1. Quality Time is your preferred love language if you chose #1. You enjoy spending time with a loved one in meaningful ways. This could include any number of activities, from chatting over a glass of wine to spending play-time at the beach. What is important is that you are doing something together and are giving each other your complete and undivided attention.

2. Words of Affirmation is your love language if you chose #2. You likely affirm your partner with words of praise, comfort, appreciation and encouragement. You use words that build your partner up. Likewise you feel loved when your partner compliments, appreciates and encourages you verbally.

3. Acts of Service is your love language if you prefer #3. You like to do things for your partner to make their life easier and more comfortable. You enjoy doing things to help them out, and you feel loved when they do things that are helpful to you.

4. Gift Giving and Receiving is your love language if you chose #4. You take pleasure in intuiting the gifts that please your partner and gifting them with these. You like to give things that symbolize your love and let your partner know that you are thinking of them. You also love to receive gifts (they needn’t be costly) and you accept them joyfully.

5. Physical Touch is your love language if your choice was #5. Physical touch includes, but is not limited to sexual intercourse. You enjoy touch in many forms and expressions. Stroking, massage, holding hands, hugging, affectionate squeezes are just a few of the many expressions you may enjoy giving and receiving. Touch is a deeply reassuring expression of love for you.

It’s important to remember that within each love language, there are many different “dialects”. Each language can be expressed in an infinite number of ways. Some couples share a primary language (this may be part of their initial attraction for each other), while they may differ on their secondary languages. Developing these secondary languages can add new dimensions to a relationship.

It may not be totally natural for us; however as an act of love, we can choose to learn another’s love language. The Golden Rule says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” However the greater challenge in relationships is expressing love according to the Platinum Rule, which says, “Do unto others as they want to be done unto!” This is what learning another’s love language is all about.
Invitation to Action
Share this article with your partner. Then each of you list:
  • What 3 caring behaviours did/does your partner do that you most appreciate?
  • What 3 caring behaviours would you like your partner to do more of?

Share your list with your partner and notice your similarities and differences. See if you can learn something new about how your partner likes to be loved. Experiment with expressing love in a way that they can “hear”.

Shirley Vollett, Life and Relationship Coach, delights in working with pro-active individuals who want to make positive changes in their lives, their work/business or their relationships. Her clients appreciate her ability to listen deeply, her compassionate wisdom and her support in moving forward. Shirley offers a complimentary intro session for those who want to explore how coaching works and how it can help. Click on a link below to contact Shirley or visit her website at
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Copyright © 2008 by Shirley Vollett. All rights reserved.