Take the love languages quiz and use it in every area of life
Knowing how you express and experience love via your love languages is not only critical to successful relationships but also progress in every area of life.
In 1992 a philosopher and theologist by the name of Gary Chapman published a groundbreaking book called The 5 Love Languages that outlines how people tend to express and experience love.
Based on observations as a relationship counselor, Chapman developed the premise that every individual has one or two dominant ways, out of five total, of showing and receiving love.
Understanding your love languages is critical to good communication, interpersonal dynamics and emotional intelligence.
In this article we summarize the love languages framework and go a step further by showing how it can be beneficial to every area of your life, beyond just relationships.
What are the 5 love languages?
Though the five love languages framework is not backed by enough research to be deemed a scientific theory, the New York Times bestselling book is wildly popular in the fields of psychology and spirituality, selling over 12 million copies.
Morever, a plethora of anecdotal evidence and case studies suggest that it can serve as an effective relationship management and personal development tool.
We speak and understand best our native language. We feel most comfortable speaking that language. The more we use a secondary language, the more comfortable we become conversing in it.
If we speak only our primary language and encounter someone else who speaks only his or her primary language, which is different from ours, our communication will be limited.
Gary Chapman, The 5 Love Languages
The overall premise is that people have preferred ways of receiving and experiencing love and naturally give love in a way that mirrors these preferences.
However, to better communicate and build up relationships, it’s important to not only understand your preferences but those of your loved ones. With this knowledge you can communicate more effectively.
The bottom line is that you need to be able to get love the way you want it and give love the way they want it, in order to have a successful relationship.
There are five love languages as follows:
receiving gifts — the need for love shown through tangible or physical things or experiences that are meaningful and thoughtful
quality time — the need for love shown through undivided attention for a significant period of time
words of affirmation — the need for words to feel loved and appreciated in the form of verbal compliments or other positive statements
acts of service — the need for action to feel truly loved in the form of any helpful or useful activity that takes time and effort
physical touch — the need for love shown through proximity and frequent physical contact
How to determine your love languages
If you haven’t already read the book, it includes an assessment can help you figure out your primary and secondary love languages.
However, you can also quickly reflect on your interactions over the past week and ask the following questions to identify your dominant love languages:
What made me feel / Who made me feel / When did I feel ... ?
As you reflect, try to identify what specifically about the situation contributed to your positive feelings. Were you given something small but significant? Did you finally get face time with someone you've been wanting to connect with in person?
See if you spot a pattern where one or two of the love languages tend to strongly correlate to positive feelings. To determine someone else’s love language either ask them to read the book as well or simply be more observant and improve your listening skills so you can identify them.
We’ve also created a digital and printable version of the quiz that you can use yourself or give to loved ones.
How to use your love languages
Personal connections and interactions extend to every area of life so it is important to acknowledge your love languages even outside of your closest relationships.
Moreover, it is also possible to express and experience love outside of personal interactions. For instance, a musician having a deep fondness for her instrument. Or an avid reader who holds dear his favorite book.
In our coaching practice, we’ve found that pairing the love languages framework with the wheel of life tool is a useful method for evaluating what you need to express and experience in each life theme in order to feel love and be happy.
The wheel of life maps out each area of your life so you can easily assess whether that area is in line with where you want it to be.
Using the tool, you think about each of your life themes and rank them (from 1-10, 10 being the highest) according to how happy you are with them and how well they are aligning with your ideal life.
Your love languages can act as a barometer by which you measure your current happiness level with a particular area of life, and identity opportunities for improvement.
Here are some examples of how you can use your love languages to enhance the life themes in your wheel:
As mentioned above, relationships are the standard way in which you can use your love languages. In this area it's all about being open and honest about them with family and friends so they understand what you need to feel loved.
Of course, be sure to reciprocate this understanding as well by listening, being observant, or even asking loved ones what they need.
When it comes to what you do for a living, how you give and receive love can be a strong indicator of the types of industries or functions that would serve you best.
It can also help you hone your strengths and be aware of your shortcomings when it comes to connecting with clients, customers, employees and partners.
Your personal interests likely reflect your love languages in some way, so enhancing this area of your wheel of life simply requires doing things that are in alignment and perhaps passing on those that aren't.
Your physical environment and overall atmosphere contributes significantly to your sense of well-being. Preference environments that support and are conducive to the expression of your love languages by choosing places, activities and experiences that give you more of what you need.
Growth is a blanket term for self-improvement and personal development strategies that help you create the change you want to see in your life. Knowing how you express and experience love will help you choose developmental strategies that are most effective for you.