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Last Updated on February 11, 2020

How the 5 Love Languages Help Strengthen Your Relationship

How the 5 Love Languages Help Strengthen Your Relationship

You may have been hearing “The 5 Love Languages” buzz around the internet for the last couple of years. But really, what are the love languages.

Everyone gives and receives love in different ways. So, the goal of this article is to help couples gain a deeper understanding of what are the love languages and their differences and boost communication.

The love language test applies for couples or for singles who want to understand what are the love languages they need from a relationship. The test also applies to men who want to succeed in life, for children and teens, and even for those in military service who face unique relationship challenges.

So what are the 5 love languages, and what’s the point in finding out more about them?

What Are the 5 Love Languages?

1. Words of Affirmation

You need to hear your partner express their love for you verbally. This can include romantic affections, expressions of appreciation, and simple manners.

2. Acts of Service

Having your partner help you out around the house or do something to make your day a little easier (like making you breakfast or shoveling the snowy walkway) means more to you than a bouquet of flowers ever could.

3. Receiving Gifts

Don’t mistake receiving gifts with being spoiled! This only means that you feel the most loved when your spouse surprises you with a gift that lets you know they were thinking about you.

4. Quality Time

You need to spend time with your spouse doing something that doesn’t involve watching television or playing on your phone. You receive love when you get undivided attention from your spouse.

5. Physical Touch

You receive love when you are hugging, kissing, caressing, holding hands, and being sexually intimate with your partner. It connects and refreshes you in a way that nothing else can.

Why We Need the 5 Love Languages

Imagine this:

A husband showers his wife with gifts and quality time, but she continues to tell him that she doesn’t feel loved.

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Why does she feel this way? The husband comes to discover that his wife’s love language is “acts of service.” She is feeling burnt out with work, raising children, and tending to the house.

The husband had great intentions with his gifts, but what his wife really needed was some help around the house.

Similarly, a wife who’s love language is “physical touch” may regularly be affectionate and intimate with her husband several times a week. So, when he tells her he is feeling unappreciated, she is beyond surprised.

What else can she possibly do to make him feel special? After taking the what are the love languages quiz, she realizes that his love language is “words of affirmation.” So, while sex is a great way to connect as a couple, what he needs from her is a verbal assurance of love or admiration.

This is how not knowing what your spouse’s love language is can affect your relationship.

Can the Love Languages Improve Your Relationship?

We all like to think we know our partner better than anyone else, but sometimes we only see what we want to see. This is where learning the 5 Love Languages comes in so handy.

Learning what are the love languages, how they give, and prefer to receive love enhances our relationship with our partner. Also, we develop a deeper understanding of what their needs really are – not what we assume they are.

Here are just some of the ways that learning your spouse’s love language can strengthen your relationship.

How to Strengthen Your Relationship with the Love Languages

1. Communicate with Your Partner

If you’ve ever gotten relationship advice from any long-married friends or family, you have probably heard the age-old adage, good communication is the key!

Communication is the key to conflict resolution, a happy marriage and a great foundation for a relationship.

A study published by the Journal of  Marriage and Family reports that couples who communicate are more satisfied with their relationship.[1] The research also suggests that couples are more positive and exhibit less negative behavior with one another, regardless of gender.

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Tips for great communication includes:

  • Making a habit of daily conversations
  • Not interrupting your partner when they are speaking
  • Actively listening
  • Removing distractions (cell phones, television blaring in the background, etc.) from your conversations
  • Being calm and respectful when voicing opinions
  • Looking at things from your partner’s perspective
  • Compromising
  • Not assuming you know everything about your spouse
  • Talking often about things both big and small
  • Not only does better communication do away with unnecessary arguments and deepen marital friendship, but it can also do wonders for your sex life.

Studies show that communicating about your intimate needs boosts overall relationship sexual satisfaction, quality, and results in increased orgasm frequency in females.

When you learn what are the love languages of your partner, you understand how to communicate with them on a much deeper level than you ever knew possible. After all, now you’re ‘speaking their language.’

2. Learn How to Empathize

What is empathy? Simply put, you can put yourself in your spouse’s shoes. When they’re stressed, you can sympathize. And when they’re happy, you’re ecstatic!

On the other hand, whenever the people around you are sad, you feel distressed. Do you see the pattern here?

Empathy is understanding someone else’s feelings. Having empathy is a great quality in a relationship, but not everyone is born with the magnetic ability to sympathize with others.

Learning what the love languages of your partner are will help you develop a deeper understanding of how they think, feel, and respond to things.

For example, you may not think anything of being off the grid with your spouse during the day (no calls, texts, or video chats).

Let’s say, you are off the grid for the day while you’re at work or out with your friends. And then, you didn’t call your wife, text her, or video chat. When you got home, she’s upset.

But why?

She knows you love her and you’re not a guy who likes to be on his phone while he’s out with other people. So, what’s the big deal? Why is she overreacting over nothing?

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After taking the Love Language test, you find out that your wife responds highest to words of affirmation and quality time. Then her actions and how she feels will start to make sense.

She’s not mad because she is trying to be the nasty wife who’s wrecking your guy’s night. She’s upset because hearing from you, even if only for a couple of minutes, is what makes her feel loved.

By learning what the love languages of your partner are, you can better understand and empathize with how they feel and why they act or react to certain things the way they do.

3. Express Affection in a Way That Matters

One study examined 295 college students, 195 females and 100 males, to see how physical affection affected a relationship.[2]

The physical affection mentioned included holding hands, kissing, caressing, giving or receiving massages, and cuddling.

The research, published by The American Journal of Family Therapy, found that:[3]

“(Romantic physical affection) is found to be highly correlated with relationship and partner satisfaction.”

Interestingly, the study also posits that the more physical affection a couple has, the better their conflict resolution skills were.

If you spend plenty of quality time with your husband and he still seems distant, it may be because his love language is physical touch.

Consider this: he isn’t vying for sex all the time just because it feels great, he’s doing it because it’s how he connects to you.

Once you learn your spouse’s love language, you can express your feelings in the ways that will matter the most to them. And, you will argue less.

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4. Connect on a Deeper Level

We spend so much of our time in relationships wondering what the other person is thinking, and this often leads to arguments and misunderstandings. The inability to talk to your spouse about both the important and the silly things in life leads to relationship devastation.

Don’t believe me? In a survey of 886 divorcing individuals, a whopping 55% cited being unable to communicate as the downfall of their relationship.[4]

When couples learn how each partner expresses themselves, it improves communication. In turn, this gives each person the courage to speak up about relationship-issues before they spiral into resentment. In turn, it leads to an improved friendship between you and your partner.

Romance is great, but it isn’t everything in a relationship. There’s something to be said for having a deep friendship with the one you love. When you learn your spouse’s love language, you start to connect on a deeper level – romantically and otherwise.

This is good news for you because research published in the Journal of Happiness Studies found that couples who view one another as their best friend double their marital happiness.[5]

As researchers Shawn Grover and John F. Helliwell explain,[6]

“We explore the role of friendship within marriage, finding that in our United Kingdom data the well-being benefits of marriage are much greater for those who also regard their spouse as their best friend.”

Final Thoughts

Now that you know your partner’s love language, you will be able to express your affection in a powerful new way.

In return, your spouse now knows exactly what you need to feel loved and appreciated in your relationship.

With these news lines of communication open, you and your spouse can conquer any problem and strengthen your relationship against whatever comes your way.[7]

What do you have to lose? Sit down with your spouse and take the 5 Love Languages test and find out the language of your hearts.

Learning what are the love languages your spouse or partner have will help you communicate better, not take things so personally, to better empathize, master conflict resolution, improve your romantic friendship, and become more observant in your relationship.

More Tips to Help Improve Relationships

Featured photo credit: Vince Fleming via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Sylvia Smith

Sylvia is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt its principles in their relationships.

How To Resolve Relationship Conflicts without Hurting Each Other How to Leave a Toxic Relationship When You Still Love Your Partner How to Overcome Jealousy in a Relationship How to Stop Nagging And Communicate With Your Partner Better 6 Reasons Why You Should Not Give Up on Love

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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