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The five languages of love

Community Member

I thought it would be helpful to share a little of what I've read on this topic and leave it to you to test the theory in your own relationships.

I read Gary Chapman on the languages of love. In no particular order they are: providing words of affirmation. This is when you say something positive about a person that is based on truth or some concrete example. It's not just a compliment or cliche. It needs to be honest and from the heart.

The second language of love is giving gifts. Such gifts have to have meaning for the recipient. Not just roses on Valentine's Day, but something they will value and regard as special.

The third language of love is performing acts of service. Some people find that doing things for others is an act of love. That's not to take advantage of people and their kindness or generosity, but rather to be gracious and appreciative when something is done for you that you want or need. Be spontaneous rather then strategic. Don't give to get back something in return. Help out to show you care.

The fourth language of love is spending quality time with someone. Doing things together and really being present for that someone is highly valued as an expression of love. Really invest in the activity and give of yourself.

The fifth language of love is appropriate physical touch. A well timed hug, a massage, a touch at the right time and place can convey loving tenderness, kindness and compassion. It brings you closer together.

Chapman suggests that we have a preference for a particular lanaguage. Which is yours and which is your significant other's. Notice what they complain about. They might say, we never spend time together. That person has a preference for quality time. Notice which language they use with you. If they are a gift giver then they probably prefer gifts given to them as well. Reciprocate. Be conscious of such expressions of love.

Observe which language is used and in what way. Test out the various styles and see what works. Have a conversation about your preference and how it is expressed between you. Be careful not to misinterpret the language and the intent. Tell each other what language you prefer and how you like to express it and experience it. Hopefully it will strengthen the bond between you and contribute to those positive strokes needed to keep a relationship going. Remember that we need five positive strokes for every negative stroke in order for a relationship to survive.

6 Replies 6

Community Member


i just finished re reading that book for about the 5th time. It's my favourite book of all time. I also finished reading books on being HSP!!! It's really helped me understand me & why other people don't seem to understand me!!!

Have an awesome day!


Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear HSP~

Thank you for another lovely thread. I quite agree - of course - with what you say. If I can pop in my 2¢'s worth I do think there is something else, not a language as such, but to do with love

Remember that we need five positive strokes for every negative stroke in order for a relationship to survive.

When I was in my first marriage if we had an argument it was almost no holds bared and sometimes we would say something really hurtful in the heat of the moment. Although we survived that - maybe the five positives made up for it - I think it was too destructive.

For example if you were to call somebody fat or ugly or stupid or whatever and it is one of the things their self-esteem is weak on or has a grain of truth then I guess some permanent hurt might be done.

When my first wife passed away I remarried and we formed a pact to never say something that was impossible to take back or crossed an invisible boundary. We do have the occasional difference of opinion and even have 'vigorous' talks sometimes, however we've both stuck to the agreement for 20+ years and it has made life for both of us easier and more secure.

I'm not sure this would work for everyone, some being more volatile than others, but does for us.



We are on the same wavelength Tbella. For me, it is a search for truth and self knowledge. For understanding and wisdom. The world is a very sick place imo. As far as mental and physical health is concerned the world is catastrophic. Our systems are raping the planet and destroying the people. As a fellow hsp, you might have discovered the same. I look around me and all I see is stupidity and ignorance. My knowledge is not perfect, but I think I could develop a better system than this rubbish. Best wishes, Sandra

Hello Croix. I agree with you that relationships involve more than each person's preferred language of love. Having a covenant or agreement with each other not to offend sounds like a good idea to me. It sounds like good ethics and morality.

John Gottman described the four horseman of the relationship apocalypse. These four destructive behaviours will ruin your relationship if not kept in check and if not repaired when they happen.

The four behaviours are criticism where you attack the person and their self worth, contempt where you show disrespect for them, defensiveness where you don't take responsibility for yourself, and stonewalling where you ignore or constantly avoid an issue or use silent treatment.

If you don't maintain a healthy ratio of positive to negative interactions then the relationship satisfaction suffers and it may not survive. Gottman found that the four behaviours described here often predict divorce.

Good on you for nipping it in the bud and agreeing not to abuse each other. That's smart and wise. Sandra.

Dear HSP~

Yes Gottman seems to have it all, I particularly like his thoughts on reconciliation (forgot where they came from though). I also like C.S.Lewis who says such things as:

Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained


Hi highly sensitive person,

I want to keep this info in my thread which is why I've posted. Thankyou so much, relevant to my life atm. 🙂