Can you be friends with your ex? It’s certainly tempting to try. In this episode, we’re exploring when it works, and when it doesn’t.
What's Your Love Language?
Understanding love languages – and acting accordingly – can change everything in a relationship for the better. Learn more here!
Love Language Quiz
The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast with Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby
Love Language Quiz
As a marriage counselor, couples therapist, and relationship coach, I’m always working with couples who are seeking to make positive changes in their relationships. Sometimes, the reasons why couples have conflict go deep, but honestly, you’d be amazed at how often couples discover that the thing causing hurt feelings, emotional disconnection, or resentment in their relationship is actually NOT a difficult-to-resolve relationship issue. It’s the fact that they don’t understand each other’s love language and that, my friends, is a solvable problem.
Once couples connect the dots, gain an appreciation for each other’s love language, and start showing each other love and respect in different ways…everything changes: Toxic relationship patterns start to unwind, withdrawn partners start to open up, anger fades, and the path forward emerges. All by learning each other’s love language!
Understanding Love Languages
I’ve seen couples come into counseling feeling very discouraged about their relationship, even to the point where they wonder if they’re in a compatible relationship or whether it’s time to call it quits. They talk about how frustrated they feel with their partner; how the walls between them feel insurmountable. So, when I invite them to take a love language quiz and think, “What’s my love language?” and “What is my partner’s love language?” they can feel skeptical at first. I mean, love languages? Aren’t our problems much more serious? Could it really be that easy?
Actually, yes. A big piece of repairing a relationship is often that easy, but no one would fault you for dismissing the idea as superficial unless you really understood the significance of it. The idea of “love languages” has been batted around as a pop-psychology term to the point that the full power and significance behind these ideas is lost. When you actually take a deeper look into what love languages are, and what they’re attached to, you’ll understand that they are quite significant.
Love Languages Go Deep
Much has been made about attachment styles in relationships: how we perceive others, how we show up in relationships, and what our patterns are. Less commonly discussed are more subtle realities around what we were taught about love: what love is, what it means, and what it looks like in action. These messages about what love “should” be are not taught to us explicitly, but we pick them up nonetheless — through every interaction we have with the people we’re attached to growing up.
These messages are subconscious and, as adults, we may not realize we carry a firmly established set of ideas about what love “should” look like. It’s even more difficult to realize that our partner carries their ideas about love as well – ideas that are different from ours (given the fact that they grew up in a different family, with different messages and relationship expectations).
Virtually all couples who have not done intentional growth work in this area have subconscious expectations of what being loved and cared for should look like in action. Since we are not partnered with a clone of ourselves (thankfully!), it's incredibly easy to show each other love in the ways most natural and pleasing to us without fully realizing that these efforts are falling flat — or even causing painful conflict. This can lead to power struggles, a lack of emotional safety, blaming each other for relationship problems, and more.
Learn to Speak Each Other’s Love Language
We’ve all heard of the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do for you.” However, when it comes to having great relationships, that’s actually not the whole truth. There’s a platinum rule of relationships, “Do unto others as they would like you to do.” Meaning that we need to sensitively show love, care, respect, and affection to our partners in the ways that are actually most meaningful to them, not necessarily to us.
(More on the 12 biggest relationship mistakes, right here, if you’re interested.)
But now we have a new problem: How to know your love language so that you can help your partner understand you better and show you love in the way that you can experience. Furthermore, it’s hard enough to get clarity around your own love language and ask for what you need. How do you figure out your partner’s love language and understand what they’re needing from you?
Love Language Test For Couples!
That, my friend, is what we’re doing on today’s podcast: Love Languages Quiz. I’m going to be giving you insight into what the core needs are of the different “love language styles” so that you really understand yourself and your partner better. Then, I’ll be walking you through some questions (my informal “love language test” that will help you both know how to figure out your love language. With that understanding, it will be much easier to meet each other’s needs in a relationship, connect with your partner, have empathy for each other, communicate, and strengthen your relationship.
Good stuff! You can listen to the Love Language Quiz podcast episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or on the handy-dandy podcast players on this page. I’m also including the episode highlights, plus a full transcript for you (below) if you’re more of a reader.
Thanks for tuning in today. I hope that this Love Language Quiz podcast helps you easily create positive change in your relationship. It’s powerful stuff!
P.S. If you’d like to do even more “learn and grow together” types of activities with your partner, another great resource is our free “How Healthy is Your Relationship Quiz.” You can both take it and use the results to spark a productive conversation about your strengths and growth opportunities as a couple.
Love Language Quiz
The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast with Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby
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Love Languages Quiz: Episode Highlights
Relationship Compatibility and Love Languages
Love languages refer to the different ways that people experience love. Some therapists don’t think they matter. However, learning about your and your partner’s love language can be a powerful and effective way to understand relationships and make them work. They even explain:
- why we feel disconnected or unloved
- why there is no positive relational energy in our relationship
- why we think we’re not compatible
- why our relationships don’t work
Often, the simpler explanation to these seemingly dire scenarios is that you and your partner have different love languages. Once you begin to understand these differences, you can work on how to get your needs met in a relationship and satisfy your partner’s too.
Love Languages, Explained.
We often hold this false belief that all people are the same and what is true for us is true for others. Unfortunately, this notion is highly problematic. This way of thinking can lead to hurt, anger, resentment, and feeling unloved.
Love languages help you identify what you and your partner need in a relationship to make it work. Here are some tips to consider:
- Never assume what your partner’s love language may be or think that you are the same.
- Respect the things that matter to your partner even if you don’t agree or like them.
Remember: “The key to compatibility is not twinship; it is not being the same. It is respecting and appreciating each other for your differences.”
The Different Love Languages
People feel loved in different ways. We are all individuals with unique experiences, cultures, and upbringings that shape how we think and feel. And this individuality can extend to our love languages.
Gary Chapman coined the term “love languages” in the 90s. He originally proposed that there were primarily five love languages in his book. These are:
- Quality time
- Physical touch
- Acts of service
- Words of affirmation
I think there are two more love languages: building together and emotional intimacy. We’ll discuss each one so that you can identify what’s your love language.
Words of Affirmation Love Language
People with this love language need a verbal expression of affection. This includes saying:
- A simple “I love you.”
- Compliments like, “You look good today.”
- Appreciative statements like, “This is an amazing dinner.” Or “Thank you for making this.”
Use the power of praise, compliments, and love often. If you find it hard to express your affection aloud, try sending letters, text messages, or cards. The key here is that you put what you feel for your partner in words.
Gift-Giving Love Language
If your partner’s love language is gift-giving, they feel loved when they receive tokens of your affection. They may also love to shower you with well-thought-of presents.
An example of a thoughtful anniversary gift for someone with this love language is a framed ticket of the first movie or concert you went to as a couple. Remember, gifts don’t have to be expensive to be thoughtful. Although, this does not apply to everybody because, for some cultures, the price matters. So, it really takes getting to know your partner to find the balance.
Acts of Service Love Language
As a love language, acts of service stems from the feeling of being together as a team. You’re both working on a shared life with shared responsibilities. People with this type of love language feel valued if you help them out.
This love language evolves as you grow older because your priorities change as more responsibilities come into your life. For example, in your 20s, acts of service may involve very different activities than when you’re in a different phase of life. For example, when you have children, taking care of the kids may be serving to take care of your partner too.
Acts of service are more valuable when you do things for your partner without them asking. It makes them feel noticed, respected, and loved. In addition, research shows that “there is a direct correlation between the level of egalitarianism in a relationship, meaning that men and women share the burden of childcare, housework stuff, sexual intimacy and relationship satisfaction.”
Quality Time Love Language
People who prefer quality time love being with their partners and doing things together. It is “this sense that you’re partners in crime. And that there are things that they like to do that are important to them. To be able to share them with you, their number one person, is very, very meaningful.”
The type of meaningful activity you do with your loved ones depends on their personality or preferences and can take many forms. Sometimes quality time involves doing something very special together like a fun evening out, or taking a trip. However there are many small, day-to-day opportunities for spending quality time together that are easy to overlook, such as making it a priority to have meals together, tag along while running errands, or even watching the same series together. Small things count too!
Physical Touch Love Language
For some people, physical touch is how they feel loved. They need to literally feel and touch their partner through a big hug, a kiss, or an intimate evening together.
Sexual intimacy is essential for people with this love language, but it doesn’t always have to be the goal. Instead, “practice having a lot of non-sexual touching and physical intimacy built into your relationship.”
Another manifestation of the physical touch love language is being environmentally sensitive. For example, your partner may always want to be in beautiful places or enjoy food. So, you can also show them love through a variety of “creature comforts” in addition to literally touching them affectionately.
Emotional Intimacy Love Language
Emotional intimacy can be confused with quality time. The main difference is it must involve meaningful conversations or things that you can only tell your partner. If your partner has this love language and you fulfill it, they will start to feel safe with you. The key is to listen to your partner with empathy.
Building Together Love Language
Building together is sometimes confused with acts of service because they both require doing things for someone. However, this is more concerned with your future together and not the feeling of being understood and respected.
An example is planning your financial future. You, as a couple, have shared hopes about your finances, so you have plans to achieve it. This love language signifies a commitment to building a life together.
What’s Your Love Language?
Time to take the Love Language Quiz!
In this podcast, I’m going through a short love language quiz designed to get to know your love language, as well as your partner’s. You can also share this episode with your partner so they can understand themselves and learn your love language too. Here are some of the questions to think about:
- On a beautiful Saturday morning, what do you want to do?
- What do you want your partner to do for your birthday?
- After a long and tiring day of work, what do you need from your partner?
- What is your most favorite thing about your partner?
- What is one thing that you wish you had more of in your relationship with your partner?
- What is most likely to trigger an IKEA fight?
In this podcast, I’m helping you think about these answers from a variety of different “love language perspectives.” This love language test for couples is not scientific nor score–based, yet still really helpful in assisting you in uncovering your truth. The patterns in your answers may reveal what really matters to you. The frequency of your choices can explain what your love language is.
As you think, “what is my love language?” during this exercise, you’ll likely find out that you have more than one love language. That is valid, many people do! But you also need to know what matters most to you, because having that clarity is what allows you to express love meaningfully to each other. The key here is for you to understand the needs of your relationship based on the love languages you and your partner have. That’s what makes a relationship work!
Love Language Activity For Couples
Let’s put these love language ideas to work!
Once you listen to my “love language quiz” and think about your answers, I hope that you forward this episode to your partner so that they, too, can identify their own love language. Then, come back together to share your results and talk about the positive changes you can each make to show each other love, respect, and affection in the way that matters most to both of you.
Did you enjoy the podcast? What did you learn about yourself, your partner, and your love languages? How do you think love languages affect how you understand relationships? Share your insights in the comments below? And don’t forget to subscribe to the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast to keep helpful, pro-relationship, positive ideas and activities in your life every single week!