So imagine you’re at a bookstore or on Amazon and somehow you stumble upon one of the corniest book titles ever: The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman, #1 Best Seller in Christian Marriage. I’m a cynical atheist so when my friend swore on love languages to fix my broken relationship, I wasn’t that interested. But she was a somewhat cynical atheist, too, so I humored her. I can’t lie: the five love languages transformed the way I treat relationships – romantic and platonic – and they’re essentially just a cheat code to the psychology of love. Cheat codes have never been so romantic, though.
Maybe you’re at a point in your life where fucking around is all that you want – that’s totally fine (friends with benefits can be awesome!) – but if you’ve found someone and you’re actually serious about it this time, consider getting corny for a second.
You don’t have to read The 5 Love Languages to get the gist of it. Here’s the SparkNotes version: loving someone isn’t all automatic and easy. If you’ve spent more than three months with someone, you’ve probably figured this out. It’s about communication, compromise, and, above all else, simply showing you care. The problem with human beings is that we don’t all share the same idea of what love is or how to show it. Lucky for us, love is like anything else – you can learn how to do it right, with a little education.
My relationship issues were pretty standard: I wanted him to tell me he cared more often and to take the OKCupid label off my name on his phone (It had been three months! I was his girlfriend, not some girl he met on OKC!) He, on the other hand, didn’t think it really mattered. He showed he cared when he took the trash out, fixed my car, and did the dishes. Our problem was simple: we had different love languages (namely, words of affirmation versus acts of service). All we needed to do was understand how the other expressed their love, to be thankful for that, and to try to speak their language every once in a while.
So when she doesn’t get why you’re not saying “I love you” all the time, have a little talk about love languages. And try to say “I love you” more. You may have one main love language, but as soon as you find out what hers is, go with it. She’ll love you all the more for it.
Here are the five love languages:
- Gifts. ‘Cause buying someone something shows you care!
- Quality time. It means a lot when you make room in your busy schedule for alone time, even if that just means lazing around the house together.
- Words of affirmation. Tell her you care!
- Acts of service. Do nice stuff for her. My rule? If I make dinner, you do the dishes. No complaining or dragging of feet.
- Physical touch. We’d be lying if we said sex and cuddling weren’t of the utmost importance in keeping a relationship going.
So there you have it. The five love languages. The key to keeping a happy and healthy relationship? Don’t get lazy – show and say that you care. It’s that easy.