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News You Can Use: Partners should learn to speak the languages of love

Shelly Barnes • Updated Feb 22, 2017 at 7:00 PM

The month of February is often when we talk about love, our partners and all things romantic. However, loving – both the giving and receiving – can sometimes be tricky. 

For instance, do you ever feel like you are not appreciated by your partner? Or maybe your partner never understands why you want to spend so much time together? 

A University of Tennessee Extension expert from the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences has suggestions on how to better understand and communicate about the ways we give and receive love.   

Heather Wallace, an assistant professor and human development specialist, stressed not all people receive love in the same way. 

“Gary Chapman’s book, ‘5 Love Languages,’ is a valuable tool to better understanding preferences in how we would like to be loved by our significant other,” Wallace said. 

The book explains love as being different “languages” and how speaking your partner’s love language can help you understand your partner’s need and how to better interact. 

 According to Chapman, the love languages are:

• acts of service such as making the bed, helping with chores, running errands…all without being asked.

• quality time or spending time together in the same space.

• physical touch such as hugs, holding hands, shoulder rubs, etc.

 • gifts, expensive or not, it’s the thought that counts.

• words of affirmation or saying specifically what you like and appreciate about him or her.

Chapman has a free quiz online at 5lovelanguages.com to help you determine which of the five languages best describes you.

Once you learn what your love language is, communicating with your partner is critical. 

“Having both members of the relationship complete the assessment is helpful. Once you have each identified your love language, it is best to have a clear, calm and honest conversation about the results,” Wallace said. “Talk about what you appreciate in each other and discuss the times you have felt most loved by the other person. What is so interesting is that this often ends up in a shared ‘a-ha’ moment for a couple. It is this very moment when they can come together and say, ‘let’s commit to making our relationship the best we can.’” 

UT Extension provides a gateway to the University of Tennessee as the outreach unit of the Institute of Agriculture. With an office in every Tennessee county, UT Extension delivers educational programs and research-based information to citizens throughout the state. In cooperation with Tennessee State University, UT Extension works with farmers, families, youth and communities to improve lives by addressing problems and issues at the local, state and national levels.  UT Extension and TSU Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment.

For more information on this or other family and consumer sciences-related topics, contact Shelly Barnes, family and consumer sciences Extension agent for UT Extension in Wilson County. Barnes may be reached at sbarnes@utk.edu or 615-444-9584.

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