If you don’t already know your love language- don’t be alarmed. You’re not alone. Within the singleton world there are two types of singles who typically struggle to discover their primary love language. The first consists of singles who have always felt loved and who received all five love languages from their parents. They speak all five rather fluently, but they’re not sure which one speaks most deeply to them. The other category is composed of singles who have never felt loved. They grew up in very dysfunctional families and were never secure in the love of parents or other significant adults in their lives. They don’t know which language would make them feel loved because they are not really sure what it means to feel loved.
1. Observe Your Own Behavior
So how do you discover your primary love language? Probably it would be best to start with you. How do you most typically express love and appreciation to other people? If you regularly hear yourself encouraging other people by giving words of affirmation, then perhaps that is your primary love language. You are doing for others what you wish they would do for you. If you are a back-patter, hand-shaker, or arm-toucher, then perhaps your love language is physical touch. If you are constantly giving gifts to others on special occasions and for no occasion at all, then gifts may be your primary love language. If you are the initiator in setting up lunch appointments or inviting people over to your house for the evening, then quality time may be your love language. If you are the kind of person who doesn’t wait until someone asks but observes what needs to be done and pitches in and does it, then acts of service is likely your primary love language.
Please notice that I am using the words perhaps, may be, and likely. The reason I am being tentative is because my research has indicated that about 25 percent of adults typically speak one love language but wish to receive another language. On the other hand, for about 75 percent of us, the language we speak most often is the language we desire. We love others in the manner in which we would like to be loved.
2. Observe What You Request of Others
If you regularly ask friends to help you with projects, then acts of service may be your love language. If you find yourself saying to friends who are going on a trip, “Be sure and bring me something,” then your love language is probably receiving gifts. If you ask a close friend to give you a back rub, or you express rather freely, “Could you give me a hug?” then physical touch is likely your primary love language. If you are regularly asking friends to go shopping with you, to take a trip together, or to come over to your house for dinner, you are asking for quality time. If you hear yourself asking, “Does this look OK? Did I do the report the way you wanted it? Do you think I did the right thing?” you are asking for words of affirmation.
Our requests tend to indicate our emotional needs. Therefore, observing what you request of others may clearly reveal your primary love language.
3. Listen to Your Complaints
The things about which you complain (whether expressed verbally or only in your head) can be very telling in figuring out your primary love language.
Brad was about six months into his first job after college when I asked him, “How are things going?”
“OK, I guess. It seems like nobody really appreciates what I do and that what I do is never enough.”
Knowing that he was familiar with the five love languages, I said, “Your primary love language is words of affirmation, right?”
He nodded his head while he said, “Yes, and I guess that’s why I’m not really all that happy with my job.” Brad’s complaint clearly revealed his primary love language.
If you complain that your friends no longer have time for you, your love language is likely quality time. If you complain that only one friend gave you a birthday present, your language is likely gifts. If you complain about not having a good hug in the last two months, physical touch is probably your language. If your complaint is that no one ever helps you and they expect you to do everything, then acts of service is probably your love language.
Our complaints reveal our deep emotional hurts. The opposite of what hurts you most is probably your love language. If you received love in that language, the hurt would go away and you would feel appreciated.
4. Ask the Right Questions
If you are currently in a dating relationship, you’ve got a great opportunity to discover your primary love language. Ask and answer the following questions: “What do I like most about the person I’m dating? What does he or she do or say that makes me desire to be with him/her?” Your answers will be very enlightening.
Another approach would be to ask yourself: “What would be an ideal spouse to me? If I could have the perfect mate, what would she/he be like?” Your picture of a perfect mate should give you some idea of your primary love language.
If you are not currently in a romantic relationship, you may ask: “What do I want most in a friendship?” Complete the following sentence: “An ideal friend would ________.” Your answer will probably reveal your primary love language.
5. The Love Language Profile
The final step in discovering (or confirming) your love language is taking The Love Language Profile. The profile is located within The Five Language: Single Edition book. And don’t forget to check out the study guide too- it will help you develop your love language.
What about your relationships?
Do you know your family members primary love languages? What about your two closest friends? If not, answer the following questions:
a. How does he/she most often express love and appreciation to others?
b. What do they request of you most often?
c. What have they complained about recently?