CFL 19 | What is Your Love Language?


The Couples Advise Podcast

I need you to pay attention this week to what’s upsetting you.
What are you complaining about? What are you thinking about and wishing it were different? Especially in your relationships.

Because on the other side of every complaint, is a need you have that isn’t being met, that you haven’t asked for yet.

Today, we’re going to give you the cliffs notes version of Gary Chapmans book, the five love languages, and as I summarize each love language for you, listen for if you have a complaint in that area of your life, or your relationships.

Today, if you have a complaint on the forefront of your mind, that’s great news!
Because, like I said, your complaints are clues!
So grab a pen and paper or pull up the notebook app in your phone and start making a list of anything that comes to mind during this conversation today.

By the end of this podcast, you’ll have not only a huge amount of insight into how you like to be loved and how your partner likes to be loved that you never had before, we’ll also go way beyond the 5 love languages and give you questions to ask and things to look and listen for that make this new information 100x more valuable.

I’ll tell you the problem that Chris and I ran into when we read the love languages book in college, so you can avoid making the same mistake we made, and you’ll leave inspired and refreshed with new ideas and a brand new way of understanding and supporting your partner and the people that are important in your life.

So strap on!

We’re going in!

So why did Gary write the book, the 5 love languages, what ARE the 5 love languages and how does this apply to you?

One of my favorite parts of the book is that Gary introduces the concept of love tanks that need to be filled.

Just like our cars need gas to run, our love tanks need to be filled to keep our relationships and our lives happy and healthy.

The problem that Gary ran into time and again over twenty years of counseling couples that were ready to call it quits, was that often, both partners were giving all the love they had in a relationship and yet they were left baffled because their partners love tank was empty.

The problem,
he discovered, was that these couples had different love languages.

What does that mean?

Well, each of us has a particular way that we are most inclined to give and receive love. He calls that our love language.

What happens if your partner has a totally different love language than you?

You could turn blue in the face trying to express your love and devotion, and not only could they not hear it, they might turn into one big resentment machine because their love tank has been running on empty for so long. THAT can’t be good.

Before we go any further, let me tell you what the five love languages are & give you examples of each.

If something I mention has you feel loved & you can remember a time when you were on cloud nine after receiving that, write that example down. It’s important to start collecting these clues of what type of love you like to give and receive.

The first love language is words of affirmation.

Like when I say to Chris:
Thank you for working so hard to provide for our family.
Or when I say:

Or when I say, “Damn, Baby, You’re making those jeans look goooood!”
Or when I say:
“Oh my GOSH! This steak is amazing! You cooked it perfectly. This is exactly how I like it. You know me so well.”
Or when I say:

“Thank you for choosing me.” And he says, “Best decision I ever made.”
Or when Chris says to my kids during calendars at night: “The best part of my day was listening to mom’s new podcast.”
That makes me feel loved.
Or when he tells me what he likes after listening to each podcast I create, that makes me feel loved.

So those are examples of words of affirmation.

The next love language is quality time.

Spending time together as a couple where you’re giving each other undivided attention and your connecting through a shared experience.

It’s really anything you like to do with your partner.

For Chris and I, it would be movie snuggles, having fire pits in our back yard, taking walks to the pond in our neighborhood, having happy hour on our deck, lunch dates, riding our new ripstik, jet skiing, costco dates, or trying out new restaurants.

A distinction that Gary Chapman makes in this section that I really liked was that one of the ways people
that have quality time as their first love language feel most connected and get their love tanks filled up is through quality conversations.

The conversations that are deep and meaningful and uninterrupted and where you learn something new about what your partner is thinking or feeling. Those totally fill my love tank! Chris too. We love those!

Hence he coaches people to greatness in their businesses and I share with you on a weekly basis about relationships. We both love quality conversations that make a difference.

So thank you for listening and telling me what you get out of these podcasts, because when I get your feedback and hear that these quality conversations I’m creating are making a difference for you, my love tank gets so full it sloshes over the side a bit.

So the next love language is acts of service.
For example, I feel so loved when I open the door to my bedroom, to come out of the bathroom, after getting ready in the morning, and I see that Chris has….
made. our. bed.
Literally every morning it gives me this huge deep sigh of relief and this chorus of angels rejoices in my head like, “Aaaaaaaaah!”
Because it makes me so happy.
I feel so loved!

Then if I walk into our hallway where I can see our kids rooms, and their beds are made, and their floors are clean too then another chorus of angels sings, “aaaaaaahhhh!” In my head.

Then if I walk downstairs and my kids have not only eaten breakfast, but put the milk and cereal away, made their lunches, and cleaned the counter top. “Ahhhhhhh!” Again!

If somebody’s already fed our dog, Sammy….another chorus of angels.

Ladies, you may not have the same chorus of angels that sing in your head. It may just be a deep breath that happens because there’s one less thing in your environment screaming at you.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you should definitely revisit podcast 1&2.
Or…maybe that’s not what you see when you wake up in the morning…maybe you’re not running into beds made and clear counters and clean floors & THAT’s why you’ve never heard the choir of angels that I hear on a daily basis…Don’t worry.
That’s okay! That’s actually good news!
Chances are you have a complaint about one or more of those things that’s just now coming to your awareness, and now would be a great time to write that down. Remember…complaints are keys.

They give you access to a need that you have that you haven’t asked for yet.

Once you know your need, you can ask for it, and tell the people in your life what it would provide for you to have that floor picked up or that bed made or those crumbs wiped off.

Once they know how much that would provide for you to have peace of mind as you enter your day, they’ll do those acts of service for you, and you can have the same deep breath sigh of relief or choir of angels singing in YOUR head too.

Okay back to acts of service:
So far I’ve mentioned a lot of cleaning, but it doesn’t have to be just that. Acts of service can be anything that you do for your partner or the people in your life that makes them feel loved.
Mowing the lawn, paying the bills, finding an amazing vacation spot and booking it, planning a date, building shelves in the garage so they can organize their space, taking the kids to Costco, so they can get a podcast recorded without interruption…. You get the picture.

As I share these things, feel free to be thinking about and writing down examples from your own life.
If you feel particularly loved by any of these areas, put a star by it. This will be good to share with your partner later.

Okay the next love language is
physical touch.
Many guys think that this is their primary love language, but it’s just because their body is designed to need a sexual release, so anything leading up to that, that could move things in the right direction toward sex, is good.
But if their sexual needs are met, and they’re not likely to touch their partner or feel like it fills any emotional tank to receive their partner’s touch, chances are physical touch is not their primary love language.
If physical touch is your primary love language, it fills your love tank when your partner holds your hand, rubs your shoulders, touches the small of your back or puts an arm around you.
Long kisses, slow kisses, soft gentle kisses, hard steamy kisses. Those are all welcome. Of course sex is high on the list of favorite past times for people with physical touch as a primary love language.

Touch that fills your partners love tank will be specific person to person, though, so ask your partner what works best or what doesn’t work…also very valuable information, right?

The last love language is receiving gifts.

If receiving gifts fills your love tank, this may be your primary love language.

Last week we heard from our Creating Forever Love listener, Mandy, who felt really loved by receiving cards from her girlfriends that had remembered her first anniversary. And she told us how first thing in the morning she had a gift and a card ready to give to her hubby before they even got out of bed. Sounds like she’s a gifts girl.

Often people GIVE love in their primary love language, so if you have a friend that brings a little something by your home each time you have them over for dinner, gifts is probably their primary love language.

Okay. That’s all of them.
By now…just by hearing what the 5 love languages are, some of you are having major Aha’s and light bulbs going off.

You’re like, “oh my goodness…his love language is words of affirmation! No wonder he never looks grateful after I clean the floors and do all the laundry. I’m an acts of service girl and I think I just spent the whole day filling his love tank, but it didn’t land for him at all! I was speaking the wrong language!” Doh!

Or maybe you thinking, “THAT’s why he took me to a skate park on our first anniversary. He’s a quality time guy and wanted to share an experience with me and have me say afterwards what an amazing skater he is, but I’m a gifts girl, so I was miserable and my love tank was totally empty when I didn’t get a gift!” Doh!

Or maybe you’re thinking….”That’s why I thought my mother in law hated me. I’m a physical touch person and the only way she expresses love is through acts of service. I felt hurt when she came to my house and started cleaning, but she wasn’t trying to imply I was a slob, she was trying to love me.” Doh!

Or maybe you’re thinking, “Quality time is what fills my love tank and when he’s at work 60 hours a week, I feel depleted. He says he’s doing it all for me and I should be grateful, but I’m running on empty.”

Or maybe you’re thinking, “I do so many things for those kids but we keep fighting, why?…Maybe I have an acts of service love language and the kids have quality time or gifts as their love language. So I’m giving, giving, giving, but their tanks aren’t filling up. Mmmm…I never thought of THAT before.”

Or maybe you’re thinking, “This is awesome! Now I can love my partner or my kids in a way that totally fills their love tank….what will that be like?!”

Whatever aha you’re having, or wherever you’re at in this conversation so far is fine.

Next I wanna share with you some of the mistakes that Chris and I made when we first read this book in college,so I can help you avoid that frustration we felt.

16 years ago when we were at the beginning of our relationship, the laying the foundation of friendship part was easy, but I think the whole love thing was terrifying…for me anyway, because i wanted some guarantee that love would last and not be something that would bring pain and suffering into my life and end in divorce.
But neither Chris nor I knew any couples that were happily married that could be a great example of what we were interested in creating. So, first we turned to books.

The problem with neither he nor I having much life experience with happily married couples was that we sorta treated this book as the end all be all on love and how to love your partner.

Silly really, but we were young.
Anyway, we talked about what we thought were our love languages at the time and as soon as I found out his was words of affirmation, and mine was acts of service, I immediately felt threatened by that information, instead of empowered.

I felt like I didn’t know how to fill his love tank, and I worried, “what if other women he works with did a better job of giving him compliments than I do, and they fill his love tank, and I felt pissed that when I’d speak my love language and do acts of service for him, they wouldn’t count.

So let me save you from the headache and heartache of going down THAT dark tunnel, by saying this.

The Five Love Languages are not meant to be a definitive guide to loving your partner. They’re really just a starting point for a lifelong journey of learning about yourself and your partner.
They’re not meant to put you in a box, they’re meant to point you in a positive direction.

All that to say, it’s important to have conversations with you partner and ask what are their favorite ways to receive love from you. That may point you in the direction of their primary love language, which is good information to have, but they might describe receiving love in ways that could land in all the categories. That’s okay too! The important thing is to learn HOW THEY receive love and what really works for them SPECIFICALLY, not what category it falls into.

Go on a date with your partner and instead of asking them what IS your love language, go through each category and ask them:
How have you felt loved through my words of affirmation? Then listen with an imaginary piece of duct tape over your mouth while they “go the well” and give me some examples. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, go back and listen to podcast 3 & 4 about how to listen to your partner.
Take notes. Write these things down, they’re important. Ask your partner to put a star or two by their favorites. Then do the same with the next love language.

How have you felt  loved through acts of service? Then listen intently as they give examples.

How have you felt loved through quality conversations?

How have you felt loved through quality time?

How do you feel loved through gifts?

This is an amazing process!
Can you see how powerful the question “how” is? You could ask about a different love language on a date once a week for five weeks! That’d be hot!

It’ll make your study of the love languages with your partner 100x more effective because now instead of thinking “okay” I know what their love language is, I’ll just do THIS.”
And doing something that could still miss the mark, you can make it SO much easier on yourself and them, by hearing, from the source, what works! Your partner will learn things about themselves while you ask these questions that they didn’t even know!

—Once you’ve asked how questions for each love language,  letting your partner give feedback on what those experiences provide and which work best is key.
So it really is up to them to be self aware and pay attention to the different reactions that they have, and then to give you that feedback as clearly as possible.

For example, for a long time I thought I was an acts of service girl and I would tell Chris that was my primary love language, but I had left him to his own devices to figure out WHICH acts of service rocked my world.
So he’d clean the coffee pot or the vita mix so they were spotless with sort of a “Ta Daaah!”
And I’d thank him, but inside I was thinking, “so”. Because those didn’t register as ways I’d receive love. That helped me to realize that, not all acts of service were created equal to me.

I distinguished that for me, “acts of service in times of need”, make me feel really, super loved and give him a ton of points.

I’ve got a couple more secrets that I’ll share with you about the love languages and how to get the most out of them next week, but for now I’ll leave you with the brilliant “how question” for the final love language.

I saved that one for last on purpose, and you might want to save that one for the end of one of your dates or for when you get home, because it’s probably gonna get your motor running, if you know what I mean.

So the question is,
How do you receive love through physical touch?

Be specific and tell them about at least ten ways.

Ready go.

You’re welcome.


Gary Chapman’s book “The Five Love Languages” is available on amazon.

An interactive version of the personal profile is also available at

Download the MP3


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Responses to “CFL 19 | What is Your Love Language?”

  1. Jolene Barrington September 4, 2013 at 7:16 am #

    GREAT podcast Jenny!

    • Jenny Angell September 4, 2013 at 11:03 pm #

      Thanks, Jolene!

Leave a Reply