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Learn About The 5 Love Languages So You Can Improve Midlife Relationships And Make Deeper Connections

Since I'm recording this in July, I figured a lot of you are going on vacations and visiting your families. I thought the five love languages would be the perfect topic for the summer.

So today I'm going to explain what these languages are and how they can improve your relationships. Then you and your loved ones can take a quiz to discover what your top love languages are.

What are the 5 love languages?

The love languages stemmed from a book that Gary Chapman wrote in 1992 titled "The Five Love Languages."

It was originally written for couples, but then he expanded it. Now, it feels like you can use it for just about any type of relationship in your life, whether you're single or widowed or a single parent. It can even help you better understand roommates and your colleagues at work.

The love languages are five different ways to express and receive love. They'll improve your relationships simply through understanding.

Understanding what makes people feel loved, valued and appreciated is going to improve communication, so you'll start communicating at a higher level. And we all know communication is key to good relationships. Let's take a look at each of these love languages:

1. Words of affirmation

That's pretty self-explanatory. It's hearing all the good, yummy, delicious things that people feel about you or think about you. Hearing words like "I love you" or getting unsolicited compliments truly make you feel loved.

These types of words refresh you and lift your spirits like nothing else can. You thrive on hearing encouraging, kind words from the people you love.

2. Gifts

This doesn't necessarily mean lavish, expensive gifts. If this is your love language, you thrive on the thoughtfulness, effort and love behind the gift.

Receiving a gift means the world to you, whether it's for a specific occasion or it's a surprise. It shows you you're cared for, known and loved by the giver.

3. Physical touch

This used to be one of my top two love languages, but it's changed over the years. So apparently, love languages can change depending on where you are at a particular point in your life.

If this is your love language, it means you are obviously a touchy person. You love hugs. Well, most of us love hugs, but you really love hugs. You feel valued through gestures like thoughtful touches on the shoulder and the sweet little pats on the back.

More than likely, you enjoy holding hands or walking arm-in-arm with your partner. For you, touch is packed full of meaning. Physical touch communicates safety, warmth and love to you.

4. Acts of service

If you get a thrill when someone makes your life easier, this is probably one of your top love languages. This can be anything from taking a task off your plate when you're busy to bringing you hot tea when you're sick.

For me, it's driving me to my colonoscopy or helping me take down curtain rods before you move. This is a public shout out to my friend, Dawn. Thank you, Dawn. These acts of service made me feel so valued and so loved because this is one of my top two love languages.

Here's another great example from this past weekend. My brother and sister-in-law came in for a visit. They immediately jumped in and helped me do a few things around the house.

My sister-in-law helped me hang a picture with those Velcro command strips. She had used them before and she knew exactly what she was doing. This was perfect because I was clueless. So she jumped in and took charge of that situation.

My brother made sure I had plenty of security by putting additional locks on the house and checking the outside lights at night to make sure the perimeter was well-lit.

When they left, I was nearly in tears because my heart felt so full. I felt so loved. These are little things, yet these real life things can mean so much if this is one of your top love languages.

5. Quality time

The activities for quality time can range greatly, but here's the foundational piece of it:

Quality time is when you have someone's full, undivided attention. Let me repeat that because you may have a loved one who thrives on quality time but they're not feeling fully loved by you and you don't even know it.

They may not even know why they feel that way. That's why taking the quiz could add some extraordinary value to your relationships.

One more time:

Quality time is having someone's full, undivided attention. This is what makes that person feel fully loved, respected and cared for.

It's when someone looks you in the eye as you're talking. They're not interrupting you, they're just taking in what you're saying. It could also mean being thoughtful enough to put away the phone when you're eating a meal together.

Quality time is any time a loved one is actively listening and is fully present when they're with you. But enjoying quality time doesn't have to be this big, grandiose thing.

This is my top love language and for me, I keep it simple. I love just hanging out with the people who mean the most to me.

For example, I get such a thrill when my friend Hilary (who is one of my favorite people in the entire world) texts me saying, "Hey, I need to return a dress at Dillard's. Want to come along?"

I will literally drop whatever I'm doing just so I get to hang out with her. Our time together can be anything from going to Dillard's to looking for socks at Target to wandering around Half-Price Books.

The activity is irrelevant, but spending time together refreshes me and makes me feel loved and valued. That's because when I'm with her, she's fully present and gives me her full attention. And that's what quality time is all about.

If she wasn't doing that, I wouldn't get nearly as excited about being with her, right?

I want to give you a couple of more examples to explain quality time because this is more nebulous than the other love languages.

People who have quality time as a top love language feel hurt if they're with you and you're constantly glancing at your phone or smartwatch. They also don't feel valued if you keep looking around the restaurant during a meal, or you're distracted by the television.

When you do these types of things, you're sending a clear message that you're not listening and you're not fully present.

You may be thinking, "What are you complaining about? I was there."

Being physically there and being fully present are two completely different things.

So just showing up doesn't get you the gold star if you're dealing with someone who has quality time is a top love language.

Knowing your love language and the love languages of others means you can improve your relationships. They'll just get better and better because you'll know how to make the other person feel loved, valued and cherished, and they'll know how to do the same for you.

I hope you and your favorite people take the love languages quiz so you can love and care for each other in the most meaningful ways. 

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