The 5 Love Languages & Their Dialects

The 5 Love Languages book by Gary Chapman became quite popular as it displayed the way people express and receive love in rather concrete conceptual behaviors. This is something I’ve broadcasted about, blogged about, posted about — and generally feel confident in some rather involved discourse.

However, through this lock-in-corona-pocalyptic-lifestyle….. I made a rather striking realization.

And, noted: This is likely not ground breaking… but, it was in those precious moments… for me any way. So, I thought to share 🙂

THE STORY BEGINS: Some mornings ago, my son discovered this love note written by my wife (words of affirmation written, love expressed) to my son (words of affirmation read, love received).

To me, this was a generally standard expression and reception of love within the framework of the 5 love languages.

I had long appreciated that how you give love isn’t the same as how you speak it. For myself, I tend to express through acts of service. However, I receive through quality time and physical touch.

THEN, it dawned on me — while “how you speak” isn’t how you necessarily “receive love;” there are additional complexities to dialects within each major love language. It dawned on me because my son didn’t initially have much interest in that love note.

Then, I told him that the way he feels when receiving gifts (one of his primary love languages) is the way your mom feels when she gets your snuggles. This is another way she wants to show how much she loves you. He immediately ran back to the love note to read it. Then, ran to his mom to give her the snugs.

I thought… this is different. There are nuances in translating each language to each other; YET, even within these love languages… there exist dialects!

So, without further ado… here are my April 2020 interpretations of The 5 Love Language & Their Dialects.


1. Words of Affirmation

Again… nothing earth shattering, just a moment of clarity. It came to me that affirmation comes in many nuanced shades — and, that even within this language there are dialects that are both receptive and expressive in nature. So, without making a thing of it… here are some ideas of how your loved ones might appreciate in precision “Affirmation” as a love language.

  • Words of encouragement.

  • Words of love.

  • Word of affection.

  • Words of recognition.

  • Words of compassion.

  • Words of empathy.

  • Words of understanding.

  • Words of assurance.

2. Quality Time

Quality Time is another interesting, but perhaps more salient language with more distinct dialects than words. Words, of course, mean more than what is said and many times it is what isn’t said which means most. However, with Quality Time, you have to be spending time together. So, much of the dialects within this language is related to what is being or not being done with that time.

  • Time doing nothing — just being.

  • Time doing an activity.

  • Time spent in a hobby.

  • Time completing a task or errand.

  • Time shared in entertainment.

  • Time shared in fandom.

  • Time playing board games

  • Time playing video games.

  • Time relaxing.

  • Time spent in physical touch.

3. Physical Touch

Similar to the concept of the three dimension’s of love: Intimacy, Passion, and Commitment — a la Sternberg’s Triangular Theory… I feel that Physical Touch exists in similar planes.

  • There is obviously physical touch that is sensual (or, passionate) in nature.

  • There is also physical touch that communicates commitment.

  • There is physical touch that conveys intimacy (or, trust).

  • Physical Touch can also exist in combination sets such as romance or companionship.

And, I do also believe that physical touch can be expressive and receptive in nature — that one may “speak” more fluently in say sensual love but requires receiving commitment love in physical touch in order to fill that meter of love going out and coming inbound.

4. Acts of Service

Acts of Service was really what struck me as intriguing regarding dialects of love. Nuanced much as in Words of Affirmation, there are parallel similarities with Quality Time in what is done or not done through actions.

  • Things done for the beloved.

  • Things done so that the beloved doesn’t need to perform those tasks.

  • Things done in addition or in conjunction to customary acts of service.

  • Things done as a surprise or bonus on top of acts showing love through service.

  • Things done with specifically loving intents.

I’ve learned much of these from my wife. Christina has routinely pointed out that I express much love through my actions. There are things she feels loved by which I do all the time; other actions I do only during special occasions; others matter because of the intent; and yet others, to alleviate the pressures to Christina, my beloved.

5. Gifts

Here’s another gem wisdom as pointed out by my wife. Gifts are big for kiddos because they don’t have the capacity or capability to afford their own. They don’t get to just spend money on toys or swag because they want to — they rely upon parents to buy it for them, which can both make it a battle and a joy, depending on how the family units responds.

That said, if done right: gifts, presents, treats, bonuses… these can become a huge deal and a great source of receptive and expressive love.

As mentioned above, I realized the depth of this when I told my son something to the effect, “You know how much you feel loved when you get presents and toys? That’s how much mom feels love when you give her the snuggles.”

This, on a separate day — he immediately RAN OFF… and, snuggled my wife for the longest and sweetest time.

While this is perhaps my weakest area in terms of love language fluency, I’ve began to appreciate it more because my son LOVES GIFTS. And, he legitimately feels loved through gifts. We crossed this stumbling block early one when we put his toys in time out… it CRUSHED him.

It took us quite some time to realize… putting toys in time out wasn’t crushing because he was losing privileges. It crushed him because to him… those toys EMBODIED our love for him.

To our son: Putting toys in time out meant that we were putting our love for him in time out.

Yikes.

So… (and, on such a positive note, LOL!) to close out today’s blog: Here are some examples of dialects within Gifts as a love language:

  • Gifts given because the gift reminded the giver of the beloved.

  • Gifts given because of a special occasion.

  • Gifts given for whimsical reasons — “just because I love you.”

  • Gifts given because it fills a long awaited need or desire.

  • Gifts given to match or add upon other gifting themes — such as collections or fandoms.

  • Gifts given to celebrate achievement or landmark/life-tile moments.

  • Gifts given because it was merely asked — like when a child sees an amazing toy and wants to have it. You surprise them by saying, “Yes. Yes, you may.”


The conveying of love and the receiving of love is highly interpretive. Context matters. Timing matters. The language used and the dialects chosen, matter.

So… what languages and dialects to you speak, and… hear???

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