The Five Love Languages

So there is this book that you may have heard of.  It’s called The 5 Love Languages and was written by Gary Chapman.  The idea of the book is to learn how you (and your partner) both give and receive love to one another.  Mr. Chapman has identified what he calls the five love languages.  And here they are in a nutshell:

1. Words of Affirmation, Verbal Compliments, Words of Appreciation

2. Quality Time, Giving/Receiving one’s undivided attention

3. Receiving Gifts, big gifts, small gifts or anything in between

4. Acts of Service, Doing things you know someone would like you to do

5. Physical Touch, Holding Hands, Kissing, Intercourse, PDA

   Now, we all have a primary love language and if you are interested in finding out yours, you can check out Mr. Chapman’s website (  The quizzes and material on his page are super user-friendly and quite insightful.

So while it’s important and helpful to know how we each best give and receive love, it is also extremely important to recognize that we have wants and needs in EACH of the five love languages.

Let’s say, for example, that your last love language is listed as gifts but as you go through determining your wants and needs in each language, you realize that you don’t care about presents EXCEPT on your birthday.  And on your birthday, there better be some presents (and maybe a cake) or there will be hell to pay.  That’s important information for everyone in your life.

Sometimes people struggle with the idea of putting their wants and needs down on paper.  People sometimes feel like they are being selfish or entitled or a billion other negative words.  But here’s the deal.  We all have wants and we all have needs.  It is way more effective to be aware of what these things are and be able to determine where the deal breakers lie.

Now ideally, each person would review these love languages and figure out what his/her preferences are in a perfect world.  This should be done alone and totally outside of any partner or partners.  This is just what YOU want and has nothing to do with what anyone else is willing/able to give.

For example,  do you want five text messages a day?  How often do you want to have sex?  Who does the dishes?  How often do you want flowers?  Do you need a certain amount of alone time?  Do you need a certain amount of face-to-face-technology-free time?  And so on and so on.

The better you know what you want, the easier it is to convey this to your partner.  And the better your partner knows what he or she wants, the easier it is for it to be conveyed back to you.

THEN, after everyone knows what they want, it’s time to sit down and discuss with your partner.  Odds are your wants and needs will not be in total alignment.  And that is totally ok and totally normal.  All it really means is that now you have the opportunity to start to shift through this stuff and see how each of you can help meet the other’s needs.

So what happens if your partner refuses to meet your needs in any way?  What if you simply cannot come to a common ground on something?  This may be a deal breaker and this may mean that the relationship may not be sustainable.  But if both partners are willing to make the effort to meet the other’s needs and both are willing to keep at it, I have the utmost faith and confidence that the relationship is salvageable.  And if both partners are willing to work at it, it is likely worth the work.

See, your partners wants and needs should be important to you and your wants and needs should be important to your partner.   Both partners are hopefully willing to put in the time and effort to sort through this stuff so that both people can feel connected, happy, and loved.  Because you, yes YOU deserve to feel loved.

A Testimonial From a Previous HTW Client

“Megan Gallagher is a gifted and experienced counselor. I began working with Megan several months ago and trusted her recommendation of utilizing ART to address some longstanding issues which were getting in the way of my living a fulfilling and healthy life.ART has been a game-changer in my life. I no longer live life feeling as though I am hanging on for dear life and pulling myself through difficult situations through sheer force of will. I, with Megan’s experience and guidance, have been able to correct dysfunctional thoughts and emotional patterns which were robbing me of my life. It was exhausting fighting with my ‘inner self’ constantly, knowing I could do/be better but not having the strength to get out of my own way. My first ART session with Megan cleared up a traumatic event which had me locked in an anger loop and was destructive to my health, relationships, and mental status. Subsequent sessions corrected the ‘follow up’ issues that were connected to the initial one. I felt immediate relief after our sessions and am confident that I am heading in the right direction. I am calm and focused. I have moved out of the ‘fight or flight’ response. I am sleeping better. I can enjoy my life and relationships more fully. I am no longer trying to control the rage that was a constant thread through my life. My trigger is gone and I am not experiencing the daily waves of guilt which was a constant shadow over my life. People enjoy being around me more. And, the nasty inner critic gremlin who dominated my life for so long is nowhere to be found. I am so confident in Megan and her use of ART that I send my 16 year-old daughter in for weekly sessions. Her diagnosed panic disorder, anxiety, and depression have lessened to the point that she is a ‘new’ young woman. She, like me, adores the difficult work she is doing because she can see the results immediately. I am not going to lie, some of the work is incredibly painful in the moment. Megan is caring, attentive, and intuitive. She never leaves you in a bad place (which is something that I had to deal with repeatedly in traditional therapy). I believe in Megan and ART wholeheartedly and always carry a stack of her business cards with me. I enthusiastically endorse Megan and her work to everyone (especially when they ask ‘why’ I have changed and how I accomplished it.”