< Back to article list

Self-regulation and the 5 Love Languages

written by Keely Johnson, M.A.

The 5 Love Languages have become popular topics of discussion in the dating world and within partnerships. Dr. Gary Chapman created the popular book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, which describes five things that people do to express and feel loved by others.  He discusses how the love languages can aid in creating a long lasting partnership, strengthen commitment and attunement while establish understanding and trust. It is important to note that empirically supported research regarding the 5 Love Languages is limited. However, one study tested the importance of love languages aligning between partners. The results suggest that having differing love languages did not impact satisfaction between partners. Instead, the ability to self-regulate contributed to feeling satisfied in the partnership.


Self-regulation is the ability to monitor and manage stress, emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in a way that fosters well-being. Some helpful ways of practicing self-regulation include but are not limited to mindfulness breathing, eating a balance diet and drinking water, challenging negative thoughts, exercising regularly, getting restful sleep, having fun outside of work and school, and laughing often.


Though there is little empirical supported research for the Love Languages, they can be useful to discuss with your partner(s). The Love Languages can be used as a conversation starter to discuss what love language you and your partner(s) find meaningful and why. Partners may use all five long languages to express their love and affection for each other. However, individuals tend to have a primary love language that holds the more meaning than the others. Looking at the list below, which Language of Love is your primary? Here are some examples of each.


  1. Words of affirmation: Spoken or written words of why you are loved or appreciated.
  2. Acts of service: Receiving assistance with day to day tasks such as house hold chores, grocery shopping, or cooking dinner.
  3. Receiving gifts: Receiving small tokens like flowers, or your partner picks up your favorite food from your favorite restaurant.
  4. Quality time: Spending time together in the present moment by taking trips, playing games, talking, or going on walks with your partner(s).
  5. Physical touch: Physical expressions of love that can be both intimate and non-intimate touches such as hugs, sitting close, or being touched on the shoulder.


Here is a fun way of thinking about the 5 Love Languages in the form of tacos.



Next step is to talk to your partner(s) about each other’s love languages, practice self-regulation, and possibly get some tacos.