The concept of a ‘love language’ first appeared some three decades ago and became a way to categorise people by the different ways they feel and show love.
The theory was first introduced by Baptist pastor Gary Chapman in the early 1990s through his book, The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts.Chapman based the love languages on the trends that he saw in couples counselling in his church.
Yet, 30 years on the concept has taken on a life of its own - a simple TikTok search for videos about the love languages returns a cool 4.2 billion views.
And, while love languages can tell us a lot about how we act in relationships, did you also know it can affect how you spend your money and your overall financial wellbeing?
“Each love language can affect your attitude toward money in different ways, from gifting your future self with savings, to spending quality time having open conversations about money worries with loved ones,” Georgia Galloway, finance expert at Finbri, says.
What are the five love languages?
First thing’s first: what are the five love languages? Chapman determined that there are five ways that people prefer to express and receive love, they include:
Acts of service: Doing something to help your partner, such as taking out the bin.
Physical touch: Hugs, kisses and other forms of physical affection.
Quality time: Spending time giving each other your undivided attention.
Receiving gifts: Giving and receiving presents.
Words of affirmation: Reassurance and compliments from your partner.
The most simple way to figure out your own love language is to consider which of the above is more meaningful to you. If you love being hugged or holding hands with your partner your love language may be physical touch, or if you think there is nothing better than being complimented, then your love language could be words of affirmation .
The link between your love language and financial wellbeing
Now that you know your love language, you might recognise some ways in which it relates to how you spend and save your money.
Acts of service
Those with acts of service as their love language prefer to do their own financial admin as an act of service to themselves.
“Do a daily bank account check to keep an eye on outgoings, and set aside some time, perhaps once a week or once a month, to review your budget,” Galloway advises.
“Not all budgeting methods work for everyone, so it’s important to keep an eye on it and make changes as necessary.”
Galloways says that those with physical touch as a love language prefer to see their money as a physical manifestation, or something they can touch or hold.
“Rather than just looking at your balance on an app or keeping track in a spreadsheet, writing a money journal, or using a budgeting method like cash stuffing might work for you as being able to see and touch actual money makes it seem more ‘real’ than only ever paying with your phone or contactless card,” she adds.
“Investing in physical things like property might be how you’d like to spend your money, rather than investing in less tangible things like stocks – or even just treating yourself to a massage every now and then.”
Long, deep conversations are favoured by those whose love language is quality time, so why not translate this to your financial discussions to?
Galloway suggests dedicating time to having open conversations with your loved ones about finances, especially if you have concerns about money or if you are struggling with debt.
“Discussing it with your friends, family, or partner, can help relieve some of the stress and anxiety you may be feeling,” Galloway adds.
“A support system is important for your financial wellbeing, and having these talks can be very beneficial for those whose love language is quality time.”
While spending money on gifts for yourself or someone you love may be the obvious option, Galloway says that instead you should gift yourself investment towards the future.
“Set up automatic savings transfers or use a round up account so you can put away some money without even noticing,” she adds.
“Take some time to look at your pension as it’s important to review it regularly to make sure you’re on track, and you might need to adjust your contributions if your circumstances have changed. Even if you can only afford to contribute a small amount each month, future you will be very grateful.”
Watch: Do you know your pet's love language?
Words of affirmation
When it comes to money, for those with words of affirmation as their love language, Galloway advises focusing on positive self talk and self encouragement.
“Celebrate your financial achievements, like hitting a savings goal or paying off debt, and be kind to yourself at times when your finances aren't so good,” she adds.
“Don’t beat yourself up for occasionally overspending or not sticking to your budget last week - focus on the positive things you did instead, no matter how small, like taking lunch to work every day this week instead of buying it out or resisting an impulse purchase.”
Love languages: Read more
What's your love language? (Cover Media, 3-min read)
‘Love Languages’ Also Exist At Work. Here’s How To Figure Out Yours (HuffPost, 8-min read)
Research reveals why people say food is their love language (SWNS, 2-min read)