Romantic relationships are, at times, complicated jigsaw puzzles. Two people come together, each with their unique perspectives, preferences, and ways of communicating.
To throw another wrench into this complexity, add in the two influential frameworks when it comes to love and relationships: the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and Dr. Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages.
The MBTI makes clear psychological preferences in how people perceive and make decisions, while the latter focuses on the ways they express and receive love. Understanding how these two intersect can offer super insightful ways on how couples plot the course and stay on the path in a romantic relationship.
The Five Love Languages
Before getting into the more complex MBTI framework, let’s get acquainted with the Five Love Languages:
- Words of Affirmation: Verbal expressions of love and appreciation.
- Acts of Service: Demonstrations of love through helpful actions.
- Quality Time: Focusing full and undivided attention on a loved one.
- Physical Touch: Expressing love through physical closeness and touch.
- Gift Giving: Offering presents as an expression of love.
The MBTI Framework
The MBTI divides people into 16 distinct personality types based on four dichotomies:
Love Languages and MBTI Types
The love language and MBTI type collide in interesting and wholly unique ways depending on whether you’re an extrovert, introvert, sensor, feeler, intuitive, perceiver, or thinker!
Read on for a look at how they come into play when it comes to romantic relationships and the reasons behind it!
Extroverts: The Social Butterflies (e.g., ENFP, ESTJ)
Words of Affirmation: For extroverts like ENFPs and ESTJs, words carry a lot of weight. It’s not just the “I love you” that matters, but also compliments or words of encouragement. The more public the affirmation, the better—think a heartfelt social media post or a shoutout and song dedication to them at karaoke night.
Quality Time: While introverts prefer profound, one-on-one connections, extroverts thrive and shine socially. A date night for them could be a large group outing or a big party where they’re the center stage in the attention department. Quality time, in this case, is about being social together.
Introverts: The Introspective Souls (e.g., INFJ, ISTP)
Quality Time: For introverts like INFJs and ISTPs, quality time is nothing short of sacred but looks way different than it does for extroverts. Think nights in instead of out on the town with intense conversations or a long walk on a nice evening. The setting is intimate, and the focus is on the connection between two people.
Acts of Service: Because introverts value their personal time, acts of service that make their lives easier are really appreciated. Whether it’s finishing a task they’ve been dreading or giving them the space to recharge, these acts convey a kind, considerate type of love.
Sensors: The Here-and-Now Bunch (e.g., ISFJ, ESTP)
Acts of Service: Sensors, such as ISFJs and ESTPs, appreciate the material and practical things in life. If you can express love by doing something that has immediate and noticeable results—like cooking their favorite meal or helping run errands—they’ll likely feel very loved.
Gift Giving: Small, meaningful gifts are appreciated by Sensors. They don’t have to be sweeping grand gestures; even everyday items can make them feel loved, especially if it’s something that they can use or a little present with the aesthetic that fits their personality.
Intuitives: The Dreamers and Planners (e.g., INTJ, ENFP)
Words of Affirmation: Intuitives like INTJs and ENFPs often live in a world of ideas. Verbal affirmations that recognize and back up their thoughts and plans are super satisfying. Think conversations about future plans or late-night philosophical talks about the meaning of life.
Quality Time: For Intuitives, quality time can often mean sharing in an intellectual or creative activity–they appreciate romantic partners who can seamlessly shift into abstract conversations or get into planning fun, new adventures together.
Thinkers: The Logical Ones (e.g., ENTJ, ISTJ)
Words of Affirmation: Compliments or affirmations for Thinkers should center around their abilities or accomplishments. Praising their efficiency or how well they’ve strategized a situation can go a long way.
Feelers: The Emotional Core (e.g., INFP, ESFJ)
Words of Affirmation: For Feelers such as INFPs and ESFJs, emotional validation is absolutely necessary. They love hearing about their positive impact on others and being told they are adored in sincere ways.
Physical Touch: A simple hug, a smooch, or even a reassuring rub on the back can speak volumes to a Feeler. Physical gestures of comfort and affection resonate deeply with them.
Judgers: The Organized and Orderly (e.g., ESTJ, INFJ)
Acts of Service: For Judgers, their external world needs to be as orderly as their internal one. Helping them maintain this order, like lending a helping hand to a home project or planning and organizing an outing, can be a profound expression of love.
Gift Giving: A thoughtful gift that fits their lifestyle will seriously impress a Judger. For example, a fun tech gadget that they wouldn’t have bought for themselves and simplifies their routine could be a big hit.
Perceivers: The Free Spirits (e.g., ISTP, ENFP)
Quality Time: For Perceivers, quality time is flexible and spontaneous. A last-minute road trip or a surprise evening out can be a perfect date.
Physical Touch: Perceivers like to feel free, so physical touch that’s casual yet affectionate, like a surprise hug or a playful elbow into their side, makes them feel loved without making them feel smothered.
Intersecting Love Languages and MBTI Relationships
Understanding your partner’s MBTI type and Love Language can give you valuable insights into how they perceive and receive love.
- Communication is Key: Discuss your MBTI types and Love Languages openly.
- Observe and Adapt: Look for cues in your partner’s behavior that align with their MBTI and Love Language.
- Practice Empathy: Put yourself in your partner’s shoes and think about how they would like to be loved, not just how you want to express it.
- Flexibility: Being rigid about these frameworks can be counterproductive. They are simply tools, not rules.
Understanding your partner’s MBTI type right alongside their Love Language can help you “speak” their love language like it’s your mother tongue. You can adapt how you show affection to suit your partner’s psychological and emotional preferences—it’s like knowing a secret dialect of love that your partner intuitively gets.
And while these frameworks offer really helpful insights, the foundation of a loving relationship remains in continuous communication, empathy, and willingness to adapt and grow together—you know and recognize other’s needs and ways of showing love.
By comprehending these differences and being willing to adapt, you’ll be closer to being proficient in the language of love in the context of your one-of-a-kind personality!