University of Tennessee teaches the languages of love

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – It’s the time of year many people are focused on love. Valentine’s Day is coming up and people are looking for ways to show what their loved one means to them.

One program designed by UT Extension is in the business of helping people do that every day.

“Marriage is a marathon, not a sprint,” said Dr. Heather Wallace, Assistant Professor of Family and Consumer Sciences.

Wallace works with UT to help people navigate many of life’s issues. They have started a new program based off Gary Chapman’s book ‘The 5 Love Languages’ to help facilitate communication between partners.

“We want to make sure that everybody understands that love is not expressed or received in just one way,” Wallace said.

It starts with a survey of about two dozen questions. Each of which gives you a choice of actions, asking you which is more meaningful to you.

When it is done it rates you on which love languages are most important to you, or how you prefer to be shown love.

“His five love languages are gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, physical touch and acts of service,” Wallace said.

Your partner’s results might be pretty in line with your own, but Wallace said even if you and your partner are complete opposites, their program is designed to help you navigate how to make it work for your relationship.

“Maybe finding ways where you can give a little bit more or finding ways that you can speak to your partner’s love language in ways that’s comfortable for you,” she said.

Wallace’s colleague Mark Devereaux took the survey as they were developing their program. His answers were somewhat surprising to his wife of 20 years.

“There’s two of them that sort of stood out for me,” he said. “I guess the one that was probably the strongest is Words of Affirmation, or another way I like to put it is I like to talk things through which is actually probably surprising to my wife being an introvert.”

Wallace said their goal with the Love Languages program is to help people sustain healthy, lasting relationships by understanding exactly how you and your partner show and receive love.

“So that from day one to day two they can say ‘we had this conversation about our love languages and now I’m starting to see some difference in our relationship,'” she said.

UT extension is implementing the program in every county across the state.

If you would like to find out what your love languages are, you can take the survey at

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