My boyfriend and I have been in a relationship for a little over a year. Prior to this, we had been "friends" for years. I put the word friends in quotations because our friendship always held more, but we never knew how to communicate that with one another. Little did we know, it was because of our love languages.

Gary Chapman is known for his books concerning the love languages. You may have heard about love languages, but might not really know what they are or where to start.

Love languages are essential to your everyday life. Love languages are your individual ways of connecting with others around you. There are five love languages: quality time, physical touch, gift giving, words of affirmation, and acts of service.

Quality time refers to taking the time to do something together or enjoy each other's company. This is like having a hobby together, rather than Netflix and chill in some guy's apartment.

Physical touch is seen every day, but it is more than just sex. Physical touch can be as simple as holding hands, hugging, or sitting close to each other.

Gift giving means you enjoy receiving gifts from others that are meaningful, rather than expensive. It is that thought behind the present that matters to gift givers, not the price tag.

Words of affirmation refers to communication. You enjoy compliments and meaningful conversation, rather than silence.

Finally, acts of service means you appreciate when others offer a helping hand to get something done. It means a lot to you when someone will help you clean the dishes after a bad day, etc.

On the love languages website, you are able to take a quiz that ranks your love languages from most important to least. Each person has a mix of these five love languages, and the order that they rank reveals a lot about the person that you are. Why is it important to understand your love languages? It is because they are essential in everyday life.

Your love languages determine how you interact with people, and how you perceive the actions of others.

How you normally prefer to receive love, is how you tend to give it. Love languages are fluid, and change based on what seems to be more relevant to your life at the moment. They aren't just used in romantic relationships, they can be seen in your friendships, between coworkers, etc.

If you prefer acts of service, then it will mean a lot to you when Jenny in the next cubicle grabbed your papers from the printer and brought them to you, rather than someone complimenting your presentation the day before. However, if Jenny appreciates words of affirmation, you should verbally express how much her acts of service meant to you. This exchange shows that you can understand how you prefer love, while also expressing love in a way that is meaningful to the other person.

This is why most relationships fail.

To develop a strong connection, you should know how you like to receive love, and understand how your partner enjoys receiving love.

This leads to a deeper relationship and a mutual appreciation between the two of you. This helps establish boundaries and helps to see where miscommunications in a relationship can occur.

To refer back to my little story above, prior to dating my boyfriend, my top love language was words of affirmation, and his was quality time. For years, I waited for the words "I like you," while he was spending all of his time with me, expressing in his own way that he cared for me. This simple miscommunication, combined with our lack of readiness for a serious relationship, led us to wait for three years before getting together.

Now, because we've taken the time to understand the other person, and how they prefer to connect, we are a much stronger couple. As we've grown, our love languages have changed to become a compromise of our prior results. I know appreciate quality time more, while words of affirmation have been more important to my partner. It's nice to see the change in yourself as you learn who you are and develop a clear idea of how you prefer to be loved.

It is also important to learn more about yourself. Love languages are present in every relationship, and they are key to understanding yourself. If you take the quiz, you never know what you might learn about who you are.