The 5 Love Languages, by Dr. Gary Chapman outlines the multiple ways that people express affection by referring to their partner’s love language.
A love language is how a person prefers to be shown love. Two people in a relationship may not have the same love language, so it can lead to misunderstanding and frustration.
By understanding what your and your partner’s love languages are, you can learn the best way to communicate and love each other best.
1. Words of Affirmation
This love language is based on verbal expression. If this is your partner’s love language, it means that they feel most loved when they’re told how much you care about them.
They want to hear the words “I love you” or “I’m proud of you” because that gives them the confirmation they need on a daily basis. These words can be expressed in person, through a voicemail, or even a text message, as long as they are sincere. It’s important to be authentic, so make sure that you are genuine when you express your love through words.
A caveat to this love language is that words can help just as much as they hurt, so be careful of speaking criticism or using aggressive words around your partner.
2. Acts of Service
This love language goes beyond words and requires action. If this is someone’s primary love language, then they want to be shown how much you care through helpful actions which includes something simple as putting away the dishes after your partner has cooked.
Acts of service are not always big, grand gestures, but can be something small that informs your partner that you are listening and recognizing their needs. Other examples of this love language include grocery shopping without being asked, taking out the trash, or ordering take-out instead of having them cook when you know your partner is tired.
3. Receiving Gifts
Receiving gifts may sound self-explanatory, but this love language is not focused on materialism. What matters isn’t the actual gift itself, but the meaning behind it.
For example, if you went to the zoo on your first date and later you give your partner a stuffed animal from the same zoo, your partner is going to look at that stuffed animal and remember your first date, which is what they will ultimately love about it.
People whose love language is receiving gifts like to be reminded how much their partner cares either through tangible or intangible items. If this is your partner’s love language, then remember to practice small everyday gestures and be careful of missing a special occasion.
4. Quality Time
This love language is about spending time with your partner, but more than that, it is about being attentive and not being distracted by other things during that time.
For someone with this love language, their ideal quality time might be a simple coffee date where the focus is on each other. But if their partner is on the phone, they will feel like they don’t care or don’t love them. The crucial aspect of this love language is that people participate in sustained conversation and are focused on one another.
The important thing to remember if your partner’s love language is quality time is to ask them what they want to do and be present in whatever it is. Often, it could be something as simple as carving out some time every day doing something you both enjoy.
5. Physical Touch
This last love language may seem like a no-brainer, but there is more to it than what the name presents. Physical touch is about showing your affection in little ways every day. It can be a hug after a long day at work or holding your partner’s hand when you see they are anxious.
People with this love language do not necessarily need words to feel loved, but rather rely on regular intimacy to feel assured in their relationship.
By knowing how your partner feels most loved, you are able to love them the way they best receive love. Love languages are meant to strip the uncertainty out of figuring out what your partner wants, so once you discover your love language, make sure to share it with your significant other for an even stronger relationship.