Whether you’ve been in a relationship for years, are just starting to date someone new, or are confidently single, knowing your love language is one of the more overlooked forms of self-care.
What Are the Love Languages?
Most people are very familiar with their Myers-Briggs personality types, zodiac signs, and even Enneagram. But when it comes to how they want to give and receive love, or in other words, their love language, they can tend to be slightly clueless. And that’s what we’re here for!
Finding your love language is a journey of self-reflection that few people tend to go on naturally. If you’re curious about what your love language is, you can also take this online test to see which of the five love languages you most identify with.
While I’m sure that, by now, you’re tired of personality tests, knowing your love language can help improve intimacy, communication, and understanding in all of your relationships. Vice versa, learning your partner’s love language can help you love them and treat them the way they most want to be treated.
The five love languages have been around for centuries, as they’re a natural part of love and how we receive it. Still, Dr. Gary Chapman was the man who wrote them down, categorized them, and popularized the term. In his book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, he explores the concept thoroughly and teaches how to continue exploring your and your partner’s specific communication styles.
How Do I Use the Love Languages?
Now that you’ve learned about love languages or taken the online quiz, you will likely know which love language you and your partner are geared towards. But there’s a vast difference between knowing and acting upon that knowledge.
Once you know which love language your partner likes to receive, start to explore how you can share their love language with them. While many of the examples above might be a good start for the two of you, you can also further customize their love language to them. Sit down in a marriage meeting once a week and ask them how you can love them in the next week. Odds are, while the love language itself will stay the same, the actions and activities you do through that language will vary constantly.
One problem many couples encounter is knowing the other’s love language but not acknowledging it as much as they should.
We’re flawed human beings, and sometimes it’s harder to see things from others’ perspectives. I’ve run into this issue in my own relationship, where we’ll project our love languages onto each other, even though we have different ones. While loving your partner through and through — and with all five love languages — is amazing and encouraged, try to stay focused on your partner’s primary love language.
Also, once you take the quiz, it provides a ranking of all of the love languages. So you’ll know pretty clearly which ones your partner likes to receive and which ones you might want to steer clear from if you want to honor and love them properly.
That being said, beginning the journey of exploring each other’s love languages in a relationship is a huge step and should be applauded.
So what are the love languages? If you’ve never heard of them, let us break them down for you.
1- Words of Affirmation
If your partner’s love language is words of affirmation, it’s more than likely that they’ll often ask you to express how you feel about them through words, compliments, or praises. Please don’t assume that they’re ever beginning for attention or seeking a compliment. These people need to hear encouragement to know that they’re doing well and are valued in your relationship.
Because words hold so much power for people with this love language, they can also be turned into weapons. Be careful and loving with your comments, and don’t say things to stir the pot.
Some of the ways you can provide your partner with words of affirmation are:
- Leaving little notes of encouragement everywhere they go.
- Sending them a text about how much you appreciate them every day.
- Writing them a heartfelt message for special occasions (or just because).
- Always make sure to affirm them and celebrate them through your words.
2- Physical Touch
You’ll know if your partner’s love language is physical touch right away. These people constantly want to hold their partner’s hand, shower them with kisses, and adore a good cuddle. My partner’s love language is physical touch, and he’ll often hold me to ‘recharge.’
While sex and sexual intimacy are essential in this type of relationship, people who have physical touch as their dominant love language don’t necessarily need sex, just to be held and touched in a physically intimate way.
Here are some date ideas and intentional moments you can share with your physical-touch-oriented partner:
- Holding their hand whenever you go out.
- Snuggling up to watch TV together.
- Staying in bed all day.
- Practicing your massage skills on each other.
3- Quality Time
If your partner’s primary love language is quality time, be intentional about every moment you spend with them. Because this love language is the least tangible, it often gets overlooked.
One key thing to keep in mind when you’re spending quality time with your partner is to have uninterrupted time together. You should put your phone away, close the laptop, eliminate any other distractions that might come up, and focus entirely on your partner. Remember that eye contact and intentionality are integral to these relationships.
While most quality time-centered date nights should be catered to your partner, here are some ideas:
- Ask each other questions that you’ve never asked before.
- Go on an unplugged hike and spend some time talking to each other about everything.
- Have relationship meetings where both of you talk about what can be improved upon in the relationship.
- Have an intentional dinner together every night where you and your partner share the best and worst parts of your day.
4- Receiving Gifts
Gift giving and receiving gifts are the most tangible and visual symbols of love you and your partner can share. If your partner’s love language is receiving gifts, they want to know that you’re thinking about them when you’re out and about.
Don’t worry, gift giving doesn’t always have to break the bank. It’s more about the thought and intentionality behind the gift. Every gift you give your partner should be personalized to them and not feel like an afterthought.
Here are some ways you can show love to your partner through gifts:
- Pick up their favorite snack when you go to the grocery store.
- Take note of their coffee order and bring it to them when they’re having a tough day.
- Keep a running list of small things your partner says they want or need, then give them a basket of those items when they least expect it.
- Take your partner out for lunch or breakfast every now and then.
5- Acts of Service
While this love language has been confused with gift-giving, it’s not the same. People who have acts of service as their love language feel love when their partners do small tasks for them. These people usually get overwhelmed by tasks or workloads and want their partners to show them love by helping.
If your partner’s love language is acts of service, don’t worry, you will not be their servant. These people feel love through you doing little tasks, not the whole to-do list.
If you’re curious about how to show your partner love through acts of service, here are some ideas:
- Always check the trash and the dishes. See if anything needs to be taken out or tidied.
- Cook dinner for your partner as much as you’re comfortable with so they don’t have to.
- Ask your partner at the beginning of the week, month, or day if you can take anything off their plate.
- Make your partner coffee in the morning and spend time with them while they drink it.
How Can Love Languages Strengthen a Relationship?
I know that this article is more geared toward couples, but there is something to be said about the importance of understanding your own love language as well as your partner’s. Many people go through life without receiving proper love. There’s a reason why Stephen Chbosky’s quote in Perks of Being a Wallflower stood out so much. We do accept the love we think we deserve. But knowing your personal love language is the first step to getting the love you deserve: a love tailored and created for you.
Also, love languages don’t have to be shared solely in romantic relationships. You can express how you want to be loved by a parent, a friend, or a family member. The love languages, at their core, are just fancy ways of communicating how you best receive love and how others can best bless you.
If you are in a romantic relationship, knowing each other’s love languages is one of the best things you can do to get to know each other and serve each other. Here are the reasons why knowing and utilizing your partner’s love languages is so crucial to a healthy relationship.
It Creates an Emotional Connection
No matter what love language you or your partner share, at their core, love languages are emotional. When you know your partner’s love language and act on it, you establish a strong emotional bond with them. You’re also going out of your way to show them that you want to put effort into the relationship, even if it might be slightly uncomfortable or foreign.
Jemma Ahmed, Head of Insights for Bumble, tells The Knot, “It’s important to understand each other’s emotional needs, as well as how we express love to those closest to us… This makes your significant other feel loved and cared for, which is foundational to a healthy relationship.”
Chapman adds, “True love seeks the wellbeing of the other person.“
This is where knowing and speaking your partner’s love language helps you effectively communicate love in a way that is meaningful to them. When they feel loved by you, they are drawn to you emotionally.”
Showing effort is sexy, and we all want to put effort into the relationships we care about. We also want to see our partners putting in the work. By practicing each other’s love languages, you’re showing your partner that you care for them personally, and you’ll go out of your way to make them feel loved.
It Helps You Rekindle the Romance
If you’ve been in a relationship for a while, you know that it can be challenging to keep the romance alive, especially after you’ve finished your honeymoon phase. But just because the theoretical time limit of the honeymoon phase (six months to a year) passed you by doesn’t mean you can’t rekindle the spark anytime you want to.
Working to love your partner through their love languages can bring back similar feelings to the ones you shared when you both began the relationship. You should never stop putting effort into your relationship; discovering each of your love languages is a great way to show that.
Chapman says, “Speaking your partner’s love language is especially important when you come down from the highly euphoric stage that we typically call ‘falling in love’… After this stage fades, you must be much more intentional in learning how to express love in a way that is meaningful to the other person.”
Your partner’s love language shows them that you’re taking the time to understand and care for them.
It Promotes Healthy Communication
One of the biggest problems couples face is a lack of healthy and correct communication. To be fair, it isn’t easy. More than likely, you both grew up in different environments. As children, we see our parents and family communicate; consciously or not, we adapt those communication skills. When we enter into new relationships, we carry with us those communication habits and, for better or worse, assume that our partner will be okay with adapting to those habits.
When you and your partner learn each other’s love languages, you’re also learning a new way to communicate with them in a healthy and tailored way. Communicating through each other’s love languages creates a safe space where you can share your feelings, thoughts, and desires.
It Leads to Healthier Relationships
The main objective that learning each other’s love language will provide you with is a healthier relationship all around. Both of you are sacrificing something in order to communicate through the other’s love language, and you’re both showing love and understanding through the process.
While knowing your partner’s love language isn’t enough, checking in with them and discussing how they need to be loved is an excellent start down the pathway to a healthier relationship.
Love languages, like each personal relationship, are not one-size-fits-all. They are a great representation of how each person wants and needs to be loved individually and uniquely.