The way we communicate and receive love varies from person to person, because of a phenomenon known as languages of love.
Often we fail to make our partners feel special, in spite of our best intentions. Gestures that should affect our fall flat with them, and although they feel confused we end up feeling unappreciated.
What is my love language?
It is important to note before you start thinking about love languages, that people tend to give love the way they prefer to receive it. The reason is most people have a language of love which is dominant. Some men, however, tie in between two love languages or for some get very close scores. A good idea is to reflect on a time where you truly felt loved by someone, what did they do? Doing this might reveal and be a good indication of what your dominant love language is.
The 5 Love Languages
So, what are the 5 languages? They are as follows:
- Words of affirmation
- Receiving gifts
- Acts of service
- Quality time
- Physical touch
You might already have an intuitive sense about what these mean and which one applies to you, but it’s worth carefully exploring all five before making a final call about your love language.
Words Of Affirmation Love Language
Words Of Affirmation Love Language
If your love language is words of affirmation, you feel most cared for when someone verbalises their feelings and tells you what they appreciate about you.
You are conscious that these compliments are real, and when you say them, you feel good about yourself (and your partner).
You need to hear your worth expressed outright and you’ll feel under-appreciated without clear affirmations of love.
You will also want to express your own love in words, but someone with a different language of love will not give as much weight to those languages.
If you are convinced that the love language of your partner is words of affirmation but you are not sure how to communicate with them in this language, one helpful exercise is to write down 10-20 things you like and admire about them.
Generally, a sentence that takes the form “I love it when you do ____ – that’s so thoughtful” will land well with this person. However, it’s hard to go wrong – just speak from the heart about what you love.
Examples Of Words Of Affirmation
- Well done/I am proud of you.
- I’m here for you.
- Thank you for looking after me.
- I regret/I’m sorry for…
- I love you, need you, want you.
- You mean the world to me/You are the love of my life.
- I don’t know what I’d do without you.
- You’re doing great—don’t give up/I believe in you.
- I know how tough things have been lately.
- I feel blessed to have you in my life/You are my best friend.
Acts Of Service Love Language
If your love language is acts of service, you’re much more about “doing” than “saying”.
This is basically when they do chores for you, help organise events or fix broken things you feel like your partner really loves you. In other words, you feel respected when someone else eliminates any of the pressure or tension from your life.
This might also involve taking over more than their fair share of parenting duties, completing a task you’ve been dreading, or ensuring that everything in the house works well.
If you don’t value acts of service to this extent but think that this might be your partner’s love language, pay close attention to the daily things that make them unhappy or anxious.
Examples Of Acts Of Service
- Prepare dinner or help in the kitchen.
- Doing chores.
- Make tea/coffee in the morning.
- Amend something broken.
- Ask – “can I help you?”
- Plan a date.
- Ask if they need anything or if they want something specific when getting up.
- Help with something without being asked.
- Pick up their favourite snack from the store.
- Cover the bills.
Quality Time Love Language
To those with a language of love to time quality, the focus is on ensuring the loved ones plan together meaningful time.
If this is your language of love, you’ll feel cared for when your partner takes time to go with you on dates, enjoy planning day trips and vacations, and get excited about doing new things with you. By contrast, if you only see your partner briefly (for example , at the end of the working day), you’ll start to feel taken for granted and as if your relationship lacks something.
When quality time is the love language of your partner and yet it does not rate so highly for you, you may find it difficult to understand why it matters so much.
For example, you might compliment them every day, and feel perplexed by why they aren’t happy.
Simple contact helps to fulfil someone’s needs in the language of quality time love – that is, just ask your partner what they’d like to do with you, and devote your resources to brainstorming a list with them.
Often, just carving out specific time for the person also goes a long way toward making them feel loved – think of a weekly date night, for example.
Examples Of Quality Time
- Cook or bake together.
- Go for a walk.
- Stay away from digital devices when spending time together.
- Play card/board games.
- Plan an overnight or day trip together.
- A night in with movies and cuddles.
- Work out together.
- Engage in quality conversations.
- Play 20 questions to keep getting to know one another.
- Be childish together (eat cereal on the floor, sing out loud, dance to your favourite songs).
Receiving Gifts Love Language
As the name suggests, the love language of giving gifts places an emphasis on receiving things from your partner.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you value expensive items – you may be just as happy (or even happier) with small tokens of affection, or handmade things.
Anyone who doesn’t care much about wealth may still have a gift love language.
The argument is just that you like to accept tokens of love, and you see these gifts as a sign of love for you from the other person.
Objects are more reflective in your mind of love for your partner than, for example, compliments or time spent together.
If you’re with someone whose love language is gift giving, one thing to keep in mind is these gifts are about showing love, not about buying it or buying forgiveness after a fight.
Think of your timing, your intention, and how to surprise the gift (if your partner loves surprises!). Therefore, remember that the gifts you offer do not have to be objects of matter.
They can also be trips, experiences, and classes.
Notice what your partner feels passionate about, and try to tailor your gifts to these passions.
Examples Of Receiving Gifts
- Buy flowers for no reason.
- Get them something they wanted for a while.
- Sign them up for a class they are interested in.
- Make a little hamper of things using their favourite colour/theme.
- Make hand made gifts.
- Plan an experience out of the ordinary (Trampolining, Hicking, beach day).
- “It made me think of you” gift.
- “I was thinking of you” gift when going away.
- Frame a photo of the two of you together.
Physical Touch Love Language
The final language of love is physical touch which can occur in a number of ways. Some people with this language of love like most of the time to sit close together, holding hands or snuggled in each other.
Meanwhile, others are more focused on communicating and experiencing love through sex, or focusing on saying hello or goodbye when you need an embrace.
What unifies all people with this love language is feeling most cared for and most secure when in some kind of physical contact with their partner.
If you’re not a person who values physical touch as much, you may need to remind yourself that your partner does need this.
Setting a goal to give them a specific number or hugs or kisses throughout the day can help as you can develop a ritual where you kiss them every time you come home.
And if you don’t really like being too close physically, find ways to compromise – for instance, if you can’t be relaxed with someone wrapped around you in bed, holding hands or leaning your feet against each other will play the same soothing role for your partner.
Examples Of Physical Touch
- Embracing regularly (Goodbye and hello hugs).
- Arm around the shoulder, waist or hand-holding while walking.
- Small body contact like your hand on their leg when sitting down to watch something.
- A surprise hug from behind while your partner is cooking.
- Tickling your partner.
- Holding your partner when they feel negative emotions.
- Stroking and combing through partners hair.
- Gentle stroke on face/cheeks.
- A small kiss on the hand, cheeks, shoulder, forehead, etc.
Can You Be With Someone With A Different Love Language?
Now, reading through the love languages above, you’ll have found some major variations in how love communicates and experiences each form of a person.
As a response, you may be concerned about whether there will ever be a good and happy relationship between two people with different love languages.
The good news is that many people-if not most-end up with a partner who does not speak the same language of love. Why does that work, then?
The secret is open communication, integrity and a clear readiness to make changes.
Firstly, it’s important to discuss your love languages.
Explain to each other how you relate to the concept of love, and what kinds of things make you feel good. Be willing to give examples, rather than expecting your partner to read your mind.
Furthermore, admit that there is still a need for a compromise.
The person who loves compliments but dislikes spending money may need to learn to understand that gifts are what happens to their spouse.
Meanwhile, the person who would like to cuddle on the sofa rather than talk about their feelings might need to develop a more refined set of communication skills to foster a sense of security within their partner.
If you are currently having some problems in your existing relationship, understanding your partners’ love language is starting to make your partner feel loved.
There is no reason why you can’t fall in love again and awaken the spark.
Love languages can improve your love relationships