Is it important to you that your relationship be successful? Part of what makes a relationship just that is knowing how best to express your love for your partner, which means knowing what they appreciate the most from that expression. And that’s where the 5 Love Languages come in. It is important not only to know yours but also your partner’s, and a step further – it is important to talk to your partner about your love language and find out theirs. If you just want your partner to figure out your language on their own, stop. Unfortunately mind-reading isn’t one of human beings very special gifts, so let down that ego and talk to each other! They most likely will never know yours until you do!
Let’s say that partner A appreciates Words of Affirmation most and partner B appreciates Acts of Service most, that is exactly how they will express their love without realizing that the other isn’t receiving the love they desire the way they desire it. So partner A will write long, thoughtful notes or say words like “I love you because…” to partner B and partner B will take out the trash or go grocery shopping for partner A – neither of them knowing that the other needs a different way of receiving love. So knowing your own Love Language and communicating that to your partner (and vice versa) is SO important!
Let’s get down and dirty with the Love Languages, yeah?
Acts of Service
Anticipating your partner’s needs; doing helpful things for them; performing tangible tasks.
Which means ambivalence from a partner about the lack of help and a lack of anticipation communicates apathy from one partner to the other.
Here are some suggestions of anticipating your partner’s needs if they appreciate Acts of Service most:
– washing, folding, and putting away their laundry
– starting a bubble bath with candles and wine
– have their favorite snack or sweet waiting for them
– plan a special date tailored to them
– make their favorite breakfast in bed
– washing the dishes after a long day at work
– planning a surprise birthday party
– asking them, “what can I help with?” during a stressful time
– starting the car for them so it’s either warm or cool for them, season dependent
– sexy time focused on them
If you’re unsure of what would go a long way for your partner, sit down with them and ask what they appreciate! I suggest doing one of these (or your own idea) a day and see how your partner feels from there. If once a day sounds like too much, ask yourself if roles were reversed and your partner was ignoring your needs, would you respond positively or negatively to that? Would you want them to try harder to show their appreciation of you? Probably. So just go for it!
Expressing love through touch; non-verbal body language; connection through contact.
Which means lack of touch, even in the smallest way, seems like ignoring your partner which isolates them.
Here are some suggestions for communicating love through physical touch:
– holding hands while walking
– caressing your partner’s cheek
– have a hand resting on partner’s thigh while riding in the car
– head or back scratches
– kissing and hugging when partners see each other
– cuddling while sleeping or pre-sleeping
– quick kisses throughout the day
– caressing partner’s arm briefly while walking by them at a social gathering
– massages: back, shoulders, feet, hands, etc.
– and of course, sex
I’ve never met someone who’s Love Language was physical touch that thought they were receiving too much touch, so if this is your partner’s language and you struggle with it, aim to do 2 of these a day and see how your partner responds to that. Start small if needed, and then sit back and observe the happiness on your partner’s face. It’s worth it, I promise.
Giving tangible (and even intangible) presents; thoughtful gestures of love.
Which means not remembering an anniversary gift or forgetting what you partner has been hinting at demonstrates neglect.
Here are some suggestions for being the best gift giver your partner has ever been with:
– take notes when your partner mentions something they like (I literally have a note in my phone specifically for every time my partner mentions a like, a dislike, etc.)
– surprise your partner, just because!
– pay attention to their preferences; if your partner never wears jewelry, they most likely don’t care for gifts like earrings and bracelets; if your partner loves the great outdoors, hit up the local outdoors store
– remember anniversaries, birthdays, and special occasions; write them down if necessary
– get creative with your gift giving; incorporate things special to the two of you from inside jokes, mutual hobbies, memories from special moments, etc.
– gift giving could even mean taking your partner out for something they really enjoy like an opera, a sporting event, a wine tasting, etc.
– a homemade book of romantic gestures 😉
Gift giving doesn’t have to be an every day thing (unless you’re super into it or like really rich). But make sure that when you do give your partner a gift that it’s the right gift for them, which means paying attention to them – which in and of itself can be an excellent ongoing gift.
The act of one-on-one, uninterrupted time together; meaningful interactions.
Which means having your phone to your face during a date (or even just on the table), being distracted and not listening, or complaining about the activity you are doing together are acts of negligence and are downright rude.
Here are some suggestions for some good ol’ quality time spent with your partner:
– go to dinner without your phones, sit across from one another, and keep eye contact throughout most of the evening
– take a stroll around your neighborhood hand in hand
– play games (board, sport, puzzle, etc.)
– go through every question from Arthur Aron’s study
– acquire a new hobby together like a cooking class, photography (hey!), marathons, kite flying, anything!
– some may disagree, but starting a new binge-worthy show together, preferably while cuddled up and eating popcorn; take it a step further and discuss every episode afterwards
– weekend getaway (whether out of town or a hotel in town)
– reenact childhood favorites like fort building in the living room or pillow fights or camping in the backyard or scavenger hunts
– go dancing!
– concerts, comedy shows, etc.
– practice fake accents while at the local farmers market
– learn a language together
– a good and yummy bang 😉
The list truly is endless. And of course gear it towards your partner and your relationship. Schedules may not always align, so make sure that when they do your attention is laser focused on your partner and what the two of you are doing together. I suggest aiming for once a week quality time spent out and about, and 2-3 quality moments during the week at home together.
Words of Affirmation
Verbal expressions of love; vocal validation; compliments and praise; words, words, words, and words.
Which means forgetting to say, “Thank you,” or not saying “I love you” back to your partner is tantamount to blasphemy.
Here are some suggestions for beautiful words for your devoted partner:
– thanking them, genuinely, after every meal or date or household chore completed
– saying “I love you because…” and sharing the real thoughts and feelings you have for your partner
– love post-it notes left around your home
– if you’re not much of a wordsmith, finding poems like this one and adding a personal note to it
– enjoying meaningful conversations together
– repeating anything Jim Halpert ever said to Pam (though maybe make it your own a little bit)
– if you’re musically inclined, write songs
– if you’re poetically inclined, I think you can tell where I’m going here…
– compliments about the big things and the small things
– praise when your partner accomplishes something
– encouragement on bad days
– validation on good days
– “I love you” every day
– annnnnnd some dirty talk to bring the sex theme full circle
Words of affirmation may seem daunting to some, and I totally get that! So if it does, start small and don’t overthink it. Let go of your ego. Work your way through some of these suggestions (or any others you think of). Or if you like playing pretend, act as if you’re in a long-distance relationship and the only thing you have to express your appreciation to your partner are words! It might get your creative juices flowing.
Try practicing all the Love Languages in one epic romance-filled day.
It honestly doesn’t take much time or effort to show your partner the love they crave, and eventually expressing a Love Language that is not your own can become second nature. This list might look intimidating, but if you’re willing to read this or browse social media or watch an episode of The Office, you can probablyyyy show your partner a little love.
Also you can absolutely feel strongly about 2 or 3 different Love Languages – or if you’re like me feel strongly about all of them (lol). But I would definitely say my top two are Physical Touch and Words of Affirmation. And I know what my partner’s are too. And I’m so glad I know that information – it makes it easier for us to comfort one another, to share love for one another, and frankly just know more about each other which in my book is always a good thing! So if you haven’t sat down to figure yours out and exchange languages with your partner, I highly suggest you do so. Right now. Really.