Valentine’s Day is coming up and this year the best gift you can give your loved one (and yourself) is to truly understand them and what they need. Never heard of love languages before? Stick around and find out how to easily make your relationship even better.
Thích Nhất Hạnh, my favorite Buddhist monk said: “To love without knowing how to love wounds the person we love”. Think about it: We usually show our partner the love we want to receive. But, if they perceive love in a different way than we do, they might not even notice we’re showing them love at all.
We might be working our butts off to make life easier for them (doing the dishes, picking them up from work, cocking or whatnot…) but all they wanted at the end of the day is a hug, left feeling highly unloved. That’s why understanding each other’s love languages can be vital to building and maintaining a healthy relationship.
The concept is best-known thanks to Gary Chapman, and his bestselling book: “The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts”. In the book, Chapman offers five main languages of love and suggestions for how to use your partner’s language to improve your relationship.
This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face – they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive. Physical touch fosters a sense of security and belonging in any relationship.
In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there – with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby – makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. Quality Time also means sharing quality conversation and quality activities.
Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter. Finding ways to serve speaks volumes to the recipient of these acts.
Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important – hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten. Kind, encouraging, and positive words are truly life-giving.
Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous – so would the absence of everyday gestures. Gifts are visual representations of love and are treasured greatly.
The first step is to identify yours and your partner’s language of love. Try to think of the way you show love and what makes you feel most loved and cherished in the relationship? P.S. This works not only with your significant other but also with family members and close friends.
What does your partner ask of you most often? (Cuddling? Time together?) What do they usually “complain” about? (Help around the house? More compliments?). Another great way to dig in a little deeper is to ask ‘How did your parents show you love when you were young?’. Moreover, see how they show you love – we usually show love the same way we want to receive it.
Basically, we all need a certain amount of all five but we usually have one or two primer languages. The other ones are not ways you usually use to communicate love and are just “nice to have”.
Furthermore, it’s really romantic to think your partner should just know how to love you – but it’s also a bit unfair. Once you figured out the best way you feel loved – express it to your partner and you’ll both be pleased with the outcome – guaranteed! No more generic red roses and valentines candy for you…
So now that you know and understand the language your partner speaks you can show them love in a matter they really value and that will affect them on an emotional level.
1. Hold hands!
2. Say goodbye or greet them with a kiss. Every time.
3. Cuddle together in bed, even (and especially) if it doesn’t lead to anything.
4. Place your hand gently on them, for no reason.
5. Sit close together on the couch when watching TV.
6. Give them a nice loving massage – before they ask for one.
7. Kiss them softly on the forehead or cheek.
8. When in company, give their hand a good squeeze on an inside joke.
9. Put your arm around them in public.
10. When they do well, give them (a physical) pet on the back or a high five.
1. Make Date Nights a weekly event, or at least a monthly one (If you can’t go out, plan a night at home).
2. When you’re spending time together make sure you put your phone down, make eye contact and pay full attention when listening to your partner.
3. Ask how was their day when face to face, and actually listen!
4. Go for walks outside together.
5. Do your small daily routines together like brushing your teeth, or even showering together.
6. Get in the car and take a drive through your favorite area of town. Just because.
7. Workout together – hit the gym or go for a run together, even if you’re not in the same pace…
8. Play a game together – cards or a board game with no electronic devices on! It will be fun and will arouse your competitive/playful spirits.
9. Take a class together.
10. Volunteer together.
1. Take over one of their hated chores for a period of time (or forever LOL).
2. On a special occasion – Do all the chores before they get home.
3. Help them get a difficult task finished (presentation for work or a paper for school).
4. Cook for them – Make them breakfast in bed on the weekend or just prepare food for them for the whole week.
5. Take their car for a wash.
6. Find something little you can do for them that will save them time (like going to the post office or picking up their drycleaning).
7. Do something that you know is important to them, even if it isn’t important to you (visiting their grandparents or sitting down with their friends).
8. Throw their towel in the dryer before they get out of the shower so they have a nice warm towel to dry off with.
9. Make them a cup of coffee or tea without them asking
10. Ask them “How can I help you?” or “How can I make life easier for you?”
1. Write them a love note and let them know how they make you feel.
2. Make a list of 10 things you like about them and then share it with them.
3. Search YouTube for a song that expresses your feelings, send them the link telling them, “This song says it all – I love you!”
4. Make sure you praise them when they are doing sometime well at work or at home, acknowledge them when they did something nice for you, etc.
5. Compliment them out of the blue.
6. Text them in the middle of the day, letting them know you are thinking about them (and describe what you are thinking).
7. Brag about how great they are to your friends or family, in front of them.
8. Let them know how much they mean to you.
9. Encourage them to do something they don’t believe they can.
10. Say “I love you”. A LOT.
1. Make a mental note of little things they mention they like and get it for them (you’ll get extra points not only for the gift but for paying attention).
2. Subscribe them to a favorite magazine or one that represents something they love (like cooking, gadgets etc).
3. Grab their favorite snack/candy on the way home from work.
4. Bring them coffee or lunch at work unexpectedly.
5. Buy them tickets to their favorite performer on a whim.
6. When you’re going on vacation/work trip without them, make sure you bring them a small souvenir letting them know they were on your mind.
7. Gift them an experience, like a hot-air balloon ride.
8. Give them small (sentimental) gifts on important dates like the anniversary of your first kiss.
9. Surprise them with an all-planed date night/fun day for just the two of you.
10. Buy them something small, just because.
Have you figured out your love language already? Are your love language and your partners are the same one? What are your favorite ways to speak your loved one’s Love Languages?
I’m a touchy person so my primary language of love is definitely physical touch, But I also appreciate words of affirmation so show me some love in the comments below.