The 5 ‘Love Languages’ Everyone Should Understand
We all want to feel loved and appreciated, and we want our partners to feel the same way. While we do our best to show our adoration and affection for our partners, a lot more gets lost in translation than we often realize. Sometimes a couple just can’t feel the love, and it’s not for a lack of loving expressions and romantic gestures – it’s simply a language barrier.
It’s so important to learn how our partners receive our love, and vis versa. For so many couples that get into daily squabbles, it can be as simple (and as complicated) as speaking different languages. Not sure what your love language is? Take the quiz now at www.5lovelanguages.com with your partner, and have a fun brainstorming session to work out some different ways you can each express and receive love more easily.
Let’s say that you really enjoy when your partner rubs your feet after a long day. It makes you feel like they really value your hard work. You want them to feel loved, so you make sure to give them several foot rubs every week. You know, so they know you feel the same way.
From your partner’s perspective, however, they feel recognized and appreciated when you wash up all the dishes after they cooked you a nice meal, and is mindful to return the favor as often as possible.
It’s been a few weeks since your last foot rub however, and now both your feet and your heart are starting to hurt. You’ve cut down on the amount of dishwashing you’ve been doing, because if your S.O. isn’t making the effort, why should you, right? Meanwhile your partner has noticed your diminished kitchen help, and are wondering if it’s not just their cooking that you’re losing interest in.
I regularly meet with couples who feel this way – and Emily is always getting emails about it, too! They both feel unappreciated – as if they are screaming “I LOVE YOU!” in different languages at each other. And, to be honest, they are.
You see, the root of this problem comes from a very simple, and extremely common, misunderstanding. We assume that our partners receive love in the same languages that we do, so we usually communicate in those ways to express our love to them.
The reality however, is that most individuals have different ways that they like to express and receive love. While these problems may feel so complicated when you are in them, the simple fix is to learn to speak your partner’s love languages. One of the many beautiful things about this practice, is that it translates out of romantic lives, and into all our interpersonal relationships.
Ready to dive into learning more about them, and how they can improve your relationship and your life? Let’s do it!
ACTS OF SERVICE
A person who receives love best in Acts of Service will visibly glow when you ask them what you can do to help lift some responsibility off their shoulders. When their partner demonstrates their love in clear, concrete ways they can see as opposed to just hear – they feel valued and appreciated. Talk is cheap to these people. They don’t usually want to hear all the things you’d like to do – they want to see you do them. It’s important that the acts are thoughtful, loving, and helpful.
Random gestures will be invisible to this partner, but asking them if you could help them with housework, or if you could change the oil in their car, will simply make them melt. If you really want to treat them, ask what their least favorite task on their to-do list is and then do it before they can even ask you! If they, in turn, express in acts of service, make sure you thoughtfully acknowledge their gestures and hard work.
A clean garage may be more likely to go unnoticed than a bouquet of flowers, so keep an eye out for these loving gestures from them, and try to return when you can. Make sure you only make commitments you can follow through on. Being able to rely on your help and support is extremely meaningful to these lovers.
Gifts is one of the most commonly misunderstood love languages. It’s rarely about the monetary value of a gift (though for some people this can be a factor), but usually about the thoughtfulness and effort of the present. The gift is the physical embodiment of your mind being on your partner. The fact that you went beyond the thought and put the effort in to follow through with the gesture is so meaningful to them.
Making holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries important will bring so much joy to this partner. There is no need to wait for these occasions to give them a gift though – a simple trip to the grocery store can be an opportunity to show you care. Try picking up a favorite treat of theirs, and enjoy the expression on their face when you pull it out of the grocery bag.
If you ever take a holiday or trip without this partner, make sure to bring them back a thoughtful souvenir! It will mean the world to them. Combining some heartfelt words will really boost these gestures, so try saying something like, “I know you adore these chocolates, and I adore you.” A parting word to the wise for this partner, don’t forget their birthday.
Before you get too excited, this love language isn’t all about sex! Though these are the partners most likely to feel loved through sexual exchanges, sex is just one of the many aspects of this love language. Physical expressions do not always have to be time and labor intensive, and indeed small gestures can go a long way with these lovers. A simple kiss on the cheek as you pass in the hallway, a hug when they first come home from work, or cuddling while watching a movie, can make them feel so loved and valued.
A thoughtful and tender touch creates deep emotional closeness with this partner. When they’re feeling stressed out or upset, instead of trying to solve their problems or calm them down, try asking if you can give them a hug. Frequency of physical contact is important to them, so try making an effort to give them small, regular touches throughout the day. This let’s them know you’re thinking of them, and how much you adore and appreciate them.
Withholding affection from this partner would make them wither away, so make sure not too much time passes between touches. When you’re the one who is regularly initiating physical touch with this partner, it will help them feel the most secure and loved. If you’d like to go all out and spoil them, take a massage class, and then indulge your sweetheart with your new skills!
A person whose love language is quality time doesn’t necessarily need you to be around them 24/7, but when you are together, they need you to be present. Put your phone down, (in fact, put it on silent), and listen up! They will want you to give them your undivided attention and really connect in conversation. Giving them your full focus is incredibly important to them, and will help them feel that you really value and appreciate them.
Carve out some time in your schedule to really connect with your partner, and enjoy shared activities and quality conversation. Active listening is important to them, so make sure you’re making eye contact, and avoid interrupting them. Being interrupted can often make them feel as if you’re withdrawing your love, and value your opinion over your shared connection. Listen to understand, and ask emotion based questions, instead of trying to solve their problems.
The next time they’re venting about their workday, try putting down your phone and asking them, “how did that make you feel?” or, “what did you think about that?” They will feel so much more connected to you. This partner is likely to adore having intimate dates with just the two of you, so surprise them with a phone-free romantic weekend away, or even just a simple walk to connect after a long day.
WORDS OF AFFIRMATION
This partner will thrive on hearing about how much you cherish and appreciate them. Even a simple “I love you so much,” will go a long way with them. Being honest and vulnerable with them will fill their heart, as these words and compliments need to be sincere and heartfelt. So, a throwaway, “you look nice today,” might not cut it. Don’t let any loving gesture or action go unnoticed, either. Make sure you shower them with praise and compliments – they will bloom like a flower when they hear your gratitude and appreciation.
Any sort of criticisms or put-downs can be quite crushing to this sweetie, so make sure any helpful critique or suggestion is delivered in a thoughtful and loving way. You don’t have to write them a long poem about your undying affection everyday (though they would surely melt if you did), but seeing a spontaneous ‘I love you’ post-it note on their mirror, or receiving an unexpected romantic text will light up their day.
Hearing the reasons behind your love is really important, as well as all the big and little things you simply adore. This lover will particularly enjoy cards, so try writing them a thoughtful one for birthdays and anniversaries. Encouraging all of their projects and endeavors is important, and if they hear you telling other people of their achievements… Get ready to catch them from a swoon.
Sometimes being in a long term relationship involves a little work, and it’s always good to be working smart instead of just hard! Learning about the five love languages can help you in all areas of your life too! Everyone – even your boss or your sister – has their own preference for giving and receiving love. So why not embrace more love in your life, and learn to speak a new language today!