Have you ever talked with a friend about relationships and been shocked to hear how different what they want from a partner is? It’s easy to fall for the idea that everyone expresses and receives love in similar ways but, in reality, individuals have distinct desires, wants, and needs from life, and others. The five love languages clearly demonstrate these unique characteristics.
The idea behind identifying your love language (and your partner’s) is for them to help romantic partners better understand each other and maintain healthy relationships—though they can be utilized for all thoughtful connections in your life.
In that spirit, it’s worth learning what your love language is so you can better identify what actions make you feel special—and identifying what your partner’s is so that you can cater to it. Read on for all the details.
Words Of Affirmation
As the saying typically goes, “It’s not about what you say but what you do”—but that’s not so true for people whose love language is words of affirmation. Those who “speak” this language feel most connected to their partner or others after hearing after a few kind words. A person who speaks the language of affirmation connects deeply to their partner’s words.
This love language is all about recognition. If you have a partner who thrives on words of affirmation, they don’t necessarily want to be showered with compliments so much as they want to hear you say “thank you” for taking care of the dishes after dinner—or “I appreciate you” when they wake up early to walk the dog. These acknowledgements are how your partner knows for certain that you see the value they bring into the relationship.
Acts Of Service
For anyone with acts of service as their love language, actions speak louder than words. What proves more important is a partner putting forth the effort to make life a little easier and sweeter. Cooking a meal, running an errand without being asked, remembering to take care of the small details of life in a way that shows their beloved they are seen and loved. Doing things you anticipate your partner wants or needs demonstrates how much you value and care for them.
No diamond necklaces required here. Catering to this love language can be as simple as picking up flowers on your way home or getting an extra pint of their favourite ice cream. Thoughtful gifts, not necessarily elaborate ones, that demonstrate time and energy went into it is the essential ingredient of this love language. They don’t need extravagance, but they want to have these tokens, and they often save these tokens to review and reflect on later. Well, unless it’s edible.
That is not to say that it’s impossible for this love language to be driven by more materialistic motives, but based on its meaning, materialism is not the message. The love language of receiving gifts is that you feel most love when you have a tangible object in your hand that has been given to you by the one you love.
If your partner or loved one identifies with this love language, carving out time to spend with only them will be a biggie. But it’s about more than sitting next to each other on the couch. Quality time is about having your partner’s full focus and attention, which means ditching distractions during date night or breakfast convos is a must.
Leave your phone on the “Do Not Disturb” setting, and don’t flip through the channels while your S.O. tells you about their day—be present for them. This means asking your partner how they feel now that the stressful week they’d mentioned is over, and actively listening when they respond. Being there for them is how they know you care.
While it’s easy to assume what this one means, no, the love language physical touch is not just about sex. In fact, people who identify with this language may not have a higher libido than those who don’t. But they do feel most connected when touch is involved.
Do you always want to hold your partner’s hand when you walk? Do you always want to snuggle up close to them? Do you feel loved more strongly when they’re by your side? If this resonates, then this love language is probably yours.
How To Figure Out What Your Love Language Is
Now that you know what each of the five love languages entail, it’s time to figure out what yours is. Odds are most, if not all, of the languages contain something that resonates with you, but when it comes to selecting just one, focus on which aspects you find most important.
Another way to hone in on your love language is by going over your principles. Values are the ideals that we want to stand by in our lives and what we want to represent to others. If you value community, you may care more about acts of service that deepen and strengthen the bond between you and your partner. If you value integrity, you may be a person who cares more about words of affirmation because a person’s word is like gold to you.
If you’re single, use your newfound knowledge to strengthen your connection with loved ones. It can also be a guide when you’re looking for a partner. If you’re in a relationship, once you have a sense of your own love language, make moves to learn your partner’s love language. And don’t shy away from straight-up asking them what you can do to make them feel all fuzzy and tingly inside.
Keep in mind that, no matter how compatible you are, you and your partner may have different love languages. Understanding how each of you needs to be loved and cared for can go a long way to strengthening your relationship. As with anything that requires you to look within yourself, learning and exploring your love language will provide you with better insight into yourself and what you need from those who love you.