The strongest relationships are the ones that understand each other. An aspect of understanding is through your partner’s love language. Love languages have become a sensational aspect of dating but not always understood. Today we’re going to take a deeper dive into love languages: what they are, actions for the love languages, and common misconceptions about them.
There are 5 major love languages; quality time, words of affirmation, gift-giving, physical touch, and acts of service.
Quality time is the love language that can be intertwined with the other 4 but can also be your main love language. If your love language is quality time, you appreciate having the presence of your partner and not having to share it. It’s more than just seeing them, you want to go on dates with your partner and see that they not only set aside time for you but also put thought and value into the time that they spend with you. If your partners love language is quality time consider incorporating these actions and affirmations:
Giving them undivided attention when hanging out
“Thank you for spending the day/afternoon with me”
Set aside time in a busy week for them and ONLY them
Take the time to fully plan out dates
Words of affirmation
This is probably the most straightforward love language out of the 5. If your love language is words of affirmation you find appreciation and reassurance in your partner’s verbal expression. This is deeper than a simple “of course I love you” or “yes I am happy in this relationship”. It’s reassurance without having to be asked for it as well as other affirmations that make your partner feel better about themselves as the relationship. If your partners love language is words of affirmation practice these positive affirmations with them:
I value you and everything that you bring to this relationship
My favorite this about you is…
I appreciate it when you do…
You make me happy
This love language is the least embraced in my opinion. Because it’s tied to the word “gift” people automatically assume expensive things which isn’t always the case. If your partners love language is gift-giving the overall value that they appreciate is the thought put into the gift. Buying a gift for your partner in their absence shows to them that even when you guys are apart, you’re still thinking about them and their happiness. Gifts don’t always need to be expensive. Gifts can range from things like
Picking up their favorite food or drink
Sending them to the nail salon
Paying a bill or expense
Replacing something old or broken
One common misconception I notice about the physical touch love langue is that it gets associated with sexual touch. If your love language is physical touch, you value the physical connection with your partner beyond sexual touch. Having your partner close to you matters and not many words need to be said for you to know they are thinking about you and care for you. It’s the tight hugs, back rubs, and subconscious kisses to your forehead that say everything you need to know. If your patterns love language is physical touch, think about how your partner does or would respond to these actions:
Holding their hand when you drive
Sitting closer to them
Giving them kisses when they aren’t expecting one
Acts of service
Last but certainly not least, acts of service is the first love language I ever learned. A few years ago my sister introduced the overall theme of love languages to me and said acts of service were hers. What it means for her in her marriage is that she feels appreciated and loved when her husband takes burdens off of her shoulders. This includes things like giving their children a bath, making the bed, and putting gas in her car. When he does the things without her asking because he knows she would appreciate him doing it, she feels loved. If your partners love language is acts of service, consider incorporating these actions.
Taking a household chore off of their to-do list
Updating calendars or other reminders for them
Make them breakfast/dinner
Help them with something without having to be asked to
Call their uber/drive them somewhere
The most common misconception I see with the love languages is that you only need to cater to one, usually your partner’s favorite. But this is false! Yes, it is important to satisfy your partner’s main love language but you also need to cater to the other 4 as well.
How do I find out my partners love language? The easiest way to find out is to ask them. Communication is key in any relationship, simply asking your partner leaves out room for confusion or misunderstanding their wants and needs.
What if my partner doesn’t know their love language or wants me to figure it myself? This answer comes with time and assessment. Pay attention to your partner and how they react to certain things. Does it make their day when you surprise them with coffee? Do they get offended when you’re on your phone around them? Do they ask you for verbal reassurance frequently? Simple assessments from interactions like this will definitely put you in the right direction of figuring out their love language.
Do I need to have the same love language as my partner? No, but it does make things easier. It’s common for people to show love the way they like to receive it, which can make having similar love language values as your partner desirable because you both will reciprocate the same energy easily. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get into a flow with your partner if your love languages are different. If this is the case for you and your partner communication is vital to make sure each person has established what makes them feel loved and effort is twice as important for each person to actively apply those aspects into the relationship for their partner. If your love language is physical touch and theirs is receiving gifts, give them gentle reminders about how much you appreciate when they play with your hair or hold your hand when they drive and return that with treating them to lunch or picking up their favorite snacks from the store by surprise.
Do love languages change over time? Sometimes they can. Depending on where you are in life, the things you may want and need from a partner can change. As a 20-year-old young adult with little responsibilities, acts of service isn’t a major love langue to be addressed in my relationship. However, as I get older and advance in my relationship, it may be more appreciated to have assistance in my growing to-do list.
So now that you know what the love languages are, actions for them, and misconceptions for them, now what? The goal along with understanding the love languages is to practice them on a regular basis in your relationship. It is the unspoken language of how you feel loved and appreciated in your relationship. Study your partner, talk to them, and then practice. It may take some adjusting but over time, it will be a subconscious component of your relationship that makes the relationship stronger and healthier.