A few decades ago, Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages became an absolute hit on the market and subsequently a #1 New York Times bestseller. The book provided women and men with the secret to long-lasting love.
Ever since, people who take relationships and dating seriously have been quoting the book and using the profile test to determine their long language, as well as that of their potential partner.
The concept behind the 5 love languages provides a truth that many couples have been missing – because, in reality, your love language and that of your partner can be as different as English and Mandarin.
If you’d like to know more about the 5 types of love languages – specifically, which one is yours and which is your partner’s, then read on!
Love Language #1: Words of affirmation
Mark Twain once said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.”
Taking this quote literally explains the essence of the first love language, words of affirmation. At the heart of it, this means acknowledging our partner with words.
It may sound really simple – but you’d be astounded to learn how many people don’t even think about using words of affirmation in their relationship. This can include:
- Praising your partner
- Paying attention to the little things they do
- Thanking them for what they do
- Paying them compliments regularly
- Taking note of your partner’s strengths
- Complimenting their looks
Reward vs. Criticism
If your partner’s love language is words of affirmation, then you need to make sure you frequently remind him how happy you are with what they do in the relationship.
Instead of nagging him when he doesn’t take the bin out, reward his good deeds with praise and gratitude.
Verbal compliments are far greater motivators than nagging and you could literally get your partner to do anything – all you have to do is stop nagging, and start rewarding.
Using Words of Encouragement
When you give your partner courage, and the strength to do the task at hand, he’ll feel unstoppable – because he knows you trust, love, and believe in him. It’s a really powerful way of motivating him and showing him that he can do anything.
Focus on Kindness
This love language has many dialects, including using kind words and choosing to respond with kindness no matter the situation. Even in the most heated argument, when your partner is really pissing you off, you need to choose kindness first. Remember that he’s a human being who deserves respect and love – no matter how pissed off you are at that very moment.
If This is Your Love Language:
If you feel deprived of regular encouragement, it’s time to address that need with your partner. Often, we have the tendency to give our partner the love language we actually seek for ourselves. We overcompensate – because we want the same.
The danger in that is loving someone else the way you wish to be loved – which isn’t necessarily right for them. Of course, it’s possible that the two of you have got the same love language, but you need to make sure of that.
Love Language #2: Quality Time
You can have the best partner in the world, who is a great provider – but if he doesn’t spend quality time with you, and that’s your love language, your relationship will ultimately suffer.
Quality time as a love language means giving the other person our undivided attention. No phone, no TV, no distractions. As soon as you try to do that, you’ll notice how tough it actually is. You need to consciously choose to spend time with them – not just having fun, but also being comfortable to sit together in silence and do nothing.
Giving Each Other Focused Attention
It isn’t enough to just be in the same room together. Quality time means focused attention, which is hard, especially in the era of distractions we live in.
Often we feel like we miss our partner even if we’ve spent the whole day together. It’s that inexplicable feeling of being apart, despite the physical proximity – which is due to the lack of quality time we spend with our partners. It just cannot be replaced with simply being in the same room.
This can include taking a walk with your partner, and talking for hours – as well as making sure the time you spend together are free from other distractions, including social media and TV.
Having Quality Conversations
Then there’s the question of quality conversation or lack thereof. A lot of women complain that their partners don’t talk to them – but what they really mean, is that their partner doesn’t really talk to them about quality topics.
In long-term relationships, conversations can become mundane – and can include topics like who will do the dishes, who will take the dog out, or what to have for dinner. That doesn’t sum up quality time of conversation.
Then, there’s the added issue of coming home after work and using your partner as a counselor to tell all your work troubles to. Again, not a quality conversation or time well spent together.
If this is your partner’s love language, here are some tips for effective communication – as well as some date ideas to help rekindle the spark in your relationship.
Love Language #3: Receiving Gifts
Gifts are a visual symbol of love. For hundreds of centuries, humans have been giving each other presents as tokens of love, respect, and admiration – so it’s no wonder receiving gifts is one of the 5 love languages.
Gifting is a Symbol of Love
These visual symbols of love are more important to some than to others – which is why you shouldn’t ignore your partner’s need for it, even if you don’t care about receiving gifts.
When someone’s primary love language is receiving gifts, they use and wear what their partner gives them with great pride. It symbolizes their love and reminds them of it.
It’s Not About Money
One of the main issues with understanding this love language is revolved around one’s attitude towards money. It may feel lavish or wasteful to buy gifts often, especially without a particular occasion.
If you don’t buy things for yourself without a reason, why would you for your partner?
The thing is, this is about meeting the other person’s emotional needs. It’s not about being extravagant or wasteful – rather it’s being kind, generous, and thoughtful.
A gift doesn’t have to be expensive. There are multiple tangible gifts that you can make yourself or repurpose. It’s the thought that counts.
Reflect on possible ways to give gifts to one another, even if your finances are tight.
Love Language #4: Acts of Service
If your primary love language is acts of service, it means you feel loved when your partner does things you wish they’d do. This can include your partner doing chores so that you can catch up on work, cooking a meal without making a fuss about it, and taking out the trash before you even have to ask.
Don’t Demand Acts of Service
These acts of service are best received when done selflessly. They can perhaps be encouraged with a little direction, but never demanded. Demands, nagging, and orders stop the flow of love and create a disbalance in the relationship in which one partner feels like they constantly have to give in order for the other to be happy.
If This is Your Love Language:
Acts of service are about the little things, as much as the big things. One way to identify if this is your love language is if you tend to criticize your partner the most about this area. That’s a strong indication of what your deepest emotional needs are.
This is a double-edged sword because in trying to inspire and encourage your partner to speak your love language, you’re most likely over-compensating by doing all the things you wish he’d do. You might think to yourself:
If only he noticed!
If only it came natural to him.
Maybe he’ll appreciate all I do for him and mirror it.
Find the Best Way to Speak His Language
Just like with quality time, this love language is one of the most time-consuming – and therefore hard to fine-tune. Many acts of service will naturally involve household chores, but not all.
Think about all the other things your partner probably already does in response to your needs, and start from there.
If it’s hard to determine those, then make a list of all the things your partner does that are an expression of his love and care for you. If this is your partner’s love language, focus on the things you can do more of or be better at.
Love Language #5: Physical Touch
Everyone knows that physical touch is extremely important in communicating emotional love. That’s also one of the reasons long-distance relationships have such a hard time staying together.
From the day we are born, physical touch is essential to our survival and feeling safe and loved. The power of touch is incredibly important for a long-lasting, healthy relationship.
What You Can Do
If your primary love language is physical touch, it means you want to be with your partner as much as possible – to be held by him, to be cuddled and kissed, and probably need to have sex more often than people with other love language.
Physical touch can make or break a relationship. When we’re loved, we know that our partner can’t keep their hands off us. Our presence is consuming and intoxicating to them.
The opposite is also true. When love dies in a relationship, we first notice the lack of touch and intimacy. We get the feeling our partner wants to be anywhere but with us – which is also one of the ways many women spot infidelity; their partner withdraws and no longer seeks regular intimacy.
Physical touch is incredibly important in difficult moments, too. If your partner’s primary language is touch and he’s clearly upset or distraught, there’s nothing more important than them holding them close. You can also try one of these 40 different types of hugs!
Keep Your Bond Strong
One of the reasons marriages fail is because wives become too busy with the house and the kids to even touch or kiss their husbands. A man whose primary love language is physical touch would feel naturally rejected and ignored if his wife never seems to touch him anymore.
Making time for physical touch is really important for preserving a strong bond, and the busier you are the more you should make time for it. Keep your relationship happy by increasing your physical touch!
Which Love Language is Yours – and Which is Your Partner’s?
You need to start by asking yourself a few fundamental questions, like:
- What do you desire above all else?
- What makes you feel most loved?
- What things you cherish the most in your partner’s behavior?
- What do I always nag him about?
If the answers to those questions leap to your mind instantly, it’d be pretty easy to determine your language. Ask yourself these questions in terms of your partner as well, to help figure out his/her love language.
It also helps to think about situations in which you’ve felt the most hurt or neglected by your partner. Might not be a happy thought, but it’s key to determining your emotional needs.
Here are the three key questions which almost always help in determining your love language:
- What do you most request from your partner?
- What does he do or fail to do that hurts you the most?
- How do you express your love towards him? (This can be an indication of how you wish to be loved.)
At the end of the day, love is a choice you make every day. Every love language has multiple dialects, so even if your love language matches that of your partner, you could still be stuck communicating in different ways and misunderstanding one another.
Whether or not speaking your partner’s love language comes naturally to you doesn’t really matter. In order to build a strong healthy relationship, this is something that needs to be worked on every day. This also means choosing to love your partner even when they aren’t being particularly loving or lovable, in hopes that they’ll do the same with you.
Learning your partner’s love language is one of the surefire ways to become the best girlfriend ever!