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Do You Speak Your Partner’s “Love Language”?

Do You Speak Your Partner’s “Love Language”? Image

To say that relationships are “hard work” is a definite understatement. Falling in love might be easy, but maintaining a strong bond over time requires a lot of effort. One way to make it easier? Learn how your partner wants to be loved, because the truth is, not everyone craves the same time of affection. When partners aren’t clear on what the other needs to truly feel loved, miscommunication ensues and can put enough strain on a relationship that it begins to break down.

That’s the idea behind “love languages,” a theory of relationships put forward in the classic #1 New York Times bestseller The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

If you’re in a relationship and don’t know about the five love languages, to be honest, the time to start is now. Looking at your relationship through this lens is certain to give you some insights into how to give your partner love in a way they can understand and reciprocate.

What Are Love Languages?

Love languages are the way people prefer to give and receive love. Not everyone feels loved or feels like they are giving love via the same things. These different ways of giving and receiving love are called languages because when you’re not on the same page with your partner about how to make each other feel loved, it can be as challenging as if you were actually speaking a different language.

This breakthrough concept in the psychology of love has been helping repair relationships and marriages for more than 25 years. While it’s possible to learn and use love languages without reading the book (there are a multitude of online resources), the original advice given by Chapman still rings true and is a great starting point.

Can People Have More Than One Love Language?

Typically, people “speak” nearly all the love languages, they simply prioritize them differently. For example, a person may prefer to receive love in one language but is also open to receiving love in other languages. Or, a person may have the ability to give love in many different languages. It’s important to discover the primary love language since that is what will fill your partner’s love gauge.

People can and do give and receive love in different languages. In fact, if you’re not giving your partner love in their primary language, you may be missing the boat and leaving your partner feeling unloved or uncared for. This can happen even if you have the best of intentions and are giving your partner love in every other language possible.

Here’s how you can understand the five different types of love languages and how to give and receive love in each language:

Types of Love Languages

According to author Gary Chapman there are five primary love languages used for giving and receiving love in romantic relationships, as well as in friendships, parental relationships, and other types of partnerships.

Words of Affirmation

Words of affirmation are encouraging or complimentary statements about your significant other. Congratulating them on a job well done or complimenting a nice outfit when you know they’ve put a lot of effort into their appearance can be exactly what the person who speaks this love language needs to hear.

How to Give Love in This Language

Speak kindly to your partner often and encourage them at every opportunity. Verbally let them know that their efforts are seen and valued, and use words to convey how much you love them. Give affirmations face to face often, but the occasional text message or social media post with words of appreciation can help keep it fresh.

How to Receive Love in This Language

If you speak this love language, be sure to recognize when your partner has made an effort to show you love in this way. Avoid arguing with compliments and instead, accept them with a gracious “thank you.”

Acts of Service

Acts of service refer to any acts that you know your partner would want you to do. When you perform an act of service for a partner who speaks this love language, you are embodying the old adage that “actions speak louder than words.”

How to Give Love in This Language

Pay attention to the needs of your partner and learn how to meet some of those needs on your own without being asked. Make sure the lawn gets mowed regularly, rub your partner’s feet after a long day at work, or choose any act of service that puts your partner and their needs above your own, at least briefly.

How to Receive Love in This Language

Be gracious when someone goes out of their way to perform an act of service for you. Don’t respond with, “oh, you didn’t have to do that.” Instead, acknowledge their gift of service and show them gratitude.

Receiving Gifts

For many people, receiving a gift is the ultimate act of love. Selecting a gift that you know someone will truly appreciate can be extremely meaningful for people whose primary love language is the giving and receiving of gifts.

How to Give Love in This Language

Don’t miss any important gift-giving holidays and be sure to select a thoughtful gift that shows you’re paying attention to what they like or need. Also incorporate some “just because” gifts — few things are better for a person who speaks this love language than an impromptu gift.

How to Receive Love in This Language

Receive gifts graciously, even if it’s something you’re unsure you’ll like. Recognize the effort made and that for individuals who don’t speak this love language, gift giving may be more difficult. Give tips, hints, or suggestions to partners who struggle with this type of love language.

Quality Time

Quality time is important for every relationship, but especially so for individuals whose primary love language is spending time with their partner. A movie night on the sofa is going to go a lot further for the person who speaks this language than a gift or even words of encouragement.

How to Give Love in This Language

Make an effort to spend time with your partner without distractions. Put your phone away and make them your focus during this time. Get creative and discover different ways to spend quality time together that are new and exciting.

How to Receive Love in This Language

Make room in your schedule for times that your partner initiates spending quality time with you. Try to be distraction-free during your quality time and show your partner gratitude for taking time out of their day to spend solely with you. If this is also your partner’s primary love language, quality time can be a great way to recharge both of your batteries.

Physical Touch

Physical touch is the act of being physically affectionate with your partner. While this includes sex, it’s not limited to it. Physical intimacy of any kind falls under this love language.

How to Give Love in This Language

Touch your partner often, even just briefly or in passing. Give hugs frequently, initiate massages, and make time for sex. During times when you don’t feel like being sexually responsive, give your partner some cuddle time instead.

How to Receive Love in This Language

Acknowledge your partner’s touch and let them know that it feels good to you. Tell them that you appreciate their long hugs in the middle of the day and that you recognize that they’ve made an effort to show you love in the way you receive it best.

Discover Your Partner’s Love Language

Discovering your partner’s love language is easier than you think. Reading The 5 Love Languages is a great way to start, but you can also simply take some time to think about what makes you feel most loved. List them in order from most to least, and have your partner do the same. Compare your lists and see where your disconnections are. Is your partner’s primary love language one of your last? You might have to work harder at consciously giving your partner love in their language. Or, if you share love languages, make sure there’s enough back and forth so that each person feels individually loved and cherished.

 

About the Author

Kaylen Jackson is a 14-year writing veteran. She currently works on a variety of projects, including in-depth content marketing strategies and SEO. Kaylen lives life with the philosophy that there are few problems that can’t be solved with a hug, a snack, and a nap.

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