How do you want to be loved? Maybe you’ve never thought about how to love someone or how you want love to be shown toward you. It is helpful to be aware of your love language when in a relationship, but it’s also important to know your partner’s. Every person understands and receives love in a specific language, one of five to be precise. You may focus on your primary langauge, but the other four are just as important and offer other ways to express love to each other.
These love languages are not exclusive to those in a romantic relationship and can be applied to all relationships. Once you know someone else’s love language, you can start to express your love for them in a way that they will understand and accept.
Words of Affirmation
Words of affirmation are typically words of appreciation or praise. It could be thanking someone for the different ways that they show love (whether that be doing the dishes, giving a gift, spending an afternoon together, giving a massage) or praising someone for who they are, what they do, and what you appreciate about them. Even better is including the reasons behind the love through leaving them a voice message or a written note or talking to them directly with sincere words of kindness and affirmation.
Acts of Service
Acts of service are simple acts that help to make the other person’s life easier or make things run smoother like offering to do the dishes or to do errands. They require thought, planning, time, effort, and energy. If done with a positive spirit, they are indeed expressions of love. It is okay to ask your partner to give you ideas for things they’d like you to do that would make their life easier. You could even make a schedule for yourself to make sure you get them done.
Receiving gifts is almost always perceived as an act of love, but for some people receiving gifts is the primary way through which they feel loved. Depending on the person’s specific preferences, gifts don’t necessarily have to be bought. They could be sentimental like a hand-picked bouquet, a handwritten letter, or a ticket saved from your first date. The person who loves this language thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. In short, actions speak louder than words.
Quality time means giving someone your undivided attention by putting away your phone and distractions and truly being with that person, whether that is having a conversation or going out and doing something together. It is about sharing something meaningful together, listening, and communicating. Examples can include preparing dinner together and talking while preparing and eating it, sharing plans for the future, or creating something together.
Physical touch is not just about sex. It can come in many forms like holding hands, massaging, and snuggling. For some, physical touch is an important expression of love. Be intentional about finding ways to express your love using physical touch, such as giving hugs or touching their arm or hand during a conversation. Of course, physical touch should only be given to someone with their with clear consent.
Words of Affirmation: Your tacos are delicious.
Acts of Service: I made you tacos.
Receiving Gifts: Here’s a taco.
Quality Time: Let’s go out for tacos together.
Physical Touch: Let me hold you like a taco.
Written by: Mandy Douthit