Communication is a huge component of any and all relationships. The concept of the five love languages brought to the world the idea that we all have a personalized way of communicating. Those five communication styles (the love languages) are: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. Knowing your own love language, as well as your partners, will help to improve the ways you give and receive love.
Getting to know your love language(s) will bring you more self-awareness. Even if you know yourself pretty well, you might be surprised to learn what your love language is. You can take the quiz to find out how your love languages rank, here. Once you have that knowledge, here’s what each love language looks like:
Words of affirmation are the words that build you up (cue the SheFactor Instagram posts). Even simple phrases and compliments that give you confidence in yourself, your life, and your partnership, are words of affirmation at work. When your partner says, “You look beautiful today babe,” that’s affirmation. If words of affirmation are your love language, every “I love you” carries that much more weight. On the other hand, insults or negative phrases can be hard-hitting for you, and you aren’t going to forgive those comments easily.
If this is your love language, then actions speak louder than words to you! When your partner makes you breakfast or cleans up the house before you get home from work, those actions mean so much more than them saying, “I love you.” If your partner’s love language is acts of service, they want you to show that you love them with your actions, not tell them with your words. However, acts of service that are carried out with a sense of obligation or because of a feeling of guilt, won’t carry as much weight.
Throughout history, giving gifts has been a practically universal sign of love. However, there are some individuals who deeply rely on unexpected gifts to feel loved. In this case, receiving a gift on an ordinary day (not just a holiday) will make them feel over the moon in love. And these gifts don’t have to be expensive! The thoughtfulness of these gifts means much more than their price. Get inspired to give a handmade card, pick some wildflowers, or surprise your special someone with their favorite sweet treat.
Quality time equates to giving or getting from your partner their undivided attention. You aren’t just doing an activity or a date night with your partner, you’re completely focused on them--no multitasking and no distractions. Impress your partner by turning off the television, putting down your phone, and listening to how their day was. But if you cancel or postpone time together, that will be a big hit to your partner if this is their love language.
People who speak this love language feel connected to their partner through every physical touch--from a touch on the leg to holding hands. It doesn’t mean you have to commit to in-your-face PDA. Actually, more intimate, quieter displays of physical affection will be all the more meaningful.
Even without taking the quiz, you might be nodding your head and feeling a connection to one or more of these love languages. Many people have a primary and secondary love language that leads their relationship communication. It’s also important that you uncover your partner’s love language, to better understand them as a person and to also know the best way to connect with them. If you know your partner super well, you may be able to guess their love language. Otherwise, encourage them to take the quiz themselves--let them know that having that awareness will help you nourish their needs more deeply. Bonus points if you make it a date night activity and take it together!
Some couples have very similar love languages, but it’s totally normal to have contrasting communication styles as well. In that case, it’s important to learn to give and take as you both communicate with each other. Respect their approach, but also be honest about what you need from them in return. Mastering each other’s love language will help you both feel adored and appreciated. And even if you’re still in the early phases of your relationship, it’s important to have the conversation around what you need from each other. Maybe someone who needs Words of Affirmation won’t work for you because that’s not the way you roll… awareness and communication are everything, girl.