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Understanding Love Languages

No matter the Challenge

The Sun will rise.
  • August 2023
  • /
  • Abigail Kalainikas

Understanding your love languages and attuning to your partner's.

Have you ever found yourself in a position where someone is telling you that they sometimes don’t feel entirely cared for or nurtured? You might find yourself ready to rattle off the list of things you do to show you care: “I do your laundry for you, I cooked you dinner over the weekend, I went to go get your oil changed last week! What do you mean I don’t show you I care?” Though it’s easy to jump to the defense in this situation, it’s possible that you and your partner simply communicate love and affection in different ways. Maybe for you acts of service are the way you perceive and receive love, but for your partner it’s gifts. Which is maybe why it doesn’t feel as meaningful when they shower you with small tokens throughout the week.

Love languages is a concept many may be somewhat familiar with. It’s becoming more common for people to recognize that we communicate and receive love in different ways. Love languages play a strong role in deepening emotional connection and close relationships. Here we will chat a bit about what love languages actually are, how we apply them, and how we can attend to our partner’s love language. Take a look at our resource page to find a link to the love languages quiz if you’d like to learn more about your own!

"Once you understand your own love language, it’s important to then understand your partner’s. Open communication is key throughout this process. "

What Are Love Lanaugages?

Understanding love languages can help to deepen and transform the emotional bond within a relationship. When you are able to understand your partner, family member’s, or friend’s love language, you understand how to convey your affection and appreciation in a way that they can willingly receive it. This can encourage greater emotional fulfillment, fewer misunderstandings, and improved communication. Dr. Gary Chapman is the man behind much of the research of love languages. He acknowledges that people perceive and express love in through five primary languages:

Words Of Affirmation:
If you tend to thrive on verbal expressions of love, praise, affection, encouragement and appreciation, there’s a chance that words of affirmation is your primary love language.

Acts of Service:
People who receive or perceive love through acts of service may find that they also believe actions speak louder than words. Acts of service includes doing small gestures for those you love: think of someone making you a cup of warm tea after a long day, warming a blanket in the dryer because they know it might be comforting, or even doing the dishes so you don’t have to worry about it.

Receiving Gifts:
Thoughtful gifts are important to those whose primary love language is gift giving/receiving. Small or big gifts, you may find you communicate love by going out of your way to provide someone with a concrete token of your affection or appreciation. It’s not about the gift itself, but the thoughtfulness and sentiment behind it.

Quality Time:
For many, love is communicated in the intentional quality time spent with another. Engaging in deep conversations, connected activities, and shared interests can help to strengthen relationships and emotional bonds.

Physical Touch:
Physical gestures, be it hugging, hand-holding, or cuddling is an important way to communicate love for those who connect most through physical touch.

Attending To Your Partner’s Love Language

Once you understand your own love language, it’s important to then understand your partner’s. Open communication is key throughout this process. Spend time with your partner and ask them questions about how they feel most fulfilled and loved. You can even have them complete the quiz located on our resources page! Remember, too, that though we might be able to identify a “primary” love language, they might find fulfillment and importance in many of the languages. Try to be open, utilize your active listening skills, observe your partner to see what they respond to most, and most importantly– be open to feedback.

In understanding your partner’s love language, you have an opportunity to nurture your partner in their own language. If their love language differs from yours, it might take some time and effort for it to start to feel more natural. Consistency is key, and remaining intentional and consistent in your communication of love will help it become second nature. Check out some tips for communicating with someone in their own language:

Words of Affirmation:

Regularly express your feelings towards the other person. Be intentional about verbally communicating your love, appreciation, and admiration. Use affirming words to validate your partner and what they mean to you. Get creative! Maybe leave a few sticky notes around the house telling them what you love about them.

Acts of Service:
Be intentional and thoughtful about completing tasks that are likely to make your partner’s life easier. Cook them dinner one night, do the dishes before they get to it, run a bath for them after a long day. Knowing what is helpful to your partner is key to successfully engaging in acts of service.

Receiving Gifts:
Remember that it isn’t the gift itself that counts, but the sentiment and intention behind it. Gifts don’t have to be expensive or extravagant to have an impact, they only need to be thoughtful. Buy your partner their favorite candy on your way home from work, maybe you know they love daisies and decide to surprise them with some as a token of your affection.

Quality Time:
Intention, mindfulness and undivided attention is key for quality time. Spend time with your partner to really connect with them. Make time and limit distractions to engage in meaningful conversations and make lasting memories.

Physical Touch:
Physical touch as a love language varies from person to person. Ask your partner and explore with them what types of physical touch feel most fulfilling. Perhaps they enjoy holding your hand as you run errands, or they want to cuddle on the couch while watching movies together. A surprise hug as you’re passing by can go a long way for someone who values physical touch.