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Exploring Love Languages for a Deeper Connection

Many people are familiar with the idea of “love languages.” This is something that Gary Chapman wrote about in his book The Five Love Languages, and it’s something that many couples’ therapists regularly discuss with clients.

Finding your love language can help to expand your relationship and take your marriage, romantic life, or dating relationship to another level. Let’s dive into what these love languages are, and some practical ideas for how to connect with your partner’s love languages.

Ready to strengthen your relationship? Take the next step towards deeper connection.

5 Love Languages

Words of Affirmation

Communication and words are the focus this love language. This might look like using encouraging words, being honest and loving in your communication, and saying things to make your partner feel good (things that you mean, of course!).

Ways words of affirmation can be used in everyday: sending an unexpected note, back and forth text messages throughout the day, compliments, bragging to others about your spouse, and leaving letters for the other partner.

Things to say:

  • “You did a great job with the kids today”
  • “You always make the best meals”
  • “You looked great today.”

Clues that this is your partner’s love language:

A partner looking for validation, approval or compliments is most often communicating their need for words of affirmation (i.e. Does this outfit look okay? How do you like the food?).

Quality Time

If you have this love language, you value one-on-one time and attention. This looks like turning off your phones, removing distractions, and engaging in meaningful time together.

Date ideas: A picnic, an evening stroll, cooking a meal together, watching a movie together, a drive just the two of you, or even an overnight or weekend getaway. Remember that the time spent is more important than the cost of the activity (i.e. doing a target run together might end up being more meaningful than an expensive gift). Quick tip: if this is your partner’s love language, then the act of YOU planning the date night for them is important!

Things to say:

  • “Let’s do that together.”
  • “Want to come with me?”

Clues that this is your partner’s love language:

They might invite you to do an activity or make suggestions of things to do together (although keep in mind that quality time is needed in any relationship). Come watch a movie with me, come take a walk with me, sit down and talk with me or let’s cook dinner tonight. A partner will communicate their need for quality time often time by asking for more attention and or seeking to be in their partners space more often than desiring to be alone.

Physical Touch

No, we don’t just mean sex. Most often people who feel loved in this way need to be touched often throughout the day. To them, non-verbal body language is comforting and shows that you are present.

Ways physical touch can be used throughout the day: giving partner a massage, cuddling up on the couch and watching a movie, kisses, unexpected hugs, holding hands while in the car or taking a walk, or just being physically close.

Things to say:

  • “Come sit next to me.”
  • “Do you need a hug?”
  • “I love being close to you.”

Clues that this is your partner’s love language:

This one is probably easy to identify—your partner enjoys being close to you and often wants to hold hands or needs to be touched or held when they are sad or upset. Physical touch love language is one that seeks to have touch as a primary connection.

Acts of Service

This means doing kind or helpful things for your partner. Someone with this love language often feels the desire to help ease the load from their partner. However keep in mind that their biggest pet peeve is probably lack of follow-through.

Loving a partner with this love language may look like: Doing a project together, making them breakfast, surprising your partner with a clean house, setting goals together, giving them the opportunity to get some self-care, or going out of your way to help with something they’re dreading (like taking the car in to get its oil changed).

Things to say:

  • “Is there anything you need help with right now?”
  • “How can I lighten your load?”
  • “Let me do that for you.”

Clues that this is your partner’s love language:

They might be asking for help with various things or talking about the need for breaks and feeling burnt out.

Receiving Gifts

If your love language is receiving gifts, it makes you feel loved to know that your partner thought of you and purchased or made it with you in mind. The key to this is thoughtfulness. For example, my mother-in-law once heard me make a comment about a favorite Christmas album and the following year she got me the record—I was floored that she remembered what I had said a whole year later.

Loving a partner with this love language might look like: a thoughtful present, making birthdays or anniversaries special, surprise “just because” gifts, or even a favorite snack from the store. Remember, the love a person feels comes from the thoughtfulness of the gift not simply the gift or monetary value. Keep in mind that one of the worst things you could probably do is forget a special occasion or seem unenthusiastic about a gift.

Things to say:

  • “This made me think of you.”
  • “I remembered you said how much you love [insert thing here].”

Clues that this is your partner’s love language:

There are several ways one can communicate their love language is receiving gifts. They give gifts, they speak about how important some gift they received was to them, the reminisce about a gift and what it meant to them, and they will say things like I just love when you get me my favorite candy or flowers just because it makes me feel loved.  

Hot tip: Not only do love languages apply to couples or romantic relationships, but it also applies to parent/child relationships and your relationship with yourself. Gary Chapman has books about those relationships and how to recognize love languages within those relationships as well.

Ready to strengthen your relationship? Take the next step towards deeper connection.

About the author

Letisha Harris Miller headshot

Letisha Harris Miller, MS

Community Based Mental Health Practitioner

Letisha Harris Miller is a mental health practitioner with a passion for helping others see their full potential and value even with challenges they have face. She has experience with family, individual and play therapy. She has a compassionate and understanding heart and a love for all types of people that makes her a joy to work… Read more