5 Ways To Love Your Partner In Their Love Language (Not Your Own)
Most of us want to be loved, treasured and appreciated. Most of us wish to express these same feelings toward our partners. To successfully communicate our love we need to express it in the way our partners will understand. It is as though we have to learn the language of our partner. When we learn our partner’s love language we will have the key to successfully communicating our love. You can learn how to love your partner by learning the 5 Love Languages.
What are the 5 Love Languages?
Dr. Gary Chapman noticed a recurring theme when counseling couples. One partner would say they didn’t feel loved and the other partner would respond that they were trying their best to express love they felt. Dr. Chapman recognized a pattern in the way people expressed and received love. He developed the concept of The 5 Love Languages.
The 5 different types of love languages are:
- Words of Affirmation
- Physical Touch
- Acts of Service
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
Love Your Partner In Their Love Language
Words of Affirmation can be explained as making statements to your partner that affirm and praise him, such as, “You are the best partner,” or “I love being with you.” Show love to your partner with encouraging and kind words, such as,” I really see how hard you are working on that project,” “I love you,” “You are so patient,” or “I really appreciate how much you help me.” If your partner’s love language is words of affirmation, you can be creative in the use of positive words, for example, put post-it notes in their lunch or on their pillow with positive and loving words to your partner.
Physical Touch is a fundamental need that expresses love to most people. Our bodies are sensitive to touch and your partner may enjoy touch through hugs, cuddling, snuggling, holding hands, and/or sexual intimacy. Not all touch needs to be sexual in nature. If your partner enjoys physical touch you can discover what they enjoy through questions or observation. For example, some people really enjoy having their feet rubbed and massaged and others cringe at the idea. Perhaps your partner enjoys a gently caressed that causes chills while others prefer a firmer back rub.
Acts of Service is when you show your partner you love them by helping them. Household chores, running errands, taking care of children, putting gas in the car are examples of acts of service. If this is your partner’s love language, it benefits you both to be alert for ways to make their life easier.
Receiving Gifts is as simple as buying your partner something they might like, need or enjoy. The gift should be meaningful to your partner, whether it is expensive jewelry, or a cute item from the dollar store. Once again, it benefits you to be alert to the wants of your partner. Some people like surprise gifts. Usually the cost of the item is less of a criterion than the important idea is that you paid attention to what the partner has indicated they like and bought it for them.
Quality Time is designated time spent with your partner doing what they like and enjoy. A couple who are having quality time focus on each other rather than allowing distractions, such as work or cell phone use to come between you. If the love language of your partner is quality time, plans to spend time together are important. If you are unsure what quality time means to your partner, you can ask your partner questions such as, “how would you like to spend time together?”, or “What activities are most meaningful to you?”
Can You Have More Than One Love Language?
You may find that you score highest in two categories and low scores in the others. Some people find that only one category is high. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to which area(s) you rank the highest. It’s more important that you realize that you feel more loved when your partner expresses love in that area. Since you want to love your partner, the knowledge of their preferred love language(s) can help you better understand how to express your love in a way that your partner feels it. If your partner has two top love languages, you have more options on ways to demonstrate your care.
Do Love Languages Change?
Love languages do not change over time, but they may change as circumstances change. For example, if your partner’s love language is quality time, after giving birth, your love language might change to acts of service. Another example of a change in circumstances is when someone loses a job. Their love language may change to words of affirmation instead of the love language that might have been preferred before diminished income. No matter what your partner needs, look for opportunities to love your partner in the way they need at that particular moment. Avoid becoming rigid about the highest ranking love language. The priority is how you can help your partner feel cared for in the present circumstances.
The 5 ways to love your partner and express your caring can help you be more attentive to your partner. Discover if your partner’s love language is words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, receiving gifts, and/or quality time. You will feel closer and more connected by knowing and understanding your partner’s love language.
Additional reading to support your relationship as you explore options for couples therapy and healing:
Lisa Rabinowitz, LCPC is a licensed counselor in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Vermont and Florida. She also works with international couples and expats. With her support, you can learn how to reduce stress and conflict in your relationship through an intensive marriage retreat or couples counseling. Reach out to Lisa for a 20-minute free private consultation today.