Have you ever wished your partner realized how happy a clean kitchen makes you? Have you ever been disappointingly met with a simple nod after searching for weeks for the perfect gift? Perhaps your partner doesn’t respond to your gestures the way you’d like. Or maybe they aren’t doing things that make you feel valued. If that’s the case, you might be speaking two different love languages.
Love is love, though, right? Yes, but we don’t all show it the same way. In fact, there are five main categories — those love languages — for how we express our love for each other. If you speak one and your partner communicates in another, it can be frustrating. Knowing how each of you demonstrates love and appreciation can help you build the strongest relationship possible.
Keep reading to better understand love languages. They can help each of you feel consistently valued.
1. Concentrate on Physical Touch
Reese Witherspoon was right in “Sweet Home Alabama.” One big relationship perk is being able to kiss your partner whenever you want. It’s a fun, enjoyable part of being in a relationship. For some people, though, it’s vital. Without frequent physical contact, they can feel disconnected from their partner.
Having physical touch as your love language doesn’t mean you’re constantly wanting to make out. Hugs, holding hands while walking down the street, or an occasional back scratch does the trick. If you need physical contact, let your partner know even a peck on the cheek can brighten your day.
That said, being physically intimate with your partner does come with some risks. Pregnancy is one of them. To enjoy being physical without assuming parental responsibilities, you’ll need protection. Consider getting a birth control subscription to express love this way without worries.
2. Give a Gift
For birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays, you’re probably already thinking about a gift for your partner. That can be enough for some people. When your partner’s love language is gift-giving, though, waiting for special days isn’t enough. To them, only receiving a gift for big occasions is like getting a hug a few times a year. When you think about it that way, it’s easier to understand.
Before you start sweating about spending gobs of money, relax. That’s not what the gift-giving love language is about. In this case, the gift is more of a symbol. It represents the time you spend thinking about your partner.
Do they love a photo from your last trip away? Put it in a frame, so they can display it. Maybe they collect key chains and you saw a neat one during a business trip. You could even sneak their favorite treat into their lunch on a random workday. Gifts don’t have to be big. They just need to tell your partner they’re on your mind.
3. Use Your Words
Of course, your partner must know you love them. After all, you’re kind, giving, and you kill the bugs that freak them out. Are you 100% sure, though, that they really know? If you have a partner that needs to hear you say it, they may not be confident in your feelings. In this case, your partner’s love language is literally words — words of affirmation.
For some people, it’s important that you tell them how you feel. When you say kind words, they feel loved and more secure. It boosts their confidence in your relationship. So, pay close attention. Has your partner been asking you how you feel lately or whether they’re important to you? If so, you may need to put your feelings into words and spell it out. Tell them exactly how you feel and how much you appreciate them.
4. Dedicate Time to Being Together
Even when you’re in a relationship, you don’t spend every waking moment together. Everyone has other responsibilities — school, jobs, and different obligations. Still, for someone whose love language is quality time, finding a way to devote hours to each other is important. They feel valued and loved when you dedicate time to them.
The good news is there are lots of ways to speak this type of love language. You don’t have to plan a huge, expensive evening out. Sitting and talking over coffee can fill your partner’s heart with happiness. If you enjoy accomplishing something when you spend time together, consider tackling a project around your home. You may be working, but it’s time together well spent.
5. Take on the “Honey-Dos”
After reminding yourself to get gas before work, have you hopped in the car to find a full tank? Does your partner always take care of the dishes after dinner? If they look for ways to take something off your to-do list, they show love through service. It’s a way of showing you just want to make your partner’s life easier.
Taking care of chores — those “honey-dos” — is a way to show you value your partner’s time and energy. It can be a joy just to see the relief on their face. That’s why it can also be disappointing if service isn’t reciprocated. Folding a load of laundry here or unloading the dishwasher there can go a long way.
One of the keys to any relationship is being able to make your partner feel loved. That can be difficult sometimes when you aren’t sure what matters most to them. When you slow down and pay attention, though, clues will pop up. If you know the love languages, those hints can help you figure out how to make your partner’s heart sing.