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Speaking of Love, Do You Know Your Partner's Language?

By Julie Senger

More than 25 years ago, Dr. Gary Chapman wrote a book entitled
The 5 Love Languages. In his book, he conveys that “the premise is simple:
different people with different personalities express love in different ways.”

According to Dr. Chapman, here are the 5 Love Languages, and “each individual has at least one language that they prefer above the other”:

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Acts of Service
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Quality Time
  5. Physical Touch

If you or your partner are unsure which “love language” you “speak,” there is a quiz at to help you discover the answer, so you can better communicate and fulfill each other’s needs.

Once you know each other’s language, here are some ideas for how you might “talk” to your partner in a way that makes him/her feel most loved and appreciated:

Words of Affirmation
Maybe your partner feels unseen when he/she drags into the house after putting in a hard day at the office. Perhaps your spouse feels that all the big and small things he/she does every day to keep the household running smoothly go completely unnoticed. If your loved one feels invisible, like the things he/she contributes that allow the two of you to live a more comfortable life don’t matter to you, resentment could build a high wall between you.

If your significant other’s love language is words of affirmation, try speaking up each day about the things you notice and appreciate.

“I really appreciate how hard you work, so we can have a nice home/take our dream vacation/provide the kids with everything they need. I don’t know what we’d do without you.”

“It’s so nice to come home to a yummy meal at the end of the day. You’re such a great cook.”

“All the careful eating and hard workouts you’ve been doing are really paying off. You look great and seem more energetic!”

If you are better at writing your words than speaking them, send your loved one a text or write a cute note. The great thing about written words of affirmation is many people will hang onto these messages and frequently look back at them to revisit the warm feelings that were elicited by your kind sentiments.

Acts of Service
Many have heard the saying “love is a verb,” and there is probably no truer statement ever uttered for a person who feels most loved when someone is performing a task for him/her.

If your partner is often overwhelmed by all the items on his/her “to-do” list, acts of service might include anything from completing one of the items on the list to help lighten the load or being one step ahead and completing a task that wasn’t even on the “to-do” list yet (e.g., taking the car for an oil change, scheduling dentist appointments for the kids, etc.).

There are also necessary things your loved one hates doing (e.g., taking out the trash, cutting up onions, walking the dog in below freezing temps, waking up to feed the baby at 3:00am). Brownie points abound if you do any of these things for your significant other.

Receiving Gifts
The misconception of those whose love language is receiving gifts is that they must be materialistic and require expensive items to be given to them to feel loved. In reality, this is not usually the case. The gifts need not be expensive nor cost anything at all.

If you’re getting yourself a cup of coffee, bring home a cup of your wife’s favorite seasonal latte or espresso without her asking. If you hear a song on the way to work that reminds you of your boyfriend, send him a link for a free download of it, so you can listen to it the next time the two of you are together. If you have a green thumb, bring your partner a bouquet of fresh cut flowers from your garden or a few vegetables to make a salad together to go with dinner. These are examples of inexpensive gifts that are really just small physical tokens to let someone know you were thinking of him/her.

Quality Time
In today’s busy world, time is one of the great commodities that is hard to put a price tag on, and once it is “spent,” you can never get it back. Perhaps that’s why a person whose love language is quality time feels most cherished when his/her significant other sets aside an hour, day, or week just to focus on him/her.

Quality time can include anything from having a date night to an overnight getaway or extended vacation. But when things are really crazy, it can be as simple as a 15-minute conversation to check in on each other to make sure everything is going OK.

Physical Touch
With so much communication happening electronically, and especially during a pandemic, many people go an entire day without so much as a fist bump. If your partner’s love language is physical touch, wrapping him/her up in a warm hug when he/she walks in the door may be exactly what is needed.

Other subtle, yet meaningful, ways to work in physical touch throughout the day might be holding hands in the car, a kiss on the cheek or a shoulder rub while your loved one is doing the dishes, or snuggling up on the sofa to watch your favorite show together. There are lots more ways to reassure your partner of your physical presence through touch, so be sure to “grab” every opportunity.