Gary Chapman, a relationship counsellor, coined the term “love languages” in his 1992 book The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. Since then, many people have used love languages to help them learn how to best express and receive love, resulting in improved communication and relationships with loved ones. Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch are the five love languages. Knowing your love language is essential in any type of relationship, but it doesn’t end there! To make the most of this information, you must also understand your loved one’s love language so that you can express your affection and appreciation in a way that they will understand.
Giving Gifts to Your Loved Ones
1. Give a gift that demonstrates that you thought about why your loved one would like it. For people whose primary love language is Receiving Gifts, the meaning of the gift is just as important as the gift itself. To give them the best gift possible, consider their interests, hobbies, what they have, and what they require.
For example, if your partner enjoys cooking and has recently mentioned that they require a specific appliance or tool, that could be the ideal gift to give. It will demonstrate to them that you value their interests and are attentive to their needs.
Tip: The language of Receiving Gifts is not about materialism. The thought behind the gift is at least as important as the gift itself, so make it personal rather than lavish or expensive.
2. Make something meaningful to both you and the other person. Giving a gift does not require you to spend a lot of money on an expensive item. Making something for a loved one can be just as (if not more!) meaningful than purchasing something for them. Consider something special that you and your partner share, such as a hobby, an interest, or a memory, and then devise a way to transform it into a handmade gift that you can give to your partner.
You could make a scrapbook or photo album with pictures of you two together, a piece of jewellery, or an original drawing or painting of them.
3. If you’re unsure what to get, stick to classics that are sure to please. Some people are truly difficult to shop for! If you can’t think of anything to get this special person in your life, start with a few classics and then personalise it for them. Buy them their favourite flowers and a bottle of their favourite wine, a book you think they’ll enjoy, some foods they like (you can almost never go wrong with chocolate! ), a piece of clothing or jewellery that they’d look good in.
When in doubt, go with something practical that you know they’ll use for a long time. A nice coffee mug, for example, may not appear to be the most exciting or unique gift, but your significant other will get a lot of use out of it, which will bring them more happiness in the long run.
4. Choose experiential gifts that you can all enjoy together. Researchers discovered that gifts that people can experience, rather than material objects, bring them the most joy. Even better, an experiential gift is something you and your partner can do together, which is a great way to bond as a couple. Consider enrolling your loved one in a class, purchasing tickets to a show, or obtaining a membership at a local club, museum, or gym.
Look for activities you can do together that reflect your common interests. For example, if you and your partner enjoy travelling, you could purchase tickets for a weekend getaway for two!
5. Spend some time wrapping or preparing whatever you’re giving. The manner in which a gift is presented conveys a great deal. You don’t want to get something for them and then hand it over in a plastic bag. Choose some nice wrapping paper or a lovely gift box or bag, and include a personal note from you to them.
According to research, people respond more positively to gifts that are nicely wrapped. Furthermore, taking the time to make the gift look nice demonstrates that you care enough to put in some effort!
6. Give the gift to the recipient at the right time or in an unusual way. Now that you’ve found the perfect gift and properly wrapped it, you should consider the best way and time to present it. Each moment and method should be unique. Consider the traditional engagement ring-in-a-glass-of-champagne proposal.
You could hide a gift and have your loved one go on a scavenger hunt to find it, with clues along the way or at significant points in your relationship.
Choose a time when you are relaxed and happy and will not be interrupted. That way, you can savour the moment while also getting more joy from acts of giving and receiving.
7. Keep track of special occasions so that you can give appropriate gifts on time. People who value receiving gifts are often disappointed when their loved ones overlook special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. Keep track of meaningful dates and start looking for gifts early so you don’t leave your partner hanging on the big day.
Use a planner or set reminders on your phone if you have trouble remembering important dates. Set up alerts a few days ahead of time so you can start looking!
8. Surprising them with “just because” gifts is a great way to show your appreciation. If your loved one’s love language is Receiving Gifts, surprising them with a special gift out of the blue is a great way to show them how much you care. When you’re out and about, look for small things that remind you of them, such as a shirt with their favourite quote on it or a snack they enjoy. When you see them again, hand them the item and say, “Hey, I saw this today and it reminded me of you!” Formalized paraphrase
You can also leave small gifts for them to discover, such as a love note tucked under their pillow or a special treat packed with their lunch.
Spending Quality Time Together
1. Participate in an activity that they enjoy. One of the best ways to show a loved one how much you care is to participate in something they enjoy so that you can share an experience with them. If they enjoy cooking, go shopping for ingredients, prepare a meal, and then eat together; if they enjoy nature, go for an afternoon hike or to a botanical garden; or if they enjoy a band or singer, get tickets for you both to attend a concert.
If you’re unsure what your partner wants to do, simply ask! It’s great to surprise them with an outing or activity, but it’s also important to demonstrate that you value their input when planning time together.
2. Make a special occasion just for the two of you. While it is wonderful to spend time with friends, family, and children (if you have them), it is critical for any couple to spend time together alone. Make time for just the two of you with your significant other, and look for ways to make it special. Plan a night at the theatre, a drink at your favourite pub, or a romantic lunch date.
Hire a babysitter or ask a friend or relative to watch your children for a few hours if you have any.
Dressing up can make any occasion feel more special for both of you. Put on some nice clothes, style your hair, and apply makeup if desired.
3. Take a day off and do nothing with your friends. Sometimes the best time to spend with someone is when you have nothing to do. Choose a day when both of you will be available, cancel all other plans, and do nothing. You could eat lunch in a park, get a coffee and talk for a few hours, or just stay at home and watch TV on the couch all afternoon.
Make time to talk about what you’re watching with your partner if you’re watching something together. That way, they’ll feel like you’re spending time with them rather than just watching TV!
4. Experiment with something new with your loved one. Trying something new and stepping outside of your comfort zone is a great way to bond with your SO and breathe new life into your relationship. Try a new restaurant together, take a road trip to a new location, or try a new sport or hobby together, such as rock climbing or painting.
Trying something new is often exciting and enjoyable, and when you share that excitement with a partner, you will both come to associate those good feelings with the relationship and with each other!
5. Every day, set aside at least 20 minutes for one-on-one time. When you’re busy with work, school, and family, it can be difficult to find time to spend with your partner, let alone go on dates or go on adventures. Even if you’re extremely busy, try to set aside at least 20 minutes each day to really focus on each other.
For example, you and your partner could agree to have a 20-minute conversation before going to bed every night.
Avoid discussing things that are stressful or routine, such as bills, chores, and work deadlines. Instead, concentrate on having a pleasant and relaxing conversation. For example, you could discuss a movie you saw together, a book one of you is reading, or a memory you both cherish.
6. When you’re together, give them your undivided attention. Feeling “alone together” can be extremely difficult for people who value quality time. When spending one-on-one time with your partner, make eye contact, engage with them, and actively listen to what they have to say.
While you’re together, don’t keep checking your phone or staring at the TV. Put your phone away, turn off the TV (unless you’re watching something together), and try not to interrupt them while they’re talking to you.
Affirming Your Love with Words
1. Tell them how much you adore them. Simply saying “I love you” is one of the best ways to express your feelings for someone. If your love language is Words of Affirmation, they will appreciate it even more if you explain why you love them. Formalized paraphrase Say something nice to your loved one whenever you find yourself thinking it!
For example, you could say something like, “I adore you.” You’re so wise, funny, and kind!”
2. Write a letter to a loved one in which you express your appreciation for them. Gratitude is an important component of a healthy relationship. People whose love language is Words of Affirmation will be especially delighted to hear how much you value them! Make a list of things you appreciate about your partner and incorporate them into a letter. Leave it somewhere for them to find it, or give it to them during a special occasion when you’re both present.
Thank them not only for what they do, but also for who they are as a person. For example, you could say, “I’m so grateful for all of your help and encouragement over the past few years in graduate school.” I admire your gentleness and wisdom.”
If you feel moved to express your gratitude to the rest of the world, share a photo of you and the other person on social media with a heartfelt caption.
3. Send them love notes as a surprise. Sticky notes with kind words written on them should be hidden in places where the other person will find them. You could also tuck a love letter into their lunch bag or leave a note on their pillow for them to find before going to bed. Finding a sweet surprise like this will make someone’s day who values words of affirmation!
You could, for example, stick a sticky note on the bathroom mirror that says, “You’re gorgeous!” Or, if they’re about to take a difficult exam, write in their textbook, “You’ve got this, I believe in you!”
4. Compliments should be written on slips of paper and placed in a compliment jar. Cut a few pieces of paper into many small strips. At the very least, you should aim for 50. Write a small note on each one about something you appreciate about the other person, such as “You always brighten my day,” or “I appreciate how kind you are.” Fill the jar, wrap it, and give it to the person, telling them to take out one of the slips of paper and read it whenever they are feeling down or want to feel loved.
If you’re feeling crafty, you can decorate the jar to make it into a lovely art project that your loved one will treasure even more!
5. In both good and bad times, offer words of encouragement. It is critical to let your loved one know that you are there for them when things are difficult. When things are going well for them, it’s equally important to be their cheerleader. Tell them that you will always be there for them.
For instance, if they are going through a difficult time, say something like, “I know you’re struggling right now, but I want you to know I believe in you.” I’m always available if you need me.”
If they achieve success, say something like, “I’m so proud of you, babe!” You’re incredible!”
6. Use of insults or hurtful criticism should be avoided. Harsh words can be especially hurtful for people whose love language is Words of Affirmation. Always be mindful of how you communicate with your loved one. If you disagree, try to frame your criticisms in a constructive, non-judgmental manner.
Avoid character assassinations and broad generalisations such as “You always…” or “You never…”
Practice using I-language to express yourself so that you can take responsibility for your own feelings without blaming your partner. For example, you could say, “I’m frustrated every day when I come home and the dishes are in the sink.” It would be extremely helpful if you could load the dishwasher more frequently.”
Doing Acts of Service
1. Inquire if your loved one requires assistance with anything. Asking for help can be difficult for many people, so simply asking someone if there is anything you can do to make their life a little easier is a great way to show that you care. Make it a habit to ask them if there is anything you can do for them at least once a day.
Say something like, “Hey, I know you’re really busy right now. Is there anything else I can do to help?”
Whatever they request, be prepared to do it, whether it’s taking out the trash, assisting them with errands, or assisting them with the dishes!
2. Make a “coupon book.” These coupons are typically good for a variety of tasks that they may not want to do on a regular basis, such as taking out the trash, doing a load of laundry, or cleaning dishes. If you want, you can tweak it a little to make the coupons personalised for the person you’re giving them to. Allow them to use their coupon whenever they need a little extra help!
You could, for example, create coupons that say things like “Good for 1 load of laundry.” You can draw your own or look for a printable template online.
3. Perform any small tasks or favours that they ask of you. Your acts of service do not have to be grandiose, such as building a house or repairing a car. Instead, you can do the minor tasks that they require, such as turning off the lights in a room, cleaning up after a meal, or carrying a bag of groceries. It may appear insignificant to you, but a person whose love language is Acts of Service will find these tasks extremely meaningful.
Doing a lot of small favours in a day or over time can add up to say something big: you appreciate the other person and want to make their life easier and better.
Make it a habit to surprise your loved one by doing small tasks for them without waiting for them to ask. These small random acts of kindness will mean everything to someone whose love language is Acts of Service!
4. Pay attention to their requirements. While it may not appear to be much, paying attention is one of the most important ways to be of service to someone. Listen to what they say and make mental notes about what is going on in their lives. This will assist you in determining how best to assist them in the future. Being attentive to your loved one and aware of their needs is a cornerstone of any healthy relationship.
For instance, if you notice your friend complaining about not having enough time to complete all of their errands in a day, you could offer to do one of their errands for them.
Showing Love Through Touch
1. During regular interactions, look for opportunities to touch your partner. Find excuses to touch your loved one as you go about your daily routine when you’re with them. For example, you could reach out to brush their hair away from their face, place your hand on their arm to emphasise a point while you’re talking, or squeeze their shoulder while pouring them a drink. It may not appear to be much, but these small gestures are a wonderful way to express your love in everyday situations.
Holding hands while walking or sitting together is a simple, traditional expression of affection.
Lean in so that your shoulders touch when sitting side by side, or briefly rest your head on their shoulder.
2. At least once a day, give them a long hug. Taking the time to give your partner or loved one a hug on a daily basis can strengthen your relationship, especially if their love language is Physical Touch. When you first wake up in the morning or when they return home at the end of the day, greet them with a big hug.
Another great way to strengthen your physical bond with your partner is to give them a long-lasting kiss—at least 6 seconds.
3. When they are tense, give them a backrub. Backrubs and other forms of massage are wonderful ways to express affection while also relieving your loved one’s physical and emotional stress. If they appear stressed or their muscles achy, approach them and offer to help them work out their neck and shoulders, or ask if they want to lie down for a more intense back massage.
You can even make an event out of it on occasion. Use scented candles and massage oils to give them a romantic and intimate massage.
4. Inquire about how they prefer to be touched. Even if Physical Touch is your sweetheart’s love language, not everyone enjoys being touched in the same way. Communicate with them to determine what types of touches they prefer or dislike. This will make your intimate contact more enjoyable for them while also demonstrating that you are concerned with their needs and preferences.
For instance, you could ask, “Do you like it when I caress you like this?” or “Is this okay?”
5. Make time to be intimate in the bedroom if you and your partner are both comfortable with it. Physical Touch is not solely about sex, but it is an important part of many relationships. If sex is important to you and your sweetheart, make time for it, even if you’re both very busy.
While scheduling sex may not appear to be the most romantic thing in the world, making time for intimacy can be extremely beneficial to your relationship. It helps to instil a sense of significance and priority in those special moments with your partner.
Set aside a time that is convenient for both of you, when you will not be rushed or interrupted. For example, you could make a date with your significant other every Friday evening after work.
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