We all express and receive love in our own unique ways. What is effective for you may not be effective for your loved one, and vice versa. Don’t worry if you’re struggling to love someone the way they deserve to be loved. You’re not alone. Read on to find out how you can get to know your partner better and show them how much you care in a meaningful way.
This article is based on an interview with Sarah Schewitz, PsyD, clinical psychologist and founder of Couples Learn. Check out the entire interview here.
1. Communicate consistently.
Maintain open and honest communication with your loved one. Inquire about the type of love they require and what they would like to see from you in the future. It may be difficult to hear right now, but it will greatly improve your relationship. Ask questions like, “What do I do to make you feel loved?”
“How do you want me to express my feelings for you?”
“What can I do on a daily basis to make you feel more loved?”
2. Ask your partner how they want to feel.
Love may feel different for you and your partner. For example, you may enjoy being the centre of attention, whereas your partner prefers to remain in the background. Alternatively, you may prefer thrills and adrenaline rushes while your partner prefers a calm, quiet night in. Aim for the mood that your partner desires.
You could ask them, “How do you want to feel this weekend?” or, “What vibes do we want to send on your birthday?”
You can also inquire about how your partner’s family expresses love to get a sense of what they are used to. Say something like, “What did your parents do when you were a kid to make you feel loved?” If their family showed them love by praising them, try praising them more frequently.
3. Listen to the details they give you.
Believe them when they tell you what they require. Asking questions and communicating are important, but they won’t help you unless you’re actively listening and adapting your behaviour. Take it all in and listen carefully as you and your loved one discuss what they require.
It may even be beneficial to jot down what they are saying so that it is ingrained in your mind.
4. Tell your partner why you love them.
This is a love approach based on words of affirmation. Don’t be afraid to get specific when telling your partner why you love them or what you appreciate about them. If this is how your partner wants to be loved, they will most likely be moved or express how much they appreciated your words.
If you struggle to express yourself verbally, try writing them down or sending them via text instead. It is the actual content that is important!
5. Try giving your partner gifts.
Gift giving could be your partner’s love language. This is probably the best option if they appreciate it when you bring them a souvenir or grab them a snack from the grocery store. It is not the size or cost of the gift that is important; it is the thought that went into it.
Your partner may also appreciate homemade gifts or something that shows you were thinking about them even when they weren’t present.
6. Touch them more if they respond to affection.
Some people experience love through physical contact. If that’s your partner, they might enjoy a long hug after a long day, or they might enjoy holding hands in public. Make sure to touch your partner throughout the day, but avoid making every physical touch sexual.
You could also pat them on the arm, rub their back, or massage their feet.
7. Do things to help your partner out.
Acts of service can demonstrate your love for your partner. If your partner appreciates it when you clean the house or do the dishes, their love language is most likely acts of service. To make your partner feel loved, do more chores after they have had a difficult day.
You may also do things that your partner despises. For example, if they can’t stand doing the laundry but you don’t mind doing it, demonstrate your affection by taking over that chore.
8. Spend quality time with each other.
Many people place a high value on quality time. If your partner’s love language is quality time, make an effort to plan dates and spend time together just the two of you. Stay off your phone as much as possible and make an effort to connect with your partner while you’re together.
People frequently spend a lot of time with their partners, but it isn’t always quality time. Make an effort to connect with each other and talk about things other than chores, children, or responsibilities.
9. Express how you want to be loved.
It may help your partner understand what they require. If, for example, you appreciate it when your partner does a few chores or cleans up around the house, you can express your gratitude. The more you express how you feel, the more at ease they will be in telling you about their own needs.
Or perhaps you enjoy it when your partner is specific about why they love you. That means you’re likely to appreciate words of affirmation.
“I really like it when you give me a long hug or grab my hand in public,” you could say. It makes me feel as if you genuinely care about me, and it brings me closer to you.”
10. Get feedback from your partner.
Check in to see how you’re doing if you’re making an effort. Perhaps you could ask your partner once a week what you did well and what they still need from you. Try not to take any negative feedback personally; your partner is only trying to make you both happier.
You could say something like, “This week, I made a concerted effort to communicate my love with words.” “How are you feeling?”
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