Each of us has a unique way of expressing and receiving love, known as our love language. This special language informs how we communicate our love and appreciation for one another. 1
Expressing love in your partner’s love language is the cornerstone of any successful relationship. In this article, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide to help you discover your partner’s love language and how to speak it. 2
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Why understanding love languages in relationships is key
Before you can begin speaking your partner’s love language, it’s important to understand why this concept is so powerful. All relationships are made up of individuals with different backgrounds, personalities, and communication styles. 3
That means that the way each person expresses or receives love could be completely different from the other. These differences can lead to misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and even resentment in a relationship if not addressed.
Gary Chapman, the renowned relationship expert and author of The 5 Love Languages, explains that people have “love tanks” that need to be filled with love to thrive. The five love languages are: 1
- Words of affirmation: This is all about verbal compliments and expressions of appreciation.
- Acts of service: This language is about actions, such as cooking dinner, taking out the trash, running errands, and doing household chores.
- Receiving gifts: Receiving meaningful gifts and tokens of love is important to people who speak this language.
- Quality time: Spending quality, uninterrupted time with your partner is vital for these individuals.
- Physical touch: Being hugged, held, and touched are all essential components of this love language.
While there are only five love languages, people often develop a second or third language depending on their personalities and needs. For example, someone might feel most loved when their partner offers words of affirmation and quality time. 4
Expressing love in your partner’s primary and secondary love languages is essential for any healthy relationship. Learning these languages and speaking them often can help strengthen your bond with your partner and show them how much you care.
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15 ways to express love in your partner’s love language
Speaking your partner’s love language is vital to a healthy relationship. Here are ten ways you can express love in your partner’s primary and secondary love languages:
1. Compliment and praise your partner regularly
If your partner’s love language is words of affirmation, expressing verbal compliments and appreciation can make a huge difference. Make sure you reframe your compliments in a genuine and heartfelt way. 5
For example, instead of saying, “You look great today,” you can say, “I love how the color of your sweater brings out your eyes.” You could also express how much you appreciate your partner’s kindness or intelligence to show them how special they are.
2. Take on tasks or chores your partner dislikes
If your partner’s love language is acts of service, taking on tasks or chores they usually dread can show them how much you care. This could be anything from vacuuming the floors to cooking a special meal.
You could also do something nice for your partner without being asked, such as folding their laundry, refilling the ice trays, or cleaning the car. Showing your partner that you’re willing to go above and beyond for them can be a powerful way to express love in their language.
3. Thoughtfully select gifts that hold sentimental value
Giving gifts doesn’t just mean buying something expensive or extravagant. If your partner’s love language is receiving gifts, then thoughtfully selecting gifts with sentimental value can be incredibly meaningful. 6
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For example, you could buy your partner a book they’ve wanted or an item related to a hobby they love. You could also surprise them with something small but meaningful, like a card expressing your love and appreciation or a framed photo of the two of you together.
4. Dedicate uninterrupted time for one-on-one conversations
When expressing love in the language of quality time, dedicating quality, uninterrupted time for one-on-one conversations or activities is key. This could be anything from going on a picnic under the stars to having a deep conversation about life.
Remove distractions such as phones, laptops, and even pets to ensure your partner feels loved and appreciated. Whatever you do together, create a space where both of you can connect without judgment or interruption. 7
5. Offer affectionate gestures like hugs, kisses, and cuddles
Touch is a crucial way to express love when your partner’s love language is physical touch. Affectionate gestures such as hugs, kisses, hand-holding, and cuddling can make a huge difference.
You could also offer massages or back rubs to help your partner relax and feel supported. Offering these gestures in the morning, throughout the day, and at night can be a powerful way to show your partner that you care. 8
6. Say words of encouragement and support during challenging times
When your partner is going through a difficult time, offering encouragement and support can make a huge difference. This could be anything from “I’m here for you no matter what” to “I believe in you, even when it’s hard.”
If your partner’s love language is words of affirmation, making sure they feel heard and supported during tough times can greatly impact your relationship. Doing your best to take a non-judgmental stance and offering kind words of encouragement can help your partner feel loved and appreciated.
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7. Offer help without being asked, anticipating their needs
One way to express love in acts of service is to offer help without being asked. Anticipating your partner’s needs and offering to take on tasks or chores they don’t like can show them that you care.
For example, if your partner usually takes out the garbage every Tuesday night, you could surprise them by taking it out on Monday and freeing them up for something else. Showing your partner that you’re willing to go above and beyond for them can be a powerful way to show your love.
8. Celebrate milestones with meaningful presents
Celebrating milestones with meaningful presents can be a powerful way to express love in the language of receiving gifts. This could be anything from getting your partner a special present on their birthday or something related to a new job they’ve just acquired. 9
Whatever it is, take the time to select something thoughtful that you know will make them smile. Even something small like a card expressing your love and appreciation can show your partner how much you care.
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9. Plan regular date nights or outings tailored to their interests
If your partner’s love language is quality time, planning regular date nights or outings tailored to their interests can be a great way to show your love. The simple act of planning an evening out together can make a huge difference in your relationship. 10
You could plan something as simple as dinner or getting tickets to a show they love. Or, you could plan a romantic picnic by the beach or a day trip to their favorite spot.
10. Hold hands or engage in physical touch during conversations
Affectionate gestures such as hand-holding or hugs can be a great way to express love in the language of physical touch. This could be anything from holding hands while walking together or engaging in physical touch during conversations.
You could also offer gentle strokes or caresses to help your partner relax and feel supported. Try to do this throughout the day, not just at night. Showing your partner that you’re willing to make physical contact, even in public, can be a powerful way to express love.
By taking the time to understand and practice each of these ways to express love in your partner’s love language, you can make sure they feel appreciated, supported, and truly loved. Of course, love comes in many forms, so don’t be afraid to mix things up and try new ways of expressing your feelings.
After all, some creative expression can go a long way in building strong relationships. Discover other communication tips to help you maintain a strong connection with those you love.
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Harasymchuk, C., Walker, D. L., Muise, A., & Impett, E. A. (2021). Planning date nights that promote closeness: The roles of relationship goals and self-expansion. Journal of social and personal relationships, 38(5), 1692–1709. ↩︎