As a member of a Christian organization in college, “What’s your love language?” is a phrase I heard (and said) alll the time. It rolled off the tongue as easily as asking someone what state they were from. I’m a big believer in love languages and am totally enamored by the differences between people and how they love to be loved. Learning how to speak your partner’s love language can transform your relationship.
If you’ve never heard of love languages, they come from the theory that there are five ways that people speak and understand emotional love:
- Words of Affirmation
- Physical Touch
- Quality Time
- Acts of Service
Generally, everyone has a love language that represents the way that they feel love the strongest. For example, if your love language is words of affirmation, you feel more loved when your partner tells you they love you than when they show you they love you through a hug.
[If you don’t know your love language, take the quick quiz here to find out!]
For many years I thought my love language was Words of Affirmation. When I actually entered a relationship I realized I was totally wrong! I quickly found out that while I appreciate receiving compliments and hearing “sweet nothings,” the thing that makes me feel the most loved by my partner is spending quality time together.
It’s important to know your love language so you can communicate well with your partner, but it’s equally important to know your partner’s love language so that you know how you can best give them love.
I’ve put together a guide below on how you can speak your partner’s love language:
Words of Affirmation:
If your partner’s love language is words of affirmation, they are all about hearing how much you care about them. Here’s how you can tell them:
- Leave notes: Leave a sweet note for them to find on their way out the door in the morning, or in their lunch when they’re at work. This is a great way to surprise your significant other with nice words. Unless you’re my boyfriend, who thought he had stepped into a horror movie the one time I wrote “I love you” on the mirror.
- Compliment them: Compliment your partner! Tell them why you love them. Praise their character or their physical qualities.
- Make eye contact: Make eye contact when you’re delivering compliments or praise – this will make your words feel even more meaningful.
- Appreciate them: Your partner probably does things that have now become so routine that you don’t even think to appreciate them. Make sure they know you’re thankful they take out the trash, or that you appreciate them texting to wish you a good day every morning.
- Send them sweet texts: I know, how millennial of me. But honestly a simple “love you!” or “can’t wait to see you!” in the middle of the day can go a long way.
If your partner is all about quality time, they feel most loved when you set aside distraction-free time to bond with just them. Here’s how you can make time for them:
- Plan a date: Nothing is more romantic to a quality time lover than a date night! Planning a date for you and your partner shows that you care about their need for time together.
- Surprise them with more time: My absolute favorite thing is when I think I’m not spending time with my boyfriend, but then plans change and he shows up. I know not everyone likes surprises, but I will gladly pause my evening of Teen Mom if it means extra time with my guy.
- Plan a trip: Trips are the absolute best way to have bonding quality time. Plan a getaway for your and your partner to connect – they will appreciate the effort.
- Have electronic-free time: Put away the devices. Have dinner without taking out your phone, have a conversation without the TV playing in the background. Prioritize some real eye-to-eye time.
- Try this date night activity: Connecting over deep conversation is a big part of quality time. This activity will allow you and your partner to reflect and focus on your relationship.
- Call each other when you’re apart: My boyfriend and I always call each other before bed if we’re not spending the night together. Even if it’s just a 5 minute goodnight call, it feels like we get some quality time together even though we’re apart! This easy routine makes me feel so connected and loved, because we’re both taking time out of the day to check in with each other.
If physical touch is your partner’s language, they feel loved when you express it physically. Not only sexually, but that helps too 😉 Here’s how to physically show your partner you love them:
- Hold hands: Even if you’re just watching a show, hold hands or cuddle. It makes you feel close even if you’re watching different shows on different devices.
- Incorporate small physical touches: Whether it’s a kiss on the cheek while they’re brushing their teeth, or a quick hug while they’re cooking dinner, small touches throughout the day are key to a physical touch lover. Just find small ways to get in small touches!
- Seek a daily sizzle: I heard on a podcast that every day you should have some kind of physical connection with your partner that gives you that little zing. That little pull at the bottom of your stomach type feeling – you know what I mean! Whether that means making out, exchanges massages, or just giving your partner a teasing touch, keeping that spark alive daily makes all the difference.
- Spoon before falling asleep: My boyfriend does not like to cuddle while sleeping. I believe every bed is a twin bed if you try hard enough. We compromise by snuggling for the first half hour or so until he rolls away.
- Massage: There is no greater way to show physical love than through a massage. Especially a foot massage, because feet are just gross. If you give your partner a foot massage you have performed the greatest act of love.
- Sit close together: Even if you’re just reading next to each other on the couch, sit close and touch in some way to keep your physical connection going.
- Be the initiator: There is nothing a physical touch lover appreciates more than not being the one who has to initiate the physical touch.
Acts of Service:
If your partner’s love language is acts of service, they feel loved when you do something that helps them with their responsibilities. Here’s how you can ease their burdens:
- Make the bed: I don’t believe in making the bed, but sometimes I will make my boyfriend’s because it’s a nice thing to do and I know he likes it.
- Take out the trash: The person who takes out the trash wins at love for the day, that’s just the facts.
- Organize/clean up: Someone’s gotta do it, and they’ll be grateful for it.
- Do something they’ve been putting off: Has your significant other been talking about how they need to go get their car cleaned? Surprise them by doing it for them.
- Put gas in their car: Doing a little chore like this saves them time and shows love.
- Cook dinner: Surprise them with a nice home-cooked meal, especially if they’re usually the cook in the relationship.
- Shop for them: My boyfriend does not like shopping. I love to buy him things. Shopping for him on my own is an act of service! (and a gift).
Gifts can be a pretty self-explanatory way to show love. Outside of buying presents, here are some unique ways to gift your significant other:
- Surprise them with dinner: Pick up dinner from their favorite restaurant on your way home.
- Get them a card: Pick up a card to show how much you love them, just because. Even if it’s from the $1 section, it’s truly the thought that counts.
- Shop for them: My boyfriend does not like shopping. I love to buy him things. Randomly bringing hoe clothing I got for him is a gift (and an act of service).
- Pick up their favorite drink or candy: Grab their favorite six-pack, bottle of wine, or soda.
- Bring them breakfast in bed: Bring them breakfast in bed as a gift to start the weekend.
I hope these ideas have given you some inspiration on creative ways to speak your partner’s love language!
If you have any other ideas for how to speak your partner’s love language, I’d love to hear them in the comments.