Written by: Courtney Redman
If you’ve ever searched for tips about relationships, chances are you’ve come across the five love languages. With no shortage of books, podcasts, quizzes, etc. about discovering your love language, it can seem quite straight forward. A key to making that information useful to your relationship is how you and your partner communicate about your love languages, and how they work in tandem.
First, lets identify the love languages:
- Words of affirmation
- Acts of service
- Receiving gifts
- Quality time
- Physical touch
Chances are at leas one or two of these jump out at you right away. That may be the most primary way you feel closeness or connection with a partner. But don’t forget, we can receive love in all five ways. It just may look a little different for each person.
Words of affirmation:
This often is described as praise, which some people love and other people (like me) can get a little uncomfortable receiving. Affirmation can just mean any way of expressing validation, which doesn’t have to be over positive or effusive.
Some examples of validating your partner could sound like:
“Hey, I know it takes a lot of energy to plan the meals for the week and I’m grateful you did that.”
“I can tell this means a lot to you because I see how much effort you’re putting in.”
“Is there anything that’s been on your mind lately? I enjoy hearing your thoughts.”
Acts of service:
Most commonly this is experienced as doing things for your partner, which is definitely true. For some people being asked what they need is more validating, and for others it can be things getting done without having to ask.
Some examples of demonstrating acts of service could be:
Taking initiative to coordinate or plan something, whether it’s a couple’s experience or for the whole family.
“Hey I can see you have a lot going on, is there anything I can take off your plate today? If not, how can I support you today?”
This may sound straight forward, but there can also be a lot of nuances to gifts. For many people, small examples that their partner is thinking about them is what makes a gift or gesture so special.
Some examples of creative gift-giving can look like”
Leaving an affectionate note where your partner will see it
Having their favorite meal delivered to them during the work day
Replacing something they use daily that could be upgraded
There’s variability depending on what someone defines as “quality”. It can be length of time, frequency of time, type of activity, who else is present…a lot of options. So checking in with your partner to see what makes time feel quality to them is going to give you the best information.
Some examples of providing quality time can look like:
Doing separate activities or shared activities in the same space
Setting aside one evening a week just for the relationship
Asking if conversations or quiet feels more connective
Here again it is dependent on what kind of touch or contact feels connective to your partner, so communicating about how setting/mood/energy impact the type of touch is helpful.
Some examples of engaging in physical touch can look like:
Consistently giving your partner a hug when you greet each other at the end of the day
Holding their hand or standing close so they can feel the pressure of your arm/shoulder/chest when you sense they’re anxious
Light touches as you walk past them
With all of these love languages, getting curious with your partner about what their primary language is and why it is so meaningful is an important part of making an impact. To put it simply, it’s all communication.
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