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The 5 Love Languages

I love the love languages. I love learning others, exploring mine, seeing how they shift as we grow and change, how our relationships and experiences mold us. How they present in all of our relationships, not just romantic. It helps me understand so much about the people around me.

Your love language refers to the ways in which people give and receive love in their lives.

Although this includes romantic love, it may also affect how we prefer to give and receive love in friendships and other relationships too. They can also shed light on your personal habits or behavior that might not seem to be linked to love languages or relationships at all.

For example, your love language could be linked to self-destructive habits. If your preferred love language is words of affirmation, you might be prone to negative self-talk, or if your love language is gifts, you may tend to over-spend. That's just one of the many ways people might use love languages to learn more about relationships and their own mental health.

Not sure what your love language is? Here's what you need to know about the five love languages, including love language examples, how to determine yours, and other insights and relationships

One of the most common relationship issues people face today is the struggle to express love in intentional and meaningful ways nearly everyone wants to show their partner that they care. Yet, many people struggle to do it in a way that speaks to their heart. If you find that this describes your situation, you may want to learn more about the Five Love Languages. History has shown that learning how your partner receives love will help you know the best way to demonstrate your love and caring.

The history of the five love languages The love language concept comes from the book The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, which was first published in 1992. In it, he describes the most common ways that people communicate love, based on his experience in marriage counseling and linguistics.

Everyone has a different idea of how to express love to those around them, The trick is avoiding language barriers when your love language differs from that of your partner, family, or friend.

Couples need to find balance and harmony given their respective styles and differences to make sure they speak the language of love, The dark side of knowing each other’s love languages is that you also become equipped with the knowledge of how you might hurt your partner,”. In the case of someone who speaks gifts as their love language, "not getting them a gift on an anniversary or special occasion would be acutely hurtful to them, as would approaching the gift-giving as more a chore than an opportunity.

What are the five love languages?

Acts of service

As much as I express love through spoiling loved ones with gifts and affection, when it comes to receiving love it’s a whole different language altogether.

As someone who values actions over words, it makes complete sense that the action-oriented love language of “acts of service” ranks at the top of my list.

"Some of us prefer to express our appreciation through various acts of service, like running errands for our partners," Hafeez says. This love language essentially refers to the things loved ones do for each other to make their lives easier.

When someone's primary love language is acts of service, they feel loved and appreciated when people do nice things for them. Whether it's helping with the dishes or putting gas in the car, little acts of service go straight to the person's heart. They love when people do little things for them and often can be found doing little things for others.

As experts explain, if your partner’s preferred language is acts of service, they will feel your love through the things you do, not the words you say. When you do something that seems to go above and beyond, they will feel cared for and respected in the relationship.

t’s one thing to be there for them when it’s needed most, it’s another to continuously commit to an expectation your partner has that you’re not comfortable with.

While you won’t always be uber excited about helping them paint the bedroom apartment or watch a cheesy action flick with them, the most important thing is that you choose to do it because you want to, not because you’re forced to.

The gestures should come from a place of love, not guilt or resentment.

That being said, the acts of service love language is more than just doing your part in the relationship. A partner with this love language doesn’t want you to simply uphold your duties in the relationship; they want you to go that extra mile to do something that makes their life easier.

It should be something unexpected that your partner doesn’t always have to ask you to do. For example, you may surprise them by getting the kids up and ready for school and letting them have a little extra time to sleep in.

The acts of service love language comes down to this fact- for some people, actions truly are louder than words.

If your partner prefers to receive love through acts of service, you have probably heard them talk about the fact that actions speak louder, and at the end of the day, they will appreciate any acts you do that make their life easier.

A simple way to determine how you can be most loving and helpful toward your partner is to ask, “Would it help if I do _____ for you?” This allows you to determine what acts of service are most meaningful to them.

Another important truth to understand about the acts of service love language is that while a partner with this love language appreciates having nice things done for them, they do not enjoy asking for help.

This can be rather paradoxical; your partner wants you to help, but they want you to do so without them making any demands, as they do not want to burden you with their requests. If your partner seems to have the acts of service love language, you may want to make a habit out of asking them what you can do to help.

It is also beneficial if you can pay close attention to their daily needs, habits, and preferences so you can determine easy ways to jump in and help without being asked.

In summary, here are four signs that your partner prefers the acts of service love language:

They appear especially appreciative when you surprise them by doing something nice for them.

They comment that actions speak louder than words.

They seem relieved when you take a burden off of their shoulders, whether it is taking out the trash or running an errand for them on the way home from work.

They may never ask for your help, but they tend to complain that you never jump in to make things easier for them. there are some acts of service ideas you can put into place to make life easier for them and to communicate your love.

If she is always the one to get up early with the kids on a Saturday morning, let her sleep in while you make pancakes and entertain the kids with cartoons.

While she is working late or running the kids to their activities, go ahead and fold that load of laundry she started earlier in the day.

Ask her if there is anything you can stop and pick up at the store for her on the way home from work.

Pick up their favorite snack when shopping for groceries

Organizing the garage, so he has one less thing to do this weekend.

Taking his car through the car wash when you are out running errands.

Putting the trash out at the curb before he wakes up in the morning.

If he is usually the one to walk the dog every evening, take over this task when he is having a particularly busy day

Fix breakfast to serve in bed before they wake up

Help take off their shoes

Randomly take them out to their favorite restaurant after a long day sy day.

Book a massage during vacation so they can relax

Take care of the family and give them the day off

Do their preferred date activity, even if it's not your first choice

Give them a massage when they're feeling stressed

Help out with a home improvement project

Pick up a guilty pleasure snack as a surprise

Make a cup of coffee in the morning

Clean the cat's litter

Learn their favorite recipe for a surprise date

Tidy up their personal space and put everything back exactly where they like it

Cook an old family recipe when they're feeling homesick

Draw a bath for them

Wait to watch the show on Netflix so you can binge it together

Encourage them to do something for them, like seeing their friends or doing an activity they like but don't do often

Create a self-care or workout playlist for them to listen to when they take time to relax

Show interest in their hobby by attending an event they care about

Run their errands for them

Do their least favorite chore out of the blue, once in a while

Give them the last slice of dessert

Tune up their bike

Bring snacks for a long car trip

Take time to help them with a project

Offer to tutor them with any homework assignments

Cook a comforting meal when they're sick

Get something they need while you're out

Help them clean up after they make dinner

Help each other stay healthy and safe

Give them a ride when they need it

Plan out fun activities for the family vacation

Break down boxes and put them away in the recycling

Do small handyman projects around the house

Pick them up at the airport

Plug in their phone charger for them when it's dead

Pet-sit for them

Take care of their house when they're on vacation

Run errands together

Go with them to an event they've been wanting to go to

Take the time to visit them, especially if they don't live close to you

Take out the trash

Help them out with technical issues, e.g., printer jams, computer problems

Act as a sounding board when they are venting or stressed

Water their plants if they forget to

Install needed software on their work computer

Help gather information and do some research for their project

Receiving Acts of Service

While it is important to know what to do if your partner prefers acts of service love language, there is also advice for those whose own love language is acts of service.

Perhaps you delight in acts of service love language, but you and your partner are having a hard time understanding each other. Maybe your partner isn’t giving you what you need, or the two of you might be frustrated over miscommunications in the relationship.

If this is the case, it can be helpful to be more clear with your partner about what you need. You cannot expect your partner to read your mind.

As experts explain, you should not feel guilty about asking for what you need. If you prefer acts of service and your partner isn’t giving you what you need, it is time to ask!

Specify what would be most helpful to you, whether it is asking your partner to run the kids to soccer practice this week or requesting that they share in more household chores.

If you haven’t had a conversation about it already, you may have to simply explain to your partner that your preferred love language is acts of service and that this is particularly important to you.

If you feel that you are not receiving acts of service from your partner, it could simply be that your expectations are too high.

For instance, you may expect that your partner should just inherently know how to give acts of service to you, but if you are not asking them or communicating what you need, this expectation can lead to problems.

You cannot assume that your partner knows what you need, so it is important to communicate, so your partner is prepared to give the acts of service you would most like to receive.

Finally, once your partner does demonstrate an act of service, be sure to express gratitude for what they have done for you. 1. Creatively anticipate their needs.

"Look out for the small things that would brighten their day by meeting a future needs of theirs such as packing them an umbrella when it might rain or bringing snacks to a long event," Yakubov suggests. Broaden what you can do for them by filtering it through what they would appreciate. By focusing too much on fulfilling stereotypical domestic responsibilities, we run the risk of missing out on what they really need.

2. Be hypervigilant and listen to their complaints.

People tend to criticize their spouse the loudest in the area where they have an emotional need. If that's the case, what do you notice they complain about the most? How can you bring support to those areas?

3. Consider what you naturally bring to the table.

It could be helpful to have them write out a weekly list. Better yet, Yakubov says, "Ask them what tasks or activities they struggle with, or where they get frustrated, to see the areas where you can provide help." If you're specialized or naturally equipped with skills that your partner is lacking to fulfill some practical obligations, that's a great place to step in.

4. Show gratitude for their acts of service for you.

"Express your appreciation for their acts of service toward you. Even if their love language is not words of affirmation, showing their actions are noticed and appreciation goes a long way," she says. It's always good to practice showing our partner love in a multitude of ways.

5. Follow through on your commitments.

Since they're hyperfocused on acts of service, they want to know they can rely on their partner to see the commitment through. If it doesn't happen, they can become resentful or disappointed. If they ask you to help with something and you agree, make sure you deliver on the promise.


Giving or receiving gifts is a somewhat straightforward love language. People value the thought and effort that goes into the gift-giving process. "People who speak this language cherish the gift and the time and thought put into the gift," Hafeez adds.

To a person whose love language is receiving gifts, gift-giving is symbolic of love and affection in their mind. They treasure not only the gift itself but also the time and effort the gift giver put into it. What's more, they do not necessarily expect large or expensive gifts, the love language receiving gifts is more what is behind the gift that appeals to them.

In other words, when you take the time to pick out a gift specifically for them, it communicates to them that you really know them. Additionally, people with this love language can often remember every little gift they have received from their loved ones because it makes such an impact on them.

Of all the love languages, the act of gift giving is arguably the most often misconstrued. To some, it can seem greedy or as if the recipient is fixated on things versus love itself. That’s not the case.

“If you or your partner’s love language is gifts, that means you feel loved [or that you’re demonstrating love] with a tangible item,” says Williams. “Whether that item is a tiny trinket from a thrift store, or a 50-foot sailboat is inconsequential. Either convey the same message: I was thinking about you when I saw this. You’re always on my mind.”

In that sense, Williams explains that the true meaning of gift giving isn’t extravagance, it’s sentimentality. A person who feels loved through these items might cherish the gift, however small, more than another who speaks a different love language. Every time they see it, it will serve as a reminder that they are loved. The feeling of receiving a gift hand-picked to make you smile is truly unrivaled. It’s a fantastic way to show our loved ones how much we care. Let’s all be more intentional about gifting presents that speak to the soul.

That is to say that the gift giving love language isn’t all about the item being offered or received. The actual value of gift giving lies in the gesture per se, as a way of showing that your partner has been on your mind, that the preferences they voice are heard, and that their smile is invaluable.

Listen carefully to your significant other. What is their favourite chocolate flavour? What is their favourite colour? Is there any item that they fantasize about but didn’t get round to buying for themselves?

Make a list of all these items and/or preferences as they are voiced and use it to make decisions when buying them a gift.

Educate yourself to think of gift giving not in terms of material/practical value, but in terms of sentimental expression. A well timed, thoughtful trinket says “I love you” more loudly than an expensive but impersonal gift.

Make a habit of gift giving, as opposed to using it to patch up your relationship when things are difficult. For example, a small gift offered out of the blue for no reason other than to make your partner smile goes a longer way than an extravagant gift meant to earn you forgiveness for a mistake you’ve made.

In addition to gifts centered on your partner’s needs and preferences, consider strengthening your relationship with gifts centered on you as a couple. Better Topics, our card game for couples, is a gift to your relationship. Your partner will appreciate you speaking the gift giving love language, as well as the opportunity to deepen your connection.

Do they seem to take pleasure in shopping so much that it feels like a hobby rather than a chore?

Do they enjoy offering gifts and put a lot of time and thought into creating memorable mementos for their loved ones?

Do they treasure gifts they received a long time ago because of the sentimental value they hold?

Do they collect souvenirs from every trip they go on?

Do they have a remarkable ability to pick the perfect gift in any situation?

Book a Bed & Breakfast.

Gift certificate for a favorite hobby (rock climbing) or tickets to a game.

Road trip plans.

Picnic at the park.

Favorite bottle of wine.

Massage oil.

Body lotion.

Bath bomb.

A new outfit.

Kama Sutra book.

Couple’s massage.

Couple’s body painting class.

Scrapbook of your love story.

An original poem.

Tickets to a concert with an artist that sings love songs.

Send a fun or funny gift for a non-holiday like April Fools Day or Halloween.

Buy a gift or experience related to their favorite hobby.

Offer to pick up the tab at lunch or coffee just because.

Give them a gift they could enjoy with a loved one like a child or partner.

Send a gift when someone is going through a difficult time like illness or loss.

Bring them their favorite flowers, just because

Buy them something they’ve been wanting for awhile

Send them a surprise package at work

Make them a mix CD and explain why you chose each song for them

Sign them up for a class they’ve been wanting to take

Physical touch

In a nutshell, the physical touch love language describes someone who feels most loved when receiving physical affection, whether it is in the form of hugs, kisses, hand-holding, sex, a massage, or a stroke on the arm.

People who prefer physical touch as their primary love language tend to enjoy all forms of touch, but it may be helpful to ask your partner how you can best show them an expression of love through physical touch because we all have unique preferences.

Physical signs of affection, like hugging, kissing, holding hands, cuddling, and having sex, are ways to connect and communicate appreciation for those who prefer this love language. "The love language physical touch includes those who require physical attention to express and know that they are loved," Hafeez says.

A person with this love language feels loved through physical affection. Aside from sex, those who have physical touch as their primary love language feel loved when their partner shows physical affection in some way like holding their hand, touching their arm, or giving them a massage at the end of the day. Additionally, their idea of a perfect date might include cuddling on the couch with a glass of wine and a good movie. They simply want to be close to their partners physically

sexual expressions of love are used in most romantic relationships, but what if you live 100+ miles away from your partner? What if you and your partner are waiting to have sex? What if you’re not a touchy person? What if sexual intimacy is mentally challenging for you?

Despite what you may have learned about romantic love, sex isn’t everything in a relationship. It’s important, yes, but it isn’t the only physical expression of love.