There is no guarantee that two partners will have the same love language, so learning your partner's is going to work well for your relationship.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on July 8, 2020. It has since been updated.
Every relationship needs both partners to be equally contributing to it. One of the cornerstones of a good relationship is communication and in love, there are five kinds, according to Gary Chapman, an author, pastor and speaker. He wrote the bestseller The Five Love Languages in 1992 that helped a lot of people figure out what they expect from their partner. According to him, people prefer to receive love in one of five ways: words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, physical touch or receiving gifts.
“It became apparent to me that what makes one person feel loved isn’t always the same for their spouse or partner,” he explained to She Knows. “I discovered every person understands and receives love in a specific language, one of five to be precise. The other four are just as important and offer [other] ways to express love to each other," he said.
Learning the five languages will help you in your relationship. Before you ask, you have to know what you want and before you give, you have to know what your partner prefers. Both of you are unlikely to want love in the same way.
This is the least common, according to Chapman who conducted an online sample study with 10,000 responses. People had taken the "What's your love language?" quiz in 2010 on his website. As many as 18% of people sampled said that they prefer receiving gifts. The author had also said that it was not a scientific study but only a sampling, according to HuffPost. For some people, gifts are the best way to show them love. They are the symbolic representations of our feelings for another after all. The amount of thought someone puts into it makes a difference.
However, if someone says they are not great at giving gifts since that is not what they grew up with, they can learn. If their partner loves gifts then learn what your partner likes and make them feel happy, according to Focusonthefamily.
This is the most common kind of love language, with 23% people voting for it. Everyone loves to be told that they are loved and appreciated. Words of affirmation and compliments are a powerful way of showing love for your partner. You could use simple and straightforward ways to show you care. Tell them they look good, tell them you appreciate them for picking you up from work or how you love their sense of humor. You fell in love with someone because of all the lovely things you saw in them and it doesn't hurt to focus on those strengths over and over. Most humans have the need for appreciation and it's one of the easiest things to do.
Spending time together is another way to show your partner you care and like them. Cosmopolitan UK spoke to Gurpreet Singh, a relationship counselor, who told them that many clients say their partner "can’t ever be bothered to sit with me". For many people, technology is driving a wedge between them. "It acts as a big deterrent in relationships because people are often on their phones, and quality time tends to diminish, so that tends to lead to a lot of hurting these days," he explains. So, set the electronic devices aside and spend time together. Go for a walk, share a meal together, or take a short trip. All of these could rejuvenate your relationship.
Show your partner that you want to help them with all the responsibilities like vacuuming the floors, going grocery shopping or sending thank-you notes, recommends She Knows. If you don't know what will make your partner happy, you could ask them what they need. Offer to do whatever will make their life easier. When you take on the responsibilities so your partner is not burdened, you show that you care about their quality of life too. You can walk the dog or make breakfast in bed for them, and they will appreciate you more for it.
Those who prefer this type of love language will appreciate all kinds of affection, not just sex. “Be intentional about finding ways to express your love using physical touch: giving hugs, touching their arm or hand during a conversation; offer to give a neck or back rub,” says Chapman, according to SheKnows. Singh tells Cosmopolitan that physical touch like a morning and evening kiss can be enough for many people, they might not even expect more.