Turns out love isn’t a one size fits all formula. Who would have known? Odds are, it’s probably not a five size fits all formula either. But the love languages do offer a fascinating premise and a handful of simple tips, tricks and hints to help you lay down your needs and desires once you know which language speaks to you the most. It’s no surprise that we all give and receive love differently and that your partner or partners won’t necessarily share your own philosophy. The love languages can help us to bridge those gaps and teaches us how to recognize and ask for what we want and need in life.
Words of Affirmation
From uttering I love you to thanking someone for doing something, words of affirmation help us to feel valued, accepted and appreciated. For some people, words are a hugely important part of communication and speak directly to their inner worth. Words can be used to build people up or to tear them down.
How to Give: If someone you love needs those words of affirmation give them generously. Even just saying thank you for cooking dinner or you look wonderful can work wonders on their soul. Use your words to spark joy.
How to Receive: When someone gives you a compliment don’t deflect, don’t immediately reciprocate and don’t discount it. Let it sink in and enjoy it.
Acts of Service
For some people, it really matters if someone does something nice for you. Whether it's buying you a bottle of wine for when you get home from a hard day or even just walking the dog when you see they have their hands full, these small acts of service can go a long way. Acts of service help people to feel seen.
How to Give: While they do require a little thought and space gentle small acts of service for someone help emotionally and physically. Take a load off; observe what needs to be done and do it or ask your partner what you can do to help. The trick is to commit these acts without a grudge.
How to Receive: When someone is committing acts of service be gracious in receiving. Nothing can stop an act of service in its tracks like negging out on how something is being done.
Small presents have long been associated with expressing love. This is also one of the love languages that has been married to an idea that someone craves material items, but the reality is a little more complicated. Perhaps these gifts are tangible ways for someone to be reminded they are loved and valued and rather than being taken as a shallow act, should be seen as something deeper.
How to Give: Gift giving doesn’t have to be elaborate. We aren’t talking sparkling tiaras and flash cars. Even picking a flower on a walk or buying a small chocolate bar back from the store; its these moments that remind someone that yes, you were thinking of them.
How to Receive: Receive your small gesture with grace and look beyond the material element to the heart of the matter. If you feed into the joy of giving then the experience becomes a beautiful win for everyone involved.
Quality time is something some couples rave about and for good reason. Granting your partner your undivided attention for part of your time together makes for a stronger bond, helps people feel valued and heard, and helps you to build a shared life together.
How to Give: When we talk about quality time we mean not attempting to multitask. Switch off the phone or TV and engage in active listening rather than feigned or passive listening.
How to Receive: Understand that while time together is super essential for some people, individuals also need their space and that not doing everything together, or spending every waking hour together, is also hugely beneficial for a healthy and balanced relationship.
Intimacy, touch, and physical contact don’t always have to be fixated on the carnal. For some people, small gestures of intimacy are hugely important, whereas for others being hugged or touched can be a source of discomfort. If you or your partner crave that physical touch then asking for it can be essential for you to feel loved, recognized, desired and stable.
How to Give: Small gestures matter – holding hands, touching the shoulder, and hugs – it doesn’t always need to be grand displays. If this is difficult for you then try not to shy away from communicating this and addressing the reasons why so your partner doesn’t feel its all about them.
How to Receive: Some people just don’t feel as comfortable with physical touch as others so don’t always take it personal if your mate isn’t into public displays of affection.
Which love language resonates with you the most?