5 Different Ways to Show Love and Improve Your Relationship
Have you ever questioned whether your partner still loves you? You’re not alone. You also might be speaking a different love language than your partner.
What are the love languages?
We all give and receive love in 5 different ways: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. These are called ‘love languages’ - a concept created by Dr. Gary Chapman through his long-time work as a marriage counsellor.
- Words of affirmation
When words of affirmation is your love language, words build you up. You thrive on spoken affection, praise, encouragement, and compliments. Harsh words and criticism can bother you for a long time.
- Acts of Service
Anything that your partner does willingly to ease your workload is a sign of love to you. You feel cared for when your partner vacuums before you get to it or makes you breakfast as a surprise. On the other hand, broken promises or laziness can make you feel unimportant.
- Receiving gifts
When you speak this love language, a thoughtful gift shows to you that you are special. In contrast, generic gifts and forgotten special events have the opposite effect. This love language isn’t necessarily materialistic – it could be as simple as receiving your favourite snack after a bad day.
- Quality time
To you, nothing says you’re loved like undivided attention. When your partner is truly present (and not looking at their phone), it makes you feel important. Failure to actively listen or long periods without one-on-one time can make you feel unloved.
- Physical touch
Holding hands, kisses, hugs, and other touches are your preferred way to show and receive love. Appropriate touches convey warmth and safety, while physical neglect can drive a wedge between you and your partner.
How love languages can improve your relationships
Most of us have one or two preferred love languages – often different than our significant other's. If you express your love through your preferred love language, the chances are that it goes unnoticed by your partner.
Say that your love language is gifts, and you often surprise your partner with thoughtful gifts. How does it make you feel when they just have a quick look at your thoughtful present? Meanwhile, your partner hardly values gifts but appreciates acts of service. It would mean the world to them if you did chores around the house instead of buying gifts. Is your partner feeling loved?
Learning to speak your partner’s preferred language can drastically strengthen your relationship. You can do the free love languages test on the 5 love languages website. Love languages apply to non-romantic relationships as well, and the website includes tests for children and teens.
See our therapeutic support groups for healthy relationships