Creative Ways to Show Love Based on Your Love Language
Are you and your partner arguing so much that it feels like you’re not even speaking the same language? Well, what if I told you that might actually be the problem? In my work with couples, this actually comes up a lot. Not speaking the same love languages is of the many ways communication is a tricky beast, but today I’m going to help you get the best of it.
The Five Love Languages are the five different ways that people give and understand love. They are:
- Words of affirmation
- Giving and receiving gifts
- Physical touch
- Quality time
- Acts of service
No language is better or worse than any other, but we seem to assign value to them based on what we understand from our own upbringing, which makes it difficult to learn new ones. If you didn’t grow up in a household full of hugs and kisses, you won’t be fluent in physical touch. That’s perfectly fine, unless your parter is left feeling unloved because you don’t naturally think to kiss them goodbye. Yes, even if you’re constantly spouting, for example, words of affirmation at them. Coming from a strong-and-silent household, words might be uncomfortable. Or coming from a house full of empty promises, words might be easily brushed off.
So, how can you show your partner the deep love you feel for them without speaking the same love language? Well, you don’t. You put the effort in and learn to speak a couple key phrases. If you stay tuned, I’m about to give you a crash course in all of ’em.
But first– go ahead and take the Official Love Language Quiz to find out for sure what resonates with you and your partner best.
Learning The Five Love Languages
Each language has a very simple explanation. It’s not hard to understand what they all mean– the hard part is adjusting your habits to fit the new language into your lifestyle. To make that as easy as possible, with each definition I’m also offering a list of some of the ways you can show love in that language. Think of it like learning how to say “I’d like to order the spaghetti,” or “Where’s George Clooney’s house,” for your trip to Italy.
1. Words of Affirmation
Someone fluent in the words of affirmation love language feels the most loved when you tell them how you feel. This person enjoys compliments, love letters, and texts throughout the day to remind them you’re thinking of them. They also respond best to verbal validation such as “I really appreciate you doing the dishes. You know that’s my least favorite chore.”
Ways to show love to your words-of-affirmation-fluent partner:
- First and most obviously, tell them you love them!
- More than that– tell them why you love them
- Write Open-When letters
- Place Post-It love notes on their car door
- Call them by a term of endearment that’s just for them (get a little more creative than “babe!”)
- Write 52 reasons why you love your partner on a set of playing cards
- Text your partner a compliment at a random time during your work day
- Remind them that you find them attractive
- But remember to compliment their personality as well as their appearance
- Ask for their advice– it shows you value their opinion
2. Giving and Receiving Gifts
Your partner who loves receiving gifts is not spoiled or selfish. This is just how they best understand that you were thinking of them. Gifts do not have to be expensive or extravagant, as long as they help your S.O. see that you know them well.
- Don’t be cliche– don’t go roses and chocolates just because that’s the picture of romance. Go for the thing that your partner would be most thrilled by, even if that’s 50 chicken nuggets.
- Buy their favorite snack at the grocery store
- Pick up a fun dessert on your way home from work
- Remember small details about what they like. A difficult-to-find brand of ice cream? A specific type of wine?
- Buy flowers– even just a single flower
- Give them a video of you talking about how much you love them
- Make them a mix CD (or a Spotify playlist, depending on your preferred musical era)
- Make a five senses gift basket– one gift to tickle each sense
- Invest in a couples subscription box like Mystery Pleasure Box or Date Night In
3. Physical Touch
Physical touch is exactly what it sounds like. If your partner speaks this love language, they can’t keep their hands off you, and they want your hands on them!
- Kiss for at least six seconds every day. The science is here
- Caress your partner’s back or shoulders as you walk by them
- Hug them.
- Have sex– maybe try a new position
- Sensate focus– practicing non-sexual touch is a powerful exercise, especially if there’s been difficulty or trauma surrounding sex
- Cuddle while you’re watching TV together at night
- Play an adult version of Simon Says
- Play an adult version of truth or dare– Cosmo has a 120-card Truth or Dare deck to help you out
4. Quality Time
Quality time also just what it sounds like– your partner wants your undivided attention. This has become increasingly difficult in this era of multi-tasking and keeping our brains highly stimulated at all times, so it might take some extra thought to engage in this love language. But of course, the results will be totally worth it, because you’ll feel so much closer to your partner.
- Put your phone down when you’re together
- Make a date jar full of ideas– just pick from the jar when you want to do something special!
- Use John & Julie Gottman’s Relationship Card Decks to learn more about each other
- Maintain eye contact. This is a small one that makes a big impact.
- Try out the 36 Questions that Lead to Love— see if it deepens your relationship
- Reminisce on your relationship– talk about when you first met, your first date, etc. See if you learn anything about your partner’s perspective of that time!
- Return calls and texts, even just to say you can’t talk now but will be free at X time
- Find a new show to watch on Netflix, Hulu, or Prime Video
- Engage in a new hobby together
- Go for a relationship check-up with a couples therapist
5. Acts of Service
The final love language is the embodiment of “actions speak louder than words.” The person speaking this language feels most loved when you show how you feel through your actions. Often, this looks like anticipating their needs and fulfilling them, but it can also mean big romantic gestures that take time and effort– things you would only do if you really cared.
- Make their favorite dinner
- Do the chore you know they dislike the most
- Take their car for its oil change or other service
- Keep your promises, or don’t make them if you’re not sure you can follow through
- Show kindness to the in-laws, even if you don’t like them!
- Plan a whole date from start to finish
- Fix something around the house
- Make cute coupons your partner can cash in for tasks like doing the dishes or walking the dog
- Indulge in their favorite pastime with them, even if it’s not something you enjoy.
- Make a craft that shows how you feel, such as this “Shower You With Love” craft from The Dating Divas
I’ll leave you with this– sometimes we all forget that our partners may not want the same thing as us. That’s why it’s so important to read this book, take the quiz, and learn what your partner would choose from this list, not what sounds good to you. And of course, if you’re at a loss, the best thing you can do is just ask them!
So that’s it! If you made it this far, leave me a comment about how your love language affects your relationship.