Want to learn a new language without being threatened by the Duolingo owl? Learn which of the five love languages is yours! And, learn the language of who whoyou love. Oh God, the owl is right behind us, isn’t he?
The 5 Love Languages come from the book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman. This isn’t a scientific measurement – Chapman is a pastor, not a psychologist. But they can be a helpful framework for you and your partner to communicate your needs in a relationship.
It’s certainly more helpful than taking that “Which Sex and the City character are you?” quiz again. We keep getting a Manolo Blahnik?
The Five Love Languages
To find out your love language, you can take the quiz, or just think about how you express your love to others. Often, we give love in the same language we want to receive it.
For example, if you’re always buying thoughtful gifts for your partner, it’s safe to say you’d like them to gift you something that wasn’t clearly from the airport. An “I <3 NYC” shirt? You really shouldn’t have.
You can have more than one love language, but generally one or two will be your primary languages. Here’s an explanation of each, plus some ideas of what you can do for your partner to make them feel loved in theirs.
The five love languages are:
- Acts of Service
- Words of Affirmation
- Physical Touch
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
1. Acts of Service
If you feel most loved when your partner takes care of you and does things to make your life easier, then you know that actions speak louder than words. And going out of your way to do nice things for a partner with this love language is like yelling “I REALLY REALLY LIKE YOU.” Through a megaphone.
Your Love Language may be Acts of Service if:
- You’re the one who starts the meal schedule Google Doc for your sick friend.
- You feel warm and fuzzy when your partner is the one who leaves the couch to fill up your water bottle.
- You love when your partner sweetly wakes you up in the morning instead of letting you sleep through seven alarms.
If your partner’s love language is Acts of Service:
- Run that errand they’ve been saying they need to do since forever.
- Make them dinner when you know they’ll be working late.
- Do their least favorite chore and fold love into every piece of laundry.
2. Words of Affirmation
Forget what we said before: sometimes words do speak louder than actions. Communication is key in all relationships, but especially if your love language is Words of Affirmation. This love language is about expressing your love in words, with compliments, notes, or a simple “I love you.”
Your Love Language may be Words of Affirmation if:
- You skipped right to the “they’re a pleasure to have in class” section of your report card.
- You’re the first to compliment your friends on their new haircut.
- You shiver when your partner says “Good girl” (in the sexy way, not the dog way).
If your partner’s love language is Words of Affirmation:
- Give them at least one authentic compliment per day.
- Support them with verbal encouragement when they’re going through a hard time.
- Get to know the cashier at the Hallmark store and see if they’ll get you the employee discount on cards for love. Or leave them little handwritten love notes.
3. Physical Touch
Do you like warm hugs? You may need to turn up your thermostat, or your love language is Physical Touch. People who have this love language express their admiration through intimate touch, whether that be holding hands, snuggling, or having sex. Or all three in one session.
Your Love Language may be Physical Touch if:
- You always have a hand on your partner, whether it’s holding hands, scratching their back, or tickling them until they give you the remote.
- You hug your friends when they arrive, when they leave, when they’re sad, when they’re happy, when they ask for one, and when they least expect it.
- When you have a bad day, all you want is an actual shoulder to cry on.
If your partner’s love language is Physical Touch:
- Greet them like a golden retriever would (with excitement and lots of kisses, tail wagging is optional).
- Give them a massage without expecting sex.
- Reach for their hand and hold it while walking.
4. Receiving Gifts
Calling all material girls. People whose love language is Receiving Gifts live for ripping open the wrapping paper, because a thoughtful gift is the best way to show you care. They would never come to a party empty handed, and don’t take the “no gifts policy” seriously.
Your Love Language may be Receiving Gifts if:
- Birth-day? Please. You celebrate a birthday week and want a gift every night like Hanukkah.
- You spend time selecting personalized gifts for your friends instead of another Bath and Body Works lotion set.
- You think you deserve a special treat for every occasion. Like a Tuesday night after a long day at work. And Wednesday. And Thursday.
If your partner’s love language is Receiving Gifts:
- Give them small gifts without waiting for a special occasion.
- Keep a note on your phone with things they mention they want for future gifting occasions. Trust us, Future You will thank Past You.
- Don’t even think about coming home from a trip without a souvenir.
5. Quality Time
When this person says, “the best present is your presence,” they’re not just being polite on a wedding registry. People whose love language is Quality Time show love by spending time together. That is, time that you’re truly present together. Not just staring at your phones in the same room.
Your Love Language may be Quality Time if:
- You were the kid who would turn a sleepover into a long weekend.
- You love long walks on the beach, and not in an ironic way.
- You invented the “first person who checks their phone pays for dinner” game.
If your partner’s love language is Quality Time:
- Schedule a weekly date night.
- Take time to check in with your partner every day.
- Make eye contact. Don’t forget to blink.