How do you speak the language of love?
by Guillermo Seis
Love is not a monolith. It is a mosaic of many colors and shapes, each reflecting a different facet of our hearts. The way you feel most cherished, seen, and adored may not be the same as the way your partner does. This is the core of the love language concept, which was coined by Gary Chapman, a marriage counselor, in the 1990s. He identified five modes of expressing and receiving love: Words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, receiving gifts, and physical touch. The idea is simple, but profound: For couples who truly love each other, the source of conflict may be as simple as a mismatch in communication styles. And to honor your beloved, you may need to stretch beyond the forms of love that come naturally to you. So, once you know what makes you feel most secure and happy in love, how do you show up for your partner in their love language?
Words of Affirmation
For those who thrive on words of affirmation, actions are not enough. They need to hear you say it, loud and clear, how much you love them, appreciate them, admire them. It may seem too easy, but words have power. And for these people, repetition is key. Don’t be stingy with your compliments, your gratitude, your praise. Say it often, even if it feels redundant.
Acts of Service
You don’t have to move mountains to show your love through acts of service. Small things that make your partner’s life easier or more enjoyable are enough: Maybe you brew them a cup of tea, order their favorite takeout, do the dishes, change the oil. Just be mindful to act before being asked. When you wait for a request, the gesture loses some of its magic.
Gift-giving is often misunderstood. It is not a sign of materialism or shallowness. It is a way of saying, “I thought of you. I noticed you. I care about you.” It doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant. It can be as simple as a shell from a beach walk, a pint of their favorite ice cream, a vintage pin that reminds you of them. For these people, tangible tokens of affection are meaningful, so look for opportunities to surprise them with little gifts. Pay attention to the things that delight your partner - a book they mentioned, a flower they admired, a song they hummed - and offer them as tokens of your love.
For those who value quality time, nothing says “I love you” like spending time together. And it doesn’t have to be fancy or elaborate. It just has to be focused and intentional. Make plans, and stick to them. Give your partner your full attention, and listen with interest. Make eye contact, and smile. Put away your phone, and turn off the TV. Be present, and enjoy each other’s company.
Physical touch is not just about sex. It is about maintaining a connection through everyday contact. It is about choosing to reach for your partner, to hold them, to caress them, to comfort them. Whether it’s a hug, a kiss, a hand on the back, or a head on the shoulder, physical touch conveys warmth, closeness, and affection. Don’t let a day go by without touching your partner in some way.
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