Do you wonder why your relationships don’t last as long as you’d like? Do you feel something is missing in communicating with your partner and want to discover how to improve things? If so, it might be time to learn your love language.
Love languages are a way of understanding how we give and receive love from our significant other. In this article, we’ll take you through a step-by-step guide on discovering your love language and ultimately learn how to strengthen your relationship.
Looking for more fulfilling relationships in your life? Discover how communication and attachment styles shape relationship dynamics, and how to use them to your advantage.
Why understanding love languages matters
Understanding love languages is key to a successful and committed relationship. Dr. Gary Chapman developed the theory based on years of counseling couples to help them better communicate and understand each other. 1
It accounts for the fact that, as unique individuals, we all give and receive love differently. And often, these differences can be the source of tension in relationships if not adequately addressed.
If properly understood and respected, however, love languages can lead to greater relationship understanding, appreciation, and commitment. The five love languages that Dr. Chapman developed are the following: 2
- Words of affirmation: You like to be complimented, hear kind words, and offer encouragement.
- Quality time: You like to spend quality time with your partner, having undivided attention devoted solely to you.
- Receiving gifts: You appreciate surprises and meaningful items given by your partner.
- Acts of service: You want your partner to do practical tasks for you, such as making meals or doing chores.
- Physical touch: You require physical contact from your partner to show appreciation and love.
Knowing which love language you and your partner identify with is a great starting point for better communication and understanding in any relationship. This understanding can also lead to more meaningful expressions of love and, ultimately, a stronger bond between you and your partner.
Want to express love effectively? Explore how love languages can help you convey emotions more authentically.
10 Steps to discover your love language
Discovering your love language is a process that requires some introspection and reflection. It may take time, but it will ultimately be worth it. To get started on discovering your love language, here are ten steps to follow:
1. Observe your actions
One of the most essential steps to discovering your love language is to observe and note how you naturally express love. Do you often write little notes or text messages? Do you enjoy spending time with your partner more than anything else?
Developing self-awareness is key to making an introvert-extrovert relationship thrive. Learn how to understand and support each other's needs.
Are you the type to give random gifts for no reason at all? Identifying what comes most naturally to you can help point you in the right direction regarding your love language.
2. Reflect on past relationships
Take the time to reflect on why you do what you do in relationships. It can help to think about previous relationships and consider how you liked to show your partner love and how they expressed their love for you.
Self-reflection is one of the best ways to gain insight into our behavior and motivations. Taking the time to understand why you do certain things can help uncover your love language much quicker. 3
3. Ask for feedback
Talking about love languages and asking for feedback from your partner or friends can be a great way to get clarity. It’s helpful if your friends understand the concept of love languages, as it will bring more insight into how you naturally express yourself.
Ask them: What do you think my love language is? How do I normally show you love? What have they noticed about the way you express affection? This can help confirm if your observations and reflections are accurate.
4. Consider what makes you feel loved
Another great way to discover your love language is to consider what makes you feel most loved. What makes you feel appreciated or special when someone does them for you?
These activities may differ from those you do for your partner but could still indicate which language works best for you. Although it can be difficult to think about receiving love, it can help to identify which language works best for you.
Awareness of how you express affection is essential to building a strong connection with your ISTP partner. Dive into our expert guide for insights.
5. Explore your hobbies and interests
Our hobbies and interests can give us a great insight into how we naturally express love. They’re beneficial, often involving activities that make us feel content and fulfilled. 4
For example, if you enjoy cooking or baking for your partner, then acts of service may be one of your love languages. If you love to spend time watching movies together, quality time could be another language you identify with.
6. Evaluate your emotional responses
Emotional interdependence is an important part of any relationship, and understanding how you respond emotionally can help determine your love language. Pay attention to how you feel when your partner expresses love differently. 5
Do certain activities make you especially happy? Does physical touch satisfy a need for connection and closeness that words can’t?
7. Watch for nonverbal cues
Nonverbal language makes up the majority of communication in any relationship. Pay attention to your cues to help identify which language works best for you. 6
Do you feel more comfortable when your partner is close to you, or do certain words excite you? Are there certain gifts that mean a lot to you and always put a smile on your face? Nonverbal cues can tell us much about how we express our love.
Nonverbal cues also play a significant role in how attachment styles shape intimacy. Explore their impact in our in-depth article.
8. Take note of what frustrates you
It’s also helpful to consider what makes you frustrated in your relationship. If you’re often feeling taken for granted, it could be a sign that your partner isn’t expressing love how you need it.
Think about which expressions of love help make you feel valued and appreciated instead. Paying attention to the things that frustrate you can lead to a greater understanding of your love language.
9. Consult a therapist or relationship coach
If you’re having difficulty discovering your love language, consulting a therapist or relationship coach can be beneficial. A professional can guide you in navigating the process of self-exploration and understanding your love language better.
Professional help can be incredibly valuable when understanding yourself and your relationship. They can provide the support and guidance needed to gain insight into how you show love and help identify what your partner needs from you.
10. Stay open to change
Our love languages can change over time as our relationships evolve. It’s important to stay open to this possibility and be flexible in understanding what works best for you and your partner.
As we grow, so do our needs and expectations from our partners. Staying open to changes allows us to express ourselves more authentically and ensure that our needs are met.
Discovering your love language is a process that can take some time and introspection, but it’s worth it in the end. It’s important to remember that everyone expresses love differently.
There is no one-size-fits-all way to identify someone’s language; patience and understanding are key. Discover other communication tips to help you maintain a strong connection with those you love.
The best relationship books to help you survive and thrive
Whether single or in a relationship, it can be tough to navigate the waters of love. These books offer advice and guidance from experts and real-life couples alike, giving you the tools you need to make your relationship work. These books will surely provide some valuable insights if you are looking for a way to spice up your love life or simply learn how to better communicate with your partner.
- Love: The Psychology of Attraction: A Practical Guide to Successful Dating and a Happy Relationship
- Single, Dating, Engaged, Married: Navigating Life and Love in the Modern Age
- The Power of Four Bases for Relationships: Can You Hit a Home Run in a Relationship?
- Communication and Relationship: A Guide to Deeper Connection, Trust and Intimacy to Improve Communication and Strengthen Your Bond as a Couple
- Couple's Bucket List: 101 Fun, Engaging Dating Ideas
- ↑ Chapman, G. (2009). The five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. Moody Publishers.
- ↑ Mostova, O., Stolarski, M., & Matthews, G. (2022). I love the way you love me: Responding to partner's love language preferences boosts satisfaction in romantic heterosexual couples. PloS one, 17(6), e0269429. doi.org
- ↑ Krueger, R. B., Sweetman, M. M., Martin, M., & Cappaert, T. A. (2020). Self-Reflection as a Support to Evidence-Based Practice: A Grounded Theory Exploration. Occupational therapy in health care, 34(4), 320–350. doi.org
- ↑ Pressman, S. D., Matthews, K. A., Cohen, S., Martire, L. M., Scheier, M., Baum, A., & Schulz, R. (2009). Association of enjoyable leisure activities with psychological and physical well-being. Psychosomatic medicine, 71(7), 725–732. doi.org
- ↑ Sels, L., Ceulemans, E., Bulteel, K., & Kuppens, P. (2016). Emotional Interdependence and Well-Being in Close Relationships. Frontiers in Psychology, 7.
- ↑ Park, S. G., & Park, K. H. (2018). Correlation between nonverbal communication and objective structured clinical examination score in medical students. Korean journal of medical education, 30(3), 199–208. doi.org