Everybody is different, and this goes double for relationships. Each person has a way of expressing and receiving love – a ‘love language’ representing their commitment to their relationship. 1
Knowing how your partner expresses love is vital to strengthening your relationship and making it last. Let’s explore why understanding your partner’s love language is crucial and how to identify it.
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.
The significance of love languages
As a concept, love languages have been around for decades. They define how people give and receive love in relationships, and understanding your partner’s language can go a long way to ensure they feel appreciated. 2
Gary Chapman, the author of the book ‘The Five Love Languages’, says everyone has ‘love tanks’ that need to be filled for them to feel loved and appreciated. Knowing how to fill your partner’s tank is key to a successful and long-lasting relationship. 3
Chapman identified five primary love languages. Here’s a brief overview of each one:
- Acts of service: Doing something helpful to show your love to your partner. Examples include doing the dishes without being asked, cooking their favorite meal, or taking care of errands.
- Quality time: Spending quality time with your partner, free from distractions and focused on them. This means no phones, no TV, just you and your partner talking, enjoying each other’s company.
- Words of affirmation: Expressing love through verbal communication such as compliments or praise. Showing support for their goals and aspirations is also part of this language.
- Physical touch: Giving physical affection such as hugs, kisses, or holding hands to show your love and appreciation.
- Gifts: Giving meaningful gifts as a way of expressing your love and appreciation. It doesn’t have to be crazy or expensive; even simple things like coffee can show you care.
Want to express love effectively? Explore how love languages can help you convey emotions more authentically.
10 Tips for identifying your partner’s love language
Knowing your partner’s love language isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. Here are some tips to help you find out what language your partner speaks:
1. Observe their behavior
Pay attention to how they show love and appreciation towards others, including yourself. Do they give compliments? Do they bring you coffee every morning? What are their go-to ways of expressing love?
Taking note of their behavior is a good starting point to identify what language they might speak. Notice what they do more often, which can give you a clue about their love language.
2. Practice active listening
Communication is the heart of any relationship, including how your partner expresses and receives love. Talk about it, ask them how they like to show and receive love, and actively listen to their answers. 4
When you practice active listening, maintain eye contact with your partner and listen carefully to their answers. Ask follow-up questions and echo their words to show you understand their thoughts and feelings. 5
Knowing how to listen is key to harmonizing an introvert-extrovert relationship. Discover effective strategies now.
3. Notice their requests
One good indicator of a person’s love language is how they ask for things. This could signify what they need to feel loved and appreciated.
If your partner always asks for time alone with you, quality time might be their language. If they constantly request compliments or positive affirmations, then words of affirmation might be how they want to receive love.
4. Pay attention to what they give
You can also pay attention to what your partner gives you and how they give it. Do they like giving surprises? Do they express love through physical touch?
How do they show their love when the two of you are apart? Does your partner like sending meaningful texts or gifts? This could give you a clue about their love language.
Paying attention to what sets you apart lays the foundation for harmonizing diverse personalities in couples. Discover expert insights now.
6. Consider their hobbies and interests
We all feel more appreciated and loved if our partner supports what we like. Consider your partner’s hobbies, what they enjoy doing in their spare time, and how you can show up for them.
For example, if your partner enjoys painting, you could support them by joining them for a session or buying them art supplies. If they like playing sports, you could join them and cheer from the sidelines or buy them tickets to a game.
7. Reflect on their complaints
Sometimes, complaints or grievances can tell you how your partner wants to be loved. And these complaints don’t always have to be about you or your relationship; they could be about anything.
Take a step back and reflect on their complaints. Do they say something more than once? Is there a pattern in how they express themselves? This can give you an indication of what language they speak.
8. Discuss the concept together
Openness and honesty are important for any relationship. Talk about love languages, and see if it resonates with your partner. 6
Discuss the different types of love languages and see how your partner feels about them. Ask them which one they identify with, and talk about how you can best express your love in a way that resonates with them.
Knowing how to discuss topics as a couple with varying communication styles is essential.
9. Explore love language quizzes
With the concept of love languages becoming more popular, there are now lots of quizzes available to help identify a person’s language. So, why not take a quiz together and have some fun?
Take an online quiz or try out a love language-themed game night. This can be a great way to learn more about each other and identify your partner’s language creatively and enjoyably.
10. Adapt and experiment
People’s love languages might change over time or not fit perfectly into any of the five categories. So, don’t be afraid to try new things and experiment with different ways to express your love.
Flexibility and communication are key to any successful relationship, and just because something didn’t work out once doesn’t mean you should give up. 7
Sometimes, the best way to discover your partner’s love language is simply by trying different things and observing how they respond. When showing love or appreciation, pay attention to nonverbal cues such as body language or facial expressions.
At the end of the day, 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
- ↑ Chapman, G. (2014). The 5 love Languages for Men: Tools for Making a Good Relationship Great. Moody Publishers.
- ↑ De Netto, P. M., Quek, K. F., & Golden, K. J. (2021). Communication, the Heart of a Relationship: Examining Capitalization, Accommodation, and Self-Construal on Relationship Satisfaction. Frontiers in psychology, 12, 767908. doi.org
- ↑ Weger, H., Bell, G. C., Minei, E., & Robinson, M. J. (2014). The Relative Effectiveness of Active Listening in Initial Interactions. International Journal of Listening, 28(1), 13–31. doi.org
- ↑ Zhou, Y., Wang, K., Chen, S., Zhang, J., & Zhou, M. (2017). An Exploratory Investigation of the Role of Openness in Relationship Quality among Emerging Adult Chinese Couples. Frontiers in psychology, 8, 382.
- ↑ Zhou, M., & Lin, W. (2016). Adaptability and Life Satisfaction: The Moderating Role of Social Support. Frontiers in psychology, 7, 1134. doi.org