Relationship

A guide to love languages

Love languages can be the key to successful relationships in life. Learn about the various love languages and find out which one you and your loved ones speak.

Dating Expert Janet Smith September 26, 2022 • 39 minutes read
On this page

In a world where love is often fleeting, it can be tough to find somebody who loves you for who you are. Being able to express our love and be reciprocated is a crucial part of any relationship. However, it can be challenging to effectively express the ways we want to love and be loved and have our loved ones understand us.

One solution to this problem is to learn your “love language.” Love language is a concept developed by Dr. Gary Chapman, a renowned anthropologist, speaker, author, and marriage counselor with a special interest in people and the art of communicating successfully to help individuals form long-term partnerships. He theorized in 1992 that there are five ways people give and receive love: quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, and physical touch.[1]

While some of these might come more naturally to you than others, it’s important to be aware of all five and try to understand these concepts to better communicate with your loved ones. If communicated properly, love languages can be used as a powerful tool in building strong and lasting relationships.

So, what do these five love languages mean? And what do they say about how we express our love for others? Let’s take a closer look.

What is love in a relationship?

If there is a topic that could launch a million debates, “what is love?” would definitely be it. After all, love means different things to different people. For example, in 1970, Social psychologist Zick Rubin outlined the differences between love and liking using three dimensions: intimacy, caring, and attachment. Rubin even developed a 13-item scale for both love and liking that is still used in research today.[2]

Other researchers have proposed different definitions of love. Psychologist Robert Sternberg’s triangular theory of love posits that love has three components: passion, intimacy, and commitment.[3] Passion refers to the intense emotions and physical desires we feel when attracted to someone. Intimacy is the emotional connection we feel with someone. And commitment is the decision to stick with someone despite the challenges that inevitably come up in any relationship.

When we love, we often feel the need to feel closeness, connectedness, and bondedness with the object of our affection. Chapman refers to this as our’ love tank’ and posits that it needs to be filled for us to satiate our emotional need to feel loved.[4]

But how do we fill someone’s love tank? According to Chapman, we do so by speaking their love language. In other words, we need to express our love in a way they can understand and appreciate. Chapman and Randy Southern say that once you have determined and spoken your spouse’s primary love language, “you will have discovered the key to a long-lasting, loving marriage.” [5]

Individuals will often understand and convey their love using their primary love language (LL), but they may also learn and employ a second love language.[5] Expressing love in a way your partner understands, whether through their primary or secondary LL, is crucial and can help promote a deeper level of intimacy in your relationship. It has also been found to be linked with increased relationship and sexual satisfaction among heterosexual couples.[6]


5 Love Languages

It has long been known that social relationships are vital for our physical and mental health. [7] Language is a form of communication, and the way we communicate can impact and shape our interpersonal and social relationships.[8] Therefore, it is imperative that we learn how to communicate effectively with our loved ones, and the five love languages provide a framework for doing so.

Maybe you’re having trouble figuring out a love language of a loved one. Perhaps you’re learning about your own. Or perhaps you’re just curious about what the five love languages are. Here’s an overview of the five love languages to help you better understand how to express and receive love.

1. Words of Affirmation

Verbal compliments, expressions of appreciation, and words of affection all fall under the love language of words of affirmation. People who speak this love language feel loved when their loved ones use kind and affirming words to build them up. Meaningful conversations, shared stories, and listening also fall under this category.

The power of compliments is often underestimated, but it has been shown to boost self-esteem, [9] improve cognitive performance, [10] increase efficacy, [11] and increase security and relationship satisfaction.[12] A simple “I love you,” “You’re doing a great job,” or “I’m proud of you” can go a long way in filling someone’s love tank.

Do you feel loved when your partner expresses their love for you verbally? If so, then you probably have a strong preference for words of affirmation as your love language.

To love someone who speaks this love language, try the following:

If you’re not used to expressing your love verbally, it may feel awkward or forced at first. But the more you do it, the easier it will become. People who give compliments often overestimate how uncomfortable their recipient will feel, [13] so don’t be afraid to try it.

Do it a little bit every day, and you’ll soon be speaking your partner’s love language fluently.

2. Quality time

People who speak the love language of quality time place a high value on togetherness. They feel loved when they can spend one-on-one time with their loved ones, without distractions. Quality time can be anything from going on a date to walking together to simply sitting and talking.

Giving someone your undivided attention lets them know that they are important to you and that you value them. Even the little gestures, like making eye contact and putting away your phone when you’re talking to them, can make a big difference. Interactions like these and investing time into spending quality time together can help predict greater well-being and improve relationship satisfaction.[14]

If you feel loved when you’re spending time with your partner and they’re fully present, then quality time is probably your love language.

On the other hand, if you know someone who speaks this love language, ensure that you give them dedicated attention when you’re together. This means turning off your phone, making eye contact, and being present in the moment.[1] Try to avoid multitasking or letting other things interfere with your time together.

It can also be helpful to set aside regular “quality time” with your loved one, whether it’s planning romantic dates or scheduling weekly family game nights. This way, you can ensure that closeness is built into your relationship, [15] and you’ll always have something to look forward to.

3. Receiving Gifts

The love language of receiving gifts is all about the thought behind the present. It’s not about how much money you spend, but rather the effort and meaning behind the gift. You’ll know you’re speaking this love language if you feel loved when your partner gives you a present or if you thoughtfully select gifts for your loved ones.

Gift-giving is often an overlooked way to show love, but it can be a powerful way to express your affection. It has even been found to affect not just the recipient’s happiness, but also the giver’s.[16]

When thinking about what gifts to give, try to personalize them as much as possible. Focus on quality over quantity, and look for gifts that will be meaningful to the recipient. If you’re not sure what they would like, ask their friends or family. Or, better yet, pay attention to the hints they drop!

Receiving gifts can be a love language that is often misunderstood. Many people think it’s just about materialistic items, but it’s really about the thought and meaning behind the gift. Receiving gifts is a wonderful way to show someone how much you think of them.

If you know someone whose love language is receiving gifts, make sure to put some thought into your presents, and they’ll be sure to appreciate it. And if you’re on the receiving end of a gift from someone whose love language is gift-giving, express your appreciation. Thank them for their thoughtfulness, and let them know how much you love the gift.

4. Acts of Service

Taking out the trash, doing the dishes, cooking them a meal… these might not sound like romantic gestures, but they can be if your partner’s love language is acts of service. This love language centers around the things you do to help your loved one, and it’s all about making their life easier.

If you often find yourself doing things for your partner without being asked, or if you feel loved when they do things for you, then acts of service is probably your love language.

When you dedicate time to doing something special for someone, it lets them know that you care about their happiness and well-being. Something as simple as taking care of a chore they hate can make a big difference. Some studies even suggest that equally sharing housework between married couples is linked to long-term relationship processes, health, and well-being.[17]

So, if you know someone whose love language is acts of service, try to think of ways that you can help them out. Even if it’s just doing a small chore for them, it’ll mean the world to them. Plan a special evening for them, complete with their favorite food, drink, and a movie. Or, do something nice for them out of the blue, like filling up their car with gasoline or taking their dog for a walk. Whatever you do, make sure it’s coming from a place of love and thoughtfulness.

5. Physical Touch

Physical touch has long been known to be an essential part of human connection, and it can be a powerful love language. This love language is all about affection, both sexual and non-sexual. From holding hands to cuddling to intimacy, physical touch can communicate love in a way that words cannot.

Just the act of being touched has been linked with several health benefits. It can lower blood pressure and heart rate, release oxytocin (the “cuddle hormone”), and boost immunity.[18] [19] It has also been suggested to lower levels of loneliness.[20] Physical touch, even amongst individuals in non-romantic relationships, is beneficial and has been associated with increased feelings of closeness.[21]

You might find that you’re constantly reaching out to touch your loved ones in some ways when you have this love language. Leaning on them when you’re feeling sad, wrapping your arms around them when you’re happy, cuddling with them when you’re watching TV… these are all ways you can physically touch your loved ones and make them feel loved.

If you know someone whose love language is physical touch, try to be more affectionate with them. Hold their hand, give them a hug, or even just sit close to them. Even non-sexual touch, like massages or back scratches, can be a way to show your love. Physical touch is an amazing way to connect with someone and make them feel loved, so don’t be afraid to get a little touchy-feely with your loved ones.

Everyone has different love languages, and being familiar with the five love languages is important. Remember that love languages are often subconscious; we usually don’t think about or plan how to express love, we just do it.

However, being aware of love languages can help you to understand yourself and your loved ones better, and it can also help you to express love in a way that is more likely to be reciprocated. So, take some time to think about which love languages resonate with you and your loved ones, and start expressing your love in a way that is sure to be appreciated.


How do you know you love someone

Outlining the different love languages can help individuals to understand how they express love, and how they feel loved by others. However, identifying the signs that you love someone isn’t as clear-cut and can be more challenging to understand.

In general, loving someone has been described as a propensity to think, feel, and behave positively toward another.[22] The neuropsychology of love has also gained some attention in recent years, and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has allowed us to see a specialized network of the brain involved in the neural processes behind love.[23] Furthermore, current biological evidence suggests that the hormones oxytocin, vasopressin, dopamine, serotonin, testosterone, cortisol, and the morphinergic system may also play a role in love and attachment.[24]

Indeed, love is a complex emotion, and thinking about whether you love someone or not may require a lot of introspection and self-awareness. And while there’s no one answer to the question, “How do you know you love someone?” here are some signs that may indicate you’re in love:

1. You can’t get them out of your head

Do you find yourself constantly thinking about your loved one, even when they’re not around? When you love someone, it’s natural to want to be around them as much as possible. And even when you can’t be with them, you may find yourself thinking about them all the time.

Especially during the infatuation stage - where your feelings might be the most intense, [25] you might find getting them out of your head practically impossible. At this stage, you might also find your feelings involuntary and uncontrollable.[27]

2. You want to make them happy

When you love someone, their happiness is important to you. And you may find yourself going out of your way to make them happy and to please them. Whether it’s cooking their favorite meal, buying them a gift, or just doing something nice for them, you want to see them smile, and you want to make them happy.

You might also find yourself having a better memory of things that make them happy and things that they don’t like. And this is because, when you love someone, their happiness matters to you, and you want to do everything you can to make them happy. Intense feelings of love have also been associated with improved performance on mental tasks.[26]

Doing things to make your loved one happy - even if it’s something that you wouldn’t normally do - is a sign that you’re in love.

3. Everything feels exciting when you’re with them

Being in love can make everything feel more exciting and new. When you’re around your loved one, you might find yourself feeling more alive and more energized. And you might also find yourself wanting to try new things and experience life in a whole new way.

This is because being in love can activate the brain’s reward system and produce feelings of pleasure.[28] So, if you find yourself feeling more excited and enthusiastic when you’re around your loved one, it could be a sign that you’re in love.

4. You begin planning the future

Thinking about the future is another sign that you’re in love. When you love someone, you might find yourself wanting to plan your future with them. This could involve things like getting married, having children, or buying a house together.

You might also start setting goals for yourself that you want to achieve with your loved one. For example, you might start working out more or eating healthier so that you can spend more years with them. You might also find yourself working harder towards these interpersonal goals, even if your partner isn’t around.[29]

5. You start accepting their flaws

Nobody’s perfect, and when you love someone, you start to see them for who they really are - flaws and all. You might find yourself more forgiving of their mistakes and more understanding of their shortcomings.

And while you might not love all of their quirks and idiosyncrasies, you start to see them as part of who they are - and you love them anyway. This might start to happen once you come off the high of the infatuation stage and enter the attachment stage, where rather than intense feelings, there is a more comforting feeling of emotional bond between the two of you.[3]

6. You feel a sense of safety and security when you’re with them

Humans are fundamentally social creatures, and we all need to feel a sense of connection and belonging. To feel safe and secure, we need to feel like we’re part of a group or community. And when you love someone, you start to depend on them for this sense of safety and security.[30]

You might find yourself feeling more secure when you’re around your loved one and less anxious about the future. And you might also start to rely on them for emotional support when you’re going through tough times. This dependence can be a sign of love, but it’s important to make sure that it doesn’t turn too unhealthy, as this can lead to codependency.[31]

7. Everything reminds you of them

Do you find yourself thinking about your loved one all the time? Do you see them in everything, even when they’re not there? This is because your brain starts making associations between your loved one and all the things that make you happy.

For example, if you see a song on the radio that reminds you of your loved one, hearing it might make you feel happy. Or if you see a couple holding hands, it might remind you of the time when your loved one held your hand. These reminders can trigger happy memories and make you feel good, and they can even facilitate creative and analytical thinking processes in your brain.[32]

If you find that you’ve been exhibiting these seven signs, it’s likely that you’re in love. Of course, love is different for everyone, so you might experience some of these signs more strongly than others. And if you’re not sure whether you’re in love or not, that’s OK too - sometimes, the best way to figure it out is just to ask your partner how they feel.


How to show affection

In a relationship, it’s natural to want to show your partner that you love and care for them. This could mean showing them affection in different ways - through words, actions, or gifts. Relationship satisfaction often comes down to how well each partner feels loved and supported, [33] so it’s important to find ways to show affection that works for both of you.

Of course, the way you show your affection can also depend on your and your partner’s love language. So, that could either be thorough acts of service, like cooking dinner or doing the grocery shopping; quality time, like spending time together and talking; physical touch, like hugging, kissing, or cuddling; or receiving gifts, like buying each other thoughtful presents or taking them on special dates.

However, sometimes it can be challenging to figure out how to show your partner affection, especially if you’re not used to expressing your emotions. If this is the case, don’t worry - there are plenty of ways to show your affection that don’t require big gestures or grandiose displays of emotion. Here are some simple ideas.

1. Tell them how you feel.

Sometimes, the most important thing you can do is simply tell your partner how much you love and appreciate them. Honesty builds trust and strengthens the relationship.[34] And this can be a great way to make them feel good and let them know that they’re important to you.

You don’t have to be overly emotional or gushy - just a simple, honest statement of how you feel can be enough. For example, you could say something like, “I really appreciate everything you do for me,” or “I’m so grateful to be with you.”

2. Do something special for them.

You can also show your affection by doing something special for your partner that you know they’ll appreciate. This could be anything from cooking their favorite meal to taking care of a task that they don’t have time for.

It’s the thought that counts, so even something small can be a great way to show your partner that you care. And it doesn’t have to be anything extravagant - sometimes, the simplest things can be the most meaningful. Doing things for your partner won’t only make them feel loved, but it can also make you feel good too.[35]

3. Spend time with them.

One of the best ways to show your partner that you care is to simply spend time with them. Make time for them in your schedule, even if it’s just for a few minutes each day. This can be anything from going on a walk together to having a conversation. Couples who spend time together often report greater happiness than when they spend time apart.[36]

It’s important to really be present when you’re with your partner, and to focus on giving them your full attention. Turn off your phone, put away any distractions, and make an effort to really listen to what they’re saying. This can be a great way to show them that you care about them and to build a stronger connection.

4. Touch them.

If your partner is comfortable with it, physical touch can be a great way to show affection. Try hugging them, kissing them, or simply holding their hand. This can be an amazing way to build intimacy and to make them feel loved and supported. Cuddling can also be a great way to de-stress and bond with your partner.[37]

Of course, it’s important to ensure that your partner is comfortable with physical touch and respect their personal boundaries. Only touch them in ways that they’re comfortable with, and make sure to get consent before you do anything.

5. Give them a gift.

Giving your partner a gift is another great way to show your affection. It doesn’t have to be anything big or expensive - sometimes, the simplest gifts can be the most meaningful. It could be something that you know they need, or something that you think they’ll appreciate.

You could also give them a gift that’s more personal, like a homemade card or a photo album of your favorite memories together. Whatever you choose, make sure that it comes from the heart.

6. Plan a special day.

If you really want to show your partner how much you care, you could plan a special day for them. Or not even a day, a special night could also work. This could be anything from a picnic in the park to a candlelit dinner.

Doing so can promote closeness and intimacy,[15] and it can be a great way to show your partner that you’re willing to put in the effort to make them happy. Plus, it can be a lot of fun to plan something special together.

7. Listen to them.

Regardless of how silly and obvious it sounds, just listening to your partner can be a great way to show that you care. This means really hearing what they’re saying, and trying to understand their perspective. It can be easy to get caught up in our own lives and perspectives, but making an effort to see things from your partner’s point of view can be a great way to show that you care.

Active listening can be incredibly beneficial for relationships, especially during intimate and difficult moments. It can help to satisfy basic psychological needs, in particular, autonomy and relatedness.[38] So, try to really listen to your partner next time they’re talking to you, and see how it makes them feel.

8. Express through your eyes.

When we love someone, it shows through our eyes. Look at your partner with kindness, compassion, and understanding. Let them know that you’re happy to be with them just by the way you look at them.

This is a nonverbal way of saying, “I love you,” that can be very powerful. Paired with physical contact, eye contact can be a powerful way to show your partner how much you love them.[39] It might take some practice to really let the love show in your eyes, but once you get the hang of it, it can be a great way to connect with your partner.

There are many different ways to show your partner that you care, but these eight ways are a great place to start. If you want to show your partner how much you love them, try out some of these tips. And who knows? They might just have a few ideas of their own to share with you.

Want to know more tips on how to feel closer to your partner? Check out these easy, everyday ways to show them how much you care.


FAQ about Love Languages

1. What is love?

Love is a deep tendency to care for someone else and to feel connected to them. [22] For many years, researchers have been trying to understand what love is, and how it works.

Psychologist Robert Sternberg suggested that there are three main components to love: intimacy, passion, and commitment.[3] Some scholars believe that companionate love is a combination of intimacy and commitment, but others see intimacy as the central element, with commitment coming as the second.[42] Researchers Clyde and Susan Hendrick believed that there are many types of love, each with its own unique set of characteristics.[40]

In general, love is thought to involve a state of intense longing for union with another, [41] or the affection we feel for those with whom our lives are deeply entwined.[41]

2. What are love languages?

Love languages are the way we each express and experience love. They were first introduced by Dr. Gary Chapman in his 1992 book, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.[4]

The idea was that people had ‘love tanks’, or their need for love, which could be filled up by different actions. Chapman suggested that everyone has a ‘primary love language’, or the way they most like to receive and express their love, but they can also develop a ‘secondary love language’ as time goes on.[5]

3. What are the 5 basic love languages?

Gary Chapman described five basic love languages that people use to express and receive love. [4] These are:

Everyone has their own unique love language, and it is often based on our own individual needs and preferences. It is important to remember that we all express and experience love differently, so what may seem like a small gesture to one person could be a big deal for someone else.

4. Are there more than 5 love languages?

After being adapted into several versions, Chapman’s original five love languages have been expanded by other proponents to include up to seven different love languages. [43] However, the most commonly accepted version still includes the original five love languages.

Because Chapman’s original version was thought to be geared towards white heterosexual Christian couples, efforts to make it more inclusive have been made over the years. Some variations of Chapman’s original work cater to LGBTQ+, interracial, and non-conforming couples.

While there are different versions of love languages, the most important thing is to simply be aware of the different ways that people express and experience love. By understanding our own love language, as well as the love language of our loved ones, we can better communicate our needs and create a stronger, more lasting bond.

5. What are the 7 types of love languages?

Truity, an online personality test provider, has a slightly different take on love languages than Chapman. [44] After having surveyed over 500,000 people in a study, they came up with seven different love languages that people use.[43] These are the following:

6. What is the most common love language for guys?

It has long been thought there are differences in how men and women express love, but the answer to this question is far more nuanced and can vary greatly depending on the individual. Previously, researchers and theorists have argued that men are more likely to express love through physical touch, acts of service, or quality time while women are more likely to express love through words of affirmation and quality time.[46]

However, recent research has suggested that love languages are actually more culturally influenced than they are gendered. This means that the love language an individual uses is more likely to be determined by the culture they grew up in rather than their gender.[47]

So, while there is no definitive answer to this question, it is important to remember that everyone expresses love in their unique way. The best way to find out what love language your partner uses is to simply ask them.

7. How do I know what love language I give?

To know what love language you give, simply ask yourself how you express your affection for your loved ones. Do you like to spend time with them doing activities that you both enjoy? Do you tell them how much you appreciate them? Do you love picking out thoughtful gifts for them? Do you enjoy doing things for them or helping them with errands? Do you like giving them hugs and physical touch? Do you find yourself always wanting to learn more about them and engage them in intellectually stimulating conversations?

Your answers to these questions will give you a good idea of which love languages you tend to use. If you find that you use multiple love languages, that is perfectly normal! Even Chapman agreed that individuals usually have a “primary” and “secondary” love language.[5]

If you’re still unsure about which love languages you use, there are plenty of online quizzes that can help you figure it out. Just be sure to take them with a grain of salt, as they are not always accurate. The best way to know for sure is to ask your loved ones how they feel most loved by you.

8. What determines your love language?

Your love language, just like your personality and other aspects, can be determined by various things such as your upbringing, culture, and past experiences.

For example, if you grew up in a family where physical touch was not a common way of expressing affection, you may be less likely to use or even understand physical touch as a love language. Alternatively, if you come from a culture where gift-giving shows love, you may be more likely to express your others through gifts.

So, it is important to be aware of the various ways you can express love so that you can find the love language that works best for you and your loved ones.

9. Can your love language change?

As with almost everything else in your life, your love language is not set in stone and can change over time as you experience different things and meet different people. A part of growing up is learning about yourself and what makes you happy, and as you do so, your love language may shift.

If you start a new job where you are constantly surrounded by people, you may find that your need for quality time decreases and your love language changes to physical touch or words of affirmation. Alternatively, if you have a baby, you may find that your love language changes to Acts of Service as you try to balance work and home life.

There is no wrong or right way to express love, so if your love language changes, don’t worry! Just be sure to communicate with your loved ones about how you are feeling and what they can do to make you feel loved.

10. Can you have 2 love languages?

Yes, you can have multiple love languages! In fact, it is quite common for people to have a “primary” and “secondary” love language.[5]

For example, you may find that your primary love language is quality time, but you also appreciate acts of service and words of affirmation. This is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about, and even Chapman himself said that individuals usually have a primary and secondary love language.

If you’re unsure about which love languages you use, there are many resources online that can help you figure it out. You can also seek out the help of your loved ones and ask them how they think you express love.

11. Is it possible not to have a love language?

No, everyone has a love language! Humans are inherently social begins and are driven to make connections with others.[48] Therefore, it is impossible not to have a love language. However, there is possibly a reason why you might think you don’t have one: your attachment style.

If you have an avoidant attachment style, you may be less likely to express your affection and your needs.[49] In this case, it may appear as though you don’t have a love language, when in reality, you may just have issues relaying your needs to others as a result of your attachment style.

Moreover, there are many different love languages beyond Chapman’s original book of Five Love Languages, so it is possible that you have not yet discovered which one works best for you. There are various online quizzes and resources that can help you learn more about your love language.

12. Are love languages genetic?

Little is known about the genetics of love languages, as the concept of love languages itself can be challenging to quantify. However, a Five Love Languages (FLL) scale has been created in an attempt to measure the different ways people express and receive love and has shown significant validity.[50]

While love languages may not be exactly genetic, they can be influenced by your environment and culture.[47] For example, if you grow up in a family where love is primarily expressed through acts of service, you may be more likely to see this as a normal and healthy way to express love.

On the other hand, if you grow up in a family where love is not openly expressed, you may have a harder time understanding and expressing love in general. Therefore, while love languages may not be genetic, they can certainly be influenced by your upbringing and environment.

13. How do love languages work?

The Five Love Languages theory posits that there are five ways to express and receive love: words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, gifts, and physical touch. According to the theory’s proponent, everyone has a ‘love tank’ that needs to be filled in order for them to feel loved, and each person has a ‘primary love language’ that corresponds to the way they give and receive love.[5]

For example, if your primary love language is quality time, you may feel loved when your partner spends time with you and vice versa. If your partner’s primary love language is acts of service, they may feel loved when you do things for them, such as cooking or cleaning.

It is important to note that everyone expresses and receives love differently, so communicating with your partner about your love languages is crucial. As the concept of love languages has started to gain popularity, there has been a common misconception that you need to find a partner who has a similar love language as you.

However, this is not the case and is quite contradictory to the reason Gary Chapman created the love languages theory in the first place. The idea behind love languages is that you can learn to love and be loved by understanding how your partner expresses and receives love, not that you should find someone who loves in the same way that you do.

14. Is talking a love language?

Talking can fall under two of Chapman’s five love languages: words of affirmation and quality time. If talking is a way for you to express your affection and needs, then words of affirmation would be your love language.

On the other hand, if talking is a way for you to spend time with your partner and feel close to them, then quality time would be your love language. If you go beyond Chapman’s five love languages and follow Truity’s test, talking can also fall under the love language of ‘intellectual’.[44]

Remember that talking can mean different things to different people, so it is crucial to communicate with your partner about what talking means to you and how it can be used to express love.

15. How do I learn my partner’s love language?

The best way to learn your partner’s love language is to ask them directly. You can also try to pay attention to the way they express love to you and to others.

If your partner is always doing thoughtful things for you, such as making you breakfast in bed or taking the dog for a walk, then acts of service is likely their love language. If your partner is always telling you how much they love you or complimenting you, then words of affirmation is likely their love language.

Love languages can also change over time, so knowing what your partner’s primary and secondary love languages may only be beneficial for only a certain period. Learn to foster an environment with your partner and loved ones that allows everyone to grow and change over time, because, just like anything else in life, a person’s love language may not stay permanent.


Secrets to a healthy relationship: Books every couple should read

It's no secret that a healthy relationship is key in a long-lasting and fulfilling relationship. This list of books about healthy relationships will help you learn how to communicate better, resolve conflict, and deepen your connection. From classic self-help books to more modern reads, these titles will give you the tools you need to build a strong and healthy relationship.

  1. Boundaries in Dating: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Relationships
  2. Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of Every Healthy Relationship
  3. Love More, Fight Less: Communication Skills Every Couple Needs: A Relationship Workbook for Couples
  4. Infidelity Recovery Workbook for Couples: Tools and Exercises to Rebuild Your Relationship
  5. Healthy Me, Healthy Us: Your Relationships Are Only as Strong as You Are

References

  1. Chapman, G. (2015, January 1). The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts (Reprint). Northfield Publishing.
  2. Rubin, Z. (1970). Measurement of romantic love. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 16(2), 265–273. doi.org
  3. Sternberg, R. J. (1986). A triangular theory of love. Psychological Review, 93(2), 119–135. doi.org
  4. Chapman, G. D. (1992, January 31). The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate (4th ed.). Northfield.
  5. Chapman, G. D., & Southern, R. (2015, January 1). The 5 Love Languages for Men: Tools for Making a Good Relationship Great. Northfield Publishing.
  6. 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
  7. Umberson, D., & Montez, J. K. (2010). Social relationships and health: a flashpoint for health policy. Journal of health and social behavior, 51 Suppl(Suppl), S54–S66. doi.org
  8. Antonucci, T. C., Ajrouch, K. J., & Manalel, J. A. (2017). Social Relations and Technology: Continuity, Context, and Change. Innovation in aging, 1(3), igx029. doi.org
  9. Hood, S. A., Olsen, A. E., Luczynski, K. C., & Randle, F. A. (2020). Improving accepting and giving compliments with individuals with developmental disabilities. Journal of applied behavior analysis, 53(2), 1013–1028. doi.org
  10. Martín-Loeches, M., Sel, A., Casado, P., Jiménez, L., & Castellanos, L. (2009). Encouraging expressions affect the brain and alter visual attention. PloS one, 4(6), e5920. doi.org
  11. Innes, K. L., Graham, J. D., & Bray, S. R. (2020). Effects of Peer Encouragement on Efficacy Perceptions and Physical Performance in Children. Journal of sport & exercise psychology, 1–9. Advance online publication. doi.org
  12. Marigold, D. C., Holmes, J. G., & Ross, M. (2007). More than words: reframing compliments from romantic partners fosters security in low self-esteem individuals. Journal of personality and social psychology, 92(2), 232–248. doi.org
  13. Boothby, E. J., & Bohns, V. K. (2020). Why a Simple Act of Kindness Is Not as Simple as It Seems: Underestimating the Positive Impact of Our Compliments on Others. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 47(5), 826–840. doi.org
  14. Hudson, N. W., Lucas, R. E., & Donnellan, M. B. (2020). The Highs and Lows of Love: Romantic Relationship Quality Moderates Whether Spending Time With One's Partner Predicts Gains or Losses in Well-Being. Personality & social psychology bulletin, 46(4), 572–589. doi.org
  15. Harasymchuk, C., Walker, D. L., Muise, A., & Impett, E. A. (2021). Planning date nights that promote closeness: The roles of relationship goals and self-expansion. Journal of social and personal relationships, 38(5), 1692–1709. doi.org
  16. Dunn, E. W., Aknin, L. B., & Norton, M. I. (2008). Spending Money on Others Promotes Happiness. Science, 319(5870), 1687–1688. doi.org
  17. Rodriguez-Stanley, J., Alonso-Ferres, M., Zilioli, S., & Slatcher, R. B. (2020). Housework, health, and well-being in older adults: The role of socioeconomic status. Journal of family psychology : JFP : journal of the Division of Family Psychology of the American Psychological Association (Division 43), 34(5), 610–620. doi.org
  18. Field, T. (2010). Touch for socioemotional and physical well-being: A review. Developmental Review, 30(4), 367–383. doi.org
  19. Jankowski, M., Bissonauth, V., Gao, L., Gangal, M., Wang, D., Danalache, B., Wang, Y., Stoyanova, E., Cloutier, G., Blaise, G., & Gutkowska, J. (2010). Anti-inflammatory effect of oxytocin in rat myocardial infarction. Basic Research in Cardiology, 105(2), 205–218. doi.org
  20. Heatley Tejada, A., Dunbar, R., & Montero, M. (2020). Physical Contact and Loneliness: Being Touched Reduces Perceptions of Loneliness. Adaptive human behavior and physiology, 6(3), 292–306. doi.org
  21. Prause, N., Siegle, G. J., & Coan, J. (2021). Partner intimate touch is associated with increased interpersonal closeness, especially in non-romantic partners. PloS one, 16(3), e0246065. doi.org
  22. Hendrick, C., & Hendrick, S. (1986). A theory and method of love. Journal of personality and social psychology, 50(2), 392.
  23. Bartels, A., & Zeki, S. (2000). The neural basis of romantic love. Neuroreport, 11(17), 3829-3834.
  24. Esch, T., & Stefano, G. B. (2005). The neurobiology of love. Neuroendocrinology Letters, 26(3), 175-192.
  25. Fisher, H. E. (1998). Lust, attraction, and attachment in mammalian reproduction. Human nature, 9(1), 23-52.
  26. Wlodarski, R., & Dunbar, R. I. M. (2014, December). The Effects of Romantic Love on Mentalizing Abilities. Review of General Psychology, 18(4), 313–321. doi.org
  27. Fisher, H. E., Aron, A., Mashek, D., Li, H., & Brown, L. L. (2002). Defining the brain systems of lust, romantic attraction, and attachment. Archives of sexual behavior, 31(5), 413-419.
  28. Toga, A. W. (2015). Brain mapping: An encyclopedic reference. Academic Press.
  29. Fitzsimons, G. M., & Bargh, J. A. (2003). Thinking of you: nonconscious pursuit of interpersonal goals associated with relationship partners. Journal of personality and social psychology, 84(1), 148–164.
  30. Murray, S. L., Lamarche, V., Seery, M. D., Jung, H. Y., Griffin, D. W., & Brinkman, C. (2021). The social-safety system: Fortifying relationships in the face of the unforeseeable. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 120(1), 99–130. doi.org
  31. Miller, S., L., & Maner, J. K. (2012). Over-perceiving disease cues: The basic cognition of the behavioral immune system. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102, 1198- 1213.
  32. Förster, J., Epstude, K., & Özelsel, A. (2009). Why Love Has Wings and Sex Has Not: How Reminders of Love and Sex Influence Creative and Analytic Thinking. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35(11), 1479–1491. doi.org
  33. Punyanunt-Carter, N. M. (2004). Reported Affectionate Communication and Satisfaction in Marital and Dating Relationships. Psychological Reports, 95(3_suppl), 1154–1160. doi.org
  34. Debnam, K. J., Howard, D. E., & Garza, M. A. (2014). If you don't have honesty in a relationship, then there is no relationship: African American girls' characterization of healthy dating relationships, a qualitative study. The journal of primary prevention, 35(6), 397–407. doi.org
  35. Yeung, J., Zhang, Z., & Kim, T. Y. (2017). Volunteering and health benefits in general adults: cumulative effects and forms. BMC public health, 18(1), 8. doi.org
  36. Flood, S. M., & Genadek, K. R. (2016). Time for Each Other: Work and Family Constraints Among Couples. Journal of marriage and the family, 78(1), 142–164. doi.org
  37. Muise, A., Giang, E., & Impett, E. A. (2014). Post Sex Affectionate Exchanges Promote Sexual and Relationship Satisfaction. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 43(7), 1391–1402. doi.org
  38. Weinstein, N., Itzchakov, G., & Legate, N. (2022, January 7). The motivational value of listening during intimate and difficult conversations. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 16(2). doi.org
  39. Jarick, M., & Bencic, R. (2019). Eye Contact Is a Two-Way Street: Arousal Is Elicited by the Sending and Receiving of Eye Gaze Information. Frontiers in psychology, 10, 1262. doi.org
  40. Hendrick, C. & Hendrick, S. (1986). A theory and method of love. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 50, 392-402.
  41. Berscheid, E., & Walster, E.H. (1978). Interpersonal attraction (2nd ed.). Reading, MA: Addison Wesley.
  42. Reis, H.T., & Patrick, B.C. (1996). Attachment and intimacy: Component processes. In A. Kruglanski & E.T. Higgins (Eds.), Social psychology: Handbook of basic principles (pp. 523–563). New York: Guilford.
  43. Garrison, N. (2022, February 28). The Five Original + The Seven New Love Languages. Claibourne Counseling. claibournecounseling.com
  44. 7 Love Styles Test. (2022, August 26). Truity. www.truity.com
  45. Yoo, H., Bartle-Haring, S., Day, R. D., & Gangamma, R. (2014). Couple communication, emotional and sexual intimacy, and relationship satisfaction. Journal of sex & marital therapy, 40(4), 275–293. doi.org
  46. Cancian, F. M. (1986). The feminization of love. Signs, 11, 692-709.
  47. Sprecher, S., & Toro-Morn, M. (2002). A study of men and women from different sides of Earth to determine if men are from Mars and women are from Venus in their beliefs about love and romantic relationships. Sex Roles, 46, 131-147.
  48. Young S. N. (2008). The neurobiology of human social behaviour: an important but neglected topic. Journal of psychiatry & neuroscience : JPN, 33(5), 391–392.
  49. Kombe, J., & Nowak, J. (n.d.). Associations Between Attachment Styles and Preferred Love Languages. Wittenberg University. www.wittenberg.edu
Share this article: Facebook Pinterest WhatsApp Twitter
Share this article:
Dating Expert

Janet Smith

Janet Smith is a freelance writer who writes about psychology, relationships, and dating. She has always been interested in understanding the human brain and how it affects our …

Read full bio

More articles you might like

People who are reading “A guide to love languages”, also reading these articles:

Browse all articles