Who doesn’t love receiving affection from their partner? Surprise flowers, impulsive romantic cards (as well as the obligatory Valentine’s Day card), or simply an unexpected hug can instantly lift your mood and remind you that your partner loves you without them needing to say it. But did you know there might be a specific type of affection that each of us prefers? Do you have a certain love language you prefer? Do you even know what the different love languages are? Well hustle on in here, and get ready to learn all about the language of luuurve.
What are love languages?
When we talk about love language types, we don’t just mean French or Italian. While certainly attractive accents, the ‘5 love languages’ is a theory that refers to the different ways we express affection to our other half; not necessarily on a verbal level.
If you were to sit and people watch in a café or restaurant, it wouldn’t take you long to notice that different people communicate love in different ways. You only need to look at your past relationships and you’ll be able to spot which partner preferred lots of intimate contact, and which preferred being complimented regularly.
Love languages are just someone’s preferred way of receiving love. It’s what makes them feel appreciated and acts as an affirmation of their partner’s affections. It’s been suggested that understanding your partner’s preferred love language, and vice-versa, can not only improve empathy and intimacy, but lead to a more meaningful relationship overall.
What are the five love languages?
According to the love languages theory, there are 5 key different love languages that we experience. Each of us can experience warmth for our partner from them, but the love languages suggest that we ultimately have one language that we prefer above the others.
Below are the five core love languages and what they mean:
Words of affirmation
Does your heart skip a beat when your partner says I love you? Does an out of the blue compliment make your day and leave you beaming? People who prefer this love language enjoy frequent compliments, verbal and written expressions of love, and positive acknowledgement of their actions. Verbal or written communication is the key to their hearts.
Those who favour this love language want to actively spend time with their partner. This doesn’t mean simply being in the room with them. They desire active listening, eye contact in conversation, and meaningful shared activities without any distractions. They want their partner to be with them in the moment instead of scrolling Twitter. And honestly, who wouldn’t?
The love language of gifts doesn’t necessarily mean you like being showered with presents at all times; it’s far more nuanced than that. For someone who interprets love through gifts, the giving of a present acts as a visual symbol of their partner’s love. It’s not the monetary value that matters, however, rather the meaning behind it. They appreciate the careful gift selection and the giving process, enjoying gifts that are physical but meaningful, like their favourite scented candle or indulgent chocolate.
Acts of service
It’s often the little things in life that people really appreciate, like going out of your way to make your partner’s life easier by making their morning coffee, favourite lunch, or bringing them food when sick. Doing chores unasked or treating them without prompting are all things that mean the most to those that favour this language. They appreciate you showing your love through actions rather than words.
The simplest of all the love language types, touch is as simple as hugging, holding hands, and snuggling under a blanket on the couch after a long day – and yes, it does also include sex, stop sniggering in the back there. For people who prefer this language, consensual touch serves as a powerful emotional connector, one that is the most important for them.
What are the most common love language types?
As you can see, the five different love languages leave a lot of room for people to show affection to one another. But there are a few different love languages that see a wider appreciation than others.
You might be surprised to find out that studies conducted under the theory found that words of affirmation and quality time tended to be the most appreciated form of love language. This just goes to show that, while physical affection, gifts, and the little things are nice, actually communicating with and being around your partner are what matter the most in many relationships.
That being said, the type of love language someone prefers often comes down to gender and cultural norms. For example, different love languages are preferred in the east compared to the west, where public compliments and displays of affection are less common.
How to find your love language
So, now we’ve covered what are the five love languages, are you curious to find out what yours is?
There are many ways that you can decipher your love language, including visiting the official 5 love languages website. You could also take one of the numerous quizzes available online or pick up one of the many books on the subject.
Of course, you could also sit down and think about how you like to be show affection, which might help you decide which language you prefer. Or failing that, try experiencing them all and see which one you prefer.
Tips for dating other love languages
If you want to put the love languages theory into practice in your romantic life, here are a few suggestions on how to compliment your partner’s specific love language.
Word of affirmation
Compliment your partner often, especially when you notice good things about them or cool things they do. If you find that you’re being critical, make sure it’s constructive criticism so they know you’re not just being mean.
Try to make intentional space in your schedule, letting you fit simple things in regularly once or twice a week and leaving more time for adventurous activities once or twice a month. You should also put your phone away during conversations or personal time, so you’re not distracted.
Acts of service
Do little things for your partner as and when you can. Making their morning coffee with yours, or breakfast in bed as treat, will no doubt be appreciated. But don’t always just do things for the sake of doing them. Often, asking what they need help with can be just as important.
Note down in your calendar when all your special occasions are. Your anniversary, their birthday – knowing when these events are will give you plenty of time to find the perfect gift for them. There’s also no harm in buying ‘just because’ gifts, especially if you spot something you know they’ll love.
If you know your partner really cares about being hugged and kissed, then all you need to do is make sure you give them one when you see them. Cuddling, holding hands, or… whatever you like to get up to in the bedroom, all of these are fun ways to show affection.
Just remember, while it might be exciting and beneficial to try out aspects of this theory, the 5 love languages is just that: a theory. Leaning too hard into it could cause unnecessary strain on your relationship by putting pressure on yourself or your partner. More importantly, finding yours and your partners love languages is no substitute for fixing genuine relationship problems. If you want to experiment with the 5 love languages, applying them little but often is fine, just don’t go overboard.
If you’re looking to show appreciation for your partner this Valentine’s Day, or you’re looking for that ideal gift to surprise them with, we’ve a wide selection of brilliant presents over in the thortful store. From candle and tea sets to socks and bubbly, we’ve something for everyone. You can also pick up a tailored card while you’re there from one of our unique creators.
And if you need ideas on how to celebrate your next special occasion, be sure to head over to the thortful blog where we have tips on everything from what to write in your first-anniversary card to choosing the colours for your wedding.