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By now, most of us have probably learned something about love languages. These are the main five ways that people can show or receive love: words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts of service, and receiving gifts. There are plenty of quizzes for you to figure out which language(s) best fit who you are; but how do we figure out what our partner needs? Speaking from the unique experience of being in an almost five-year-long relationship this early in life, I have learned that how I want to show or receive affection is not always how my boyfriend wants to show or receive affection. It is very important to understand that what your partner may need can be different from what you want to give them. So, if you happen to be struggling with how to love your partner in their love language, here are some examples and tips!


Words of Affirmation

Considering that I am a writer, words of affirmation are really powerful for me; however, it is really difficult not to constantly ask for reassurance or sweet words any time I feel anxious or sad. If you know your partner needs to hear things to confirm their love, send them sweet texts or leave voice recordings on their phone that they can go back and read/listen to later! If you are feeling creative or know that they would enjoy it, write a hand-written letter of your feelings towards them. And if you’re musically talented, you could even write them a song and sing it to them. There’s a variety of ways to tell someone you love them, so don’t hesitate to let your partner know how much you appreciate them!


Quality Time

I am very grateful that my boyfriend is as much of a homebody as I am, so spending quality time together doesn’t take much effort to make us both happy. However, sometimes it can be hard for couples to feel like they are spending enough time together, especially if they have been busy lately. A great way to spend quality time with your partner could be through an activity: baking/cooking, painting, shopping, road-tripping on the weekend, dancing, etc. No matter what you are doing, make sure it is something that you both enjoy! Even if you are hanging out at home, binge-watch a show that only the two of you watch when you’re with each other. This creates not only something for both of you to look forward to doing together, but also leads to great conversations about the show!


Physical Touch

In the past year with the COVID-19 pandemic, people whose top love language is physical touch have felt very deprived and lonely. However, if you are in a relationship with someone who values physical touch, there are many things you can do to make sure that they feel loved. To start, physical touch does not mean strictly sexual and intimate touch; people who appreciate physical touch enjoy long hugs and snuggling. Sometimes, being held is all your partner may need to feel your love, especially if they are going through a stressful time. Holding your partner’s hand when going grocery shopping or sitting close together on the couch are also sweet gestures to physically reassure them of your love.


Acts of Service

If your partner enjoys receiving acts of service, that means they appreciate when you do things for them. This is a stark contrast from words of affirmation because this love language focuses on how actions are worth more to a person than words. So, you may be wondering, what acts count as service? Anything that helps them out: cooking them their favorite meal after a long day, doing household chores while they’re out of the house or taking care of them when they’re not feeling well. My boyfriend’s top love language is acts of service and it took me a while to figure out what I could do for him that he would appreciate. Even after learning what your partner may value, it still does take time to learn how to actually show the love that they want to receive.


Receiving Gifts

Though this is the most direct love language, gift-giving can be very tricky if you are not sure that your partner values receiving gifts. Sometimes gifts can be seen as not being sincere or genuine in showing your affection, so make sure that you and your partner are on the same page about what a gift symbolizes. When you are buying or making a gift for your partner, try to think more about what the gift will mean to them instead of how you will feel giving it to them. Buying your partner their favorite candy or getting them something you know they’ve been wanting are simple “just because” gift ideas. The key to understanding this love language is imagining what your gift will mean to your partner, what they will feel or think about every time they look at it or use it. 


So, to wrap up…

Check out this graphic if you want a quick and easy way to remember what each language focuses on and how to show your partner love in ways they want to receive it.

Also, if you and your partner want to have deeper conversations and learn more about each other’s love languages, I highly recommend this card game that you can buy on Amazon! There are five categories that cover a variety of topics with questions that you can spend hours having thoughtful discussions about. My boyfriend bought this for us this past Christmas and we play this game on road-trips or during rainy days. Card games like these are great ways to build stronger connections with your partner and learn more about each other’s love languages at any stage of your relationship!

Ashley is majoring in English Literature and Psychology at Elon University. She is from South Florida and loves to spend time relaxing at the beach! On campus, she is the Copy Editor for Elon's yearbook and works at Elon's Writing Center. On her free time, you can probably find her reading thrillers, writing poetry, or binge-watching "The Handmaid's Tale" on Hulu!
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