How to Love Your Partner and Yourself: The Five Love Languages Explained
Photographed by Quinn McCaffrey of Brynn Beauchamp, Charlee Wright, Chevy Koski, Sydney Thriller and Marina Rose
By Marisa Fisher
It is said that everyone shows love in a unique way. Whether you enjoy taking your partner out on a shopping spree or spending your night at home watching a movie, the way you demonstrate love to others is heavily affected by the way you feel most loved. These differences are best explained by the five love languages, a theory that shows that people tend to favor one of the specific types of affection and feel most loved when their partner caters to that love language. Although this theory originated in the form of relationships, love languages can also be applied to self-love and friendships. Now is the time to identify your love language, or your partners, and learn how to use it to love them and yourself to the best of your ability!
Starting with the easiest to identify, if the best part of your day is hugging your partner after a long day at work or holding hands while you are out on a walk, your love language may be physical touch. People who value physical touch enjoy even the smallest touches whether it is a kiss on the cheek or a simple brush on the arm. Although this love language is presumably the easiest to understand and execute, it should not be treated as a “low maintenance” language. As physical touch is one of the most natural languages in a relationship, it is important to find creative ways to show affection through touch.
If this sounds like your partner's love language, putting your arm around them in public, spending the day cuddling with them at home, or even offering a shoulder massage after a long day at work is one of the best ways to show your love. This love language can be especially difficult in long-distance relationships, however gifting your partner things such as a warm weighted blanket or a stuffed animal can be a creative way to still honor their love language from far away. If this description seems to fit you more than your partner, you can incorporate this into your self-care as well. While this may seem impossible without a partner, things like taking a warm bath or doing a simple skincare routine are relaxing ways to show yourself some love. If you have the extra money, it can also be rewarding to get a massage or even have a full spa day if physical touch is a priority.
Acts of Service
This love language is characterized by helping your partner with everyday tasks or going above and beyond with big gestures. These types of gestures can range from surprising them with a birthday party or just going to pick up their groceries when they are under the weather. With this love language, any help is appreciated, especially if it was not explicitly asked for.
If this sounds like something your partner enjoys, try offering to go on their daily errands with them, or offer to cook them a nice dinner when they are feeling stressed about work. Even simply doing the dishes is a sure-fire way to show how much you love someone whose love language is acts of service. With acts of service, it is the thought that counts, no matter how big or small the gesture. If this sounds a bit more your speed than your partners, it can be quite easy to incorporate acts of service into your self-care routine. Getting yourself organized and marking things off your to do list can be one of the most relaxing things possible for you! If you are looking for an activity that still involves others, consider volunteering at a local charity, and help others in addition to yourself.
Words of Affirmation
This category is the closest to a real language that you can get. Words of affirmation often utilize things like compliments to show love and appreciation. People with this love language cherish hearing “I love you,” and are the happiest when being showered with compliments and praise. This language can be one of the easiest to execute while in long distance relationships as it can be expressed over the phone just as well as it can be in person. However, like physical touch, this does not make it a “low maintenance” language, and changing things up is essential.
If this love language matches up well with your partner, compliments and words of love are your best friend. Telling your partner how happy they make you or how beautiful their eyes are can help them feel appreciated in your relationship. Some more creative ways to cater to this language are handwritten love letters, poetry, or songs. Even just sending a text saying “this song made me think of you” to let your partner know you are thinking about them can express your love for them. If this language sounds like something you would enjoy, repeating daily affirmations or journaling can be a terrific way to incorporate this language into your daily life. Like relationships, poetry and writing love letters to yourself can be a wonderful way to show yourself some appreciation.
This language is perfect for the person who wants to be with their partner as much as possible. Quality time is defined by going out on dates or playing board games at home. People with this language will be happy doing about anything with their partner, however, having planned out dates and activities can make them feel even more special.
If this language sounds perfect to your partner, activity filled date nights are the best to plan. Whether it be painting or movies, finding something that your partner is interested in and incorporating it in your date nights will make your partner feel special. Even on more low-key days, planning to make dinner together or have a move night will still be appreciated by anyone with this love language. If this sounds more like yourself, try going on a self-date. Self-dates can be anything from going to a nice dinner alone to taking yourself on a shopping day, anything that lets you take time to just be with you and relax.
Although this love language may sound a bit materialistic at first, receiving gifts is more about the thought and effort that goes into the gift rather than monetary value. People with this love language adore the holidays and no matter how big or small, love being given something special. Even things that are not bought, like freshly picked flowers or fun rocks from the beach, are treasured by them, and cherished even more than purchases.
If this sounds like the language of your partner, look for creative gifts for the holidays. Finding things based on their interests, or even getting custom made gifts online are amazing ways to show affection. On normal days, handmade gifts can be even more meaningful. If you have an artistic or crafty hobby you love, consider utilizing it to make your partner a surprise present. If this sounds like your love language instead, consider buying something you’ve had in your cart for a long time. Handmade items can also be used for self-love as it is also a way to practice your hobbies.
Overall, it is important to remember that although you may be heavily invested in one aspect of love languages, many people have a bit of all of them and this should be considered when assessing your partner’s need. A healthy balance of all the love languages with a special focus on your partner’s favorite is the key to nurturing a happy relationship. The same goes for self-care, treating yourself to different things can help your well-being tremendously. So, whether you or your partner wants compliments or gifts, find the perfect balance for you.