The 5 Love Languages Explained

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“Encouragement requires empathy and seeing the world from your spouse’s perspective.”

~ Gary Chapman

Have you ever felt like regardless of how hard you try to show your partner how much you truly love him or her, it never quite translates?

It’s like he or she just doesn’t get how committed you are to the relationship.

Well, you are not alone and you are not crazy. This disconnect may lie in your love language – or how your love language translates to your partner. 

5 love languages

Love languages are important – not just for you, but also for your partner. These emotional languages define who you are and where you will go in your personal growth, relationship, and even your career.

Understand, however, that your love language may be different from your family, friends, and/or partner. This can be especially distressing in a romantic relationship.


Regardless of how much you express your love for your partner – in your love language – this may not translate into your partner’s love language, leading to disappointment, anger, frustration, confusion, and massive misunderstandings.

If your partner is unable to receive your message of love, it can cause him or her to feel unloved, unappreciated, undervalued, and unimportant to you, which most likely is not the case.

The truth is, partners rarely share the same love language.

Because our love languages are familiar and comfortable to us, we become confused and agitated when our loved ones do appear to “get” what we’re trying to communicate to them. However, if you can identify and learn your partner’s love language, you can have the healthy and happy relationship you’ve always envisioned.

Keep in mind, however, that it will take more than a mediocre effort to understand your partner’s love language.

It will take patience, commitment, effort, active listening, and honest communication. You’ll want to learn how to connect with your partner in a way he or she can understand. If you can do these things, you’ll build a relationship that will stand the test of time.

Listed below are the 5 love languages.

Affirmation (Words of Support & Encouragement)

For some, affirmations or words of support and encouragement are indicators of love. When affirmations are an integral part of your partner’s love language, praising, complimenting, encouraging, and supporting him or her demonstrates how much you care. 

Gifts (Tokens of Love & Appreciation)

If your partner’s love language involves “gifts,” the best way to show your love is to shower him or her with presents from time-to-time.

To this person, nothing says “I love you” more than tokens of love and appreciation.

A gift signifies that you are thinking about your partner. This does not suggest that people whose love language involves gifts are materialistic because that is most likely not the case. The truth is, these individuals thrive on the thought and effort behind the gifts – not the cost.

Gifts make your partner feel loved, appreciated, special, and seen. They do not have to be physical or “pricey,” rather simply gestures (i.e. sweet texts, helping with parenting or household tasks, compliments, etc.) or free gifts are just as good, if not better.

Keep in mind, however, that not receiving small tokens of love and appreciation daily can be emotionally-painful for those who share this love language.

Affection (Physical Intimacy)

Some people’s love language is “affection.” If your partner’s love language is touching or physical intimacy, the best way to show him or her you care is by holding hands, touching, hugging, kissing, cuddling, “spooning,” and/or having sex.

Why? Because these gestures are considered “emotional nourishment.”

Keep in mind that this love language does not solely center on sex; in fact, the most meaningful experiences of intimacy typically include comforting hugs, and tenderly touching your partner’s arm, thigh, cheek, back, or shoulder.

These touches show your partner the depth of your love for him or her.

Being present and available are also important signals of love. When this is missing it can cause your partner to feel abandoned and emotionally-distant from you, which will not bode well for your relationship.

Togetherness (Quality Time)

Togetherness” is another important love language couples often overlook, ignore, or dismiss. If your partner’s love language is togetherness, time spent with you is very important, almost vital, for him or her.

Spending time with your sweetheart signals to him or her how invested you are in the relationship. So, to this person, the time you devote to the relationship demonstrates your love for him or her.

Canceling dates or being distracted by your phone during conversations can make your partner feel “unheard” and “unimportant.”

Helping (Thoughtfulness & Service)

Guess what? Actions really do speak louder than words most of the time – especially when your honey’s love language is “helping.”

Nothing speaks louder to those with this love language than thoughtfulness and acts of service.

Any help, big or small, that you can offer is well-received and highly appreciated.

However, doing nothing to help with parenting and household tasks can cause your partner to feel “undervalued” and “unappreciated.” It can also lead to frustration and on-going conflict in your relationship.

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Actionable Steps


Shower your partner with praise and compliments

If your partner’s love language is “affirmation,” the best way to show your love is to shower him or her with praise and compliments. Give your partner a compliment (big or small) once or twice a week. It will make him or her feel special and loved.

Say something like, “You look fantastic in that outfit!” Or, “You’re a superstar at work – always going above and beyond to help your team members!”

The worst way to show your love for your sweetheart is to criticize or insult him or her. It will only hurt your loved one’s feelings and damage (or destroy) your relationship.


Surprise your partner with sweet gifts

If your honey’s love language is “gifts,” surprise him or her with presents or sweet gestures from time-to-time.

Purchase a journal and write down ways you can shower your partner with sweet tokens of love and appreciation, such as surprising your partner with an unscheduled “date night” or mini-vacation. Or, thoughtful gestures, such as cleaning up the kitchen after dinner.

Remember, your gifts and gestures do not have to be big or extravagant to show your love for your partner, it’s the thought that matters. 


Be affectionate towards your partner every day

If your partner’s love language is “affection,” you’ll need to show your love through physical touch or intimacy. So, hold hands, cuddle, or “spoon” with your partner, touch his or her knee when talking, surprise him or her with sweet kisses and tender hugs, rub your sweetheart’s shoulders or give him or her quick pecks on the cheek or lips, and/or give your partner massages after stressful or long days.

Don’t forget sexual activity, because that matters too and it’s an excellent way to touch and bond with each other on a deeper level. These touches make your partner feel protected and loved. 


Make time for your partner

If your partner’s love language is “togetherness,” the best way to show your love and commitment is by spending quality time with him or her.

Giving your partner your full, undivided attention (i.e. putting your electronics and smartphone away) when conversing with your partner, scheduling dates with him or her, and/or simply being in each other’s presence is enough to show your partner you love him or her.

So, turn off the television, put away your smartphone or tablet, make eye contact with your partner, and listen. This will make your sweetheart feel like the most important person in the world.


Help out sometimes

If your partner’s love language is “helping,” then help out; do something thoughtful, helpful, or caring for him or her.

You can help out by throwing a load of clothes in the wash while your partner cooks, preparing a meal for your partner when he or she comes home from work late, taking the dog out for his daily walk, taking out the trash or mowing the lawn, etc. All of these acts of thoughtfulness and service show your love.


Read more on this topic

If you are interested in learning more about love languages, check out the following articles: Understanding the Five Love Languages and How to Apply the 5 Love Languages to Your Relationship.

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About the Author

Dr. R. Y. Langham

Dr. R. Y. Langham

Ph.D. in Family Psychology

Ree has a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy (M.M.F.T.) and a Ph.D. in Family Psychology. She spent over ten years counseling families, couples, individuals, and children on adjustment issues such as blended families, same-sex couples, dysfunctional family relationships, relationship issues, etc. Now she writes for famous health organizations and is a published author.
Full Bio | LinkedIn

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