It is yet again the time of year in which we are flooded with the reminder that Valentine’s Day is upon us. We can’t go to stores without seeing isles of red in the seasonal section filled with chocolate and stuffed animals. We can’t help but feel forced to think about our loved ones when we see that, but as we know, love is important 365 days a year, 24/7.

With that said, let’s move away from the cliché and into the deeper stuff about relationships. We all know how essential communication of love or affection is to a successful relationship. However, we need to gain an understanding of how we communicate those things best. Alongside this, it is just as essential to understand how your partner feels most loved.

Dr. Gary Chapman published a book in 1992 entitled, “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate”. In this book, Chapman outlines five ways that people feel love best in a relationship, but also gives food for thought for partners to think about how they express love, as well.

Chapman states that the five general love languages are as follows:

1)Words of Affirmation

This describes love that is expressed with words that build up your partner. This can include simple things, like compliments or praise. This can look like “I love the way you did your hair today” or “I appreciate how you always listen to me without distraction.”

2) Acts of Service

Doing small things for your partner that make them feel loved and appreciated can go a really long way. Cooking dinner or unloading the dishwasher are just a few ways that this type of love language shows itself. It can look like many different things, but it’s important to remember that there thought and effort behind the act, and that can be really meaningful to those who receive love best in this way.

3) Receiving Gifts

Some people feel most loved when they receive gifts from their partner. This is not meant to be thought of in a materialistic sense, but rather the thought and meaning behind the gift matters most. This can be as simple as picking up your partner’s favorite snack when you’re at the gas station.

4) Quality Time

Put simply, spending time with your partner where there is undivided attention can really make your partner feel loved. When your partner feels most loved by quality time, they just want to be the center of your attention without distraction. Spending quality time can mean going on dates or even just cuddling up on the couch and watching Netflix together.

5) Physical Touch

This love language is pretty self-explanatory. Some people truly feel most loved when they are being touched in a loving and affectionate way. This does not necessarily mean excessive PDA, but holding hands, hugging, kissing, or cuddling can make some people feel safe and most connected to their partner in moments where there is physical touch present.

According to Chapman, everyone typically has one primary love language and one secondary.  In order to identify your how you feel most love, notice what you request most often from your partner, or what you find yourself complaining about that you feel is missing. People tend to give love in the way that they also prefer to receive it. It is essential to have conversations with your partner about how they feel most loved so that the relationship can thrive and communication can be enhanced when it comes to showing and expressing love.

To explore how you feel love best and even learn how you show it, check out this website below:

By, Kristi Zalinka, EAP Intern