The 5 Love Languages Everyone Needs to Know

What makes one person feel loved isn't always the same for another. In fact, everyone understands and receives love in a specific language—five to be exact—which speaks more deeply to you than all the others.

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This concept of 5 love languages comes from relationship expert’s Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages; The Secret to Love That Lasts. Since we all give and receive love differently, discovering each other’s language promotes a healthy relationship. You may end up hurting one another’s feelings unintentionally if you don’t know each other’s language. Read on to learn and understand more about the 5 languages of love.

Language one: Words of Affirmation

Simply put, people in this love language need to hear their partner say, “I love you.” Communication should be encouraging, affirming, appreciative, and empathetic. It should be done genuinely and often.

How “Words of Affirmation” can improve your relationship

Use words to build up the other person in this version of 5 love languages. These verbal compliments don’t have to be complicated; even short and simple words are effective. Some examples: “Thanks for taking out the garbage,” “I appreciate that you made me dinner,” “I love your hair today,” or “That was nice of you to fold my laundry.” Sincere words of kindness mean a lot to this person. On the flip side, insulting or negative comments like these things you should never say to your spouse can hurt this person and be aware that he or she may take longer to forgive than others.

Language two: Acts of Service

Language two of the 5 love languages are people who feel that actions speak louder than words. It’s anything you do to ease your partner’s burden of responsibility. You do things that you know your partner would like, even though they do require some thought, effort, and time.

How “Acts of Service” can improve your relationship

These service acts could be opening a door, doing their laundry, cooking a meal, or picking up a prescription. These acts are done with your partner’s happiness in mind and with a positive attitude; they show that you care about your partner and your life together. They aren’t done out of obligation or with a negative tone. If you aren’t sure what your partner needs to be done, ask him or her how you could make life easier or lighten the daily load. It’s important to follow through on both these small and big tasks.

Language three: Receiving Gifts

In language three of the 5 love languages, you give your partner a meaningful and thoughtful gift that makes him feel appreciated, prioritized, and loved. The person who loves this language thrives on thoughtfulness and the effort behind the gift.

How “Receiving Gifts” can improve your relationship

It can be picking up his favorite pint of ice cream after a hard day or getting that bracelet she’s been talking about. This language tells your partner that you went out of your way to get something that would bring a smile to their face. Picking the right gift shows that you understand your partner and you make an effort to express your love. Gift-giving helps keep love alive in your relationship. Find a gift that your partner has been asking for—whether it’s a special occasion or not—and will enjoy receiving. Then, give it in a special way. And whenever he or she gives you a gift, express your gratefulness.

Language four: Quality Time

This language is about spending time with each other and giving each other your undivided attention. You should have focused and uninterrupted conversations; one-on-one time is critical.

How “Quality Time” together can improve your relationship

Thanks to technology, quality time has diminished. People often are texting, emailing, or scrolling through social media instead of spending quality time together. Here, you put down that phone plus step away from TV, chores, and any other distractions. It’s about being together and paying attention to each other. You listen, communicate, and share meaningful conversations together. Other ways to enjoy quality time with one another include making dinner together (talking while preparing and eating it), taking a walk together, or sharing plans for the future.

Language five: Physical Touch

People who speak this love language thrive on any kind of physical touch whether it be hand-holding, kissing, pats on the back or hugs. They communicate and emphasize love nonverbally.

How “Physical Touch” can improve your relationship

Physical touch is a direct way to communicate affection; it’s healing, reassuring, and calming. It must be done in a place of love, not oppression. To this person, nothing speaks more deeply than touch. Find ways to express your love using physical touch—touching his or her arm or hand during a conversation, holding hands, giving a morning kiss, offering a back or neck rub, or giving hugs. Knowing how your partner expresses love and how they want you to express love to them is key to a happy relationship. For more relationship advice, take a look at these 7 expert tips for a healthy, happy relationship.

Stacey Feintuch
Stacey Feintuch contributes to's Health and Relationship sections. Her articles have appeared in Woman's World, Boca Raton Observer and, among other sites and publications. She earned her MA in magazine writing from S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and her BA in journalism from The George Washington University.