Love language basics is all about learning what love looks like to your partner so that you can better express your love in a way that your partner will see and feel. Everyone has a way of expressing their love, and the way someone shows his/her love is the same way they expect it to be shown to them. If you are not aware of your own love language and the love language of your partner, you might be missing all the ways in which love is being expressed in your relationship.

I don’t think anyone would disagree that a crucial aspect of maintaining a long term relationship is being able to see things not only from your own point of view, but also from the point of view of your partner. It is important to be able to view your relationship through your partner’s unique perspective, and this includes learning what love looks like to your partner.

In 1995, Gary Chapman wrote a book called The Five Love Languages. He explains that all of us have a primary and a secondary love language that we use when expressing our love, and it is those same two languages that we look for when validating love from others. If our partner doesn’t speak our love language, we will likely feel unloved, because our partner will be expressing his/her love in their own love language and we will miss all the ways they are saying “I love you”.

Chapman narrowed it down to five love languages and believes that all expressions of love can fit into one of these five categories: Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Physical Touch, and Receiving Gifts.

Quality Time: Quality time is all about spending one-on-one time with your partner. If your love language is Quality Time, it is important that you and your partner focus on each other with undivided attention. You like to spend lots of time doing things with your partner and don’t need to involve other people in your activities. You listen attentively to your partner, and expect the same in return. If your partner doesn’t spend a lot of quality time with you, you may feel unloved.

Words of Affirmation: Words of Affirmation is all about verbally expressing compliments, encouragement, love and support. If your love language is Words of Affirmation, it is important to you that your partner verbally express how much you are appreciated and verbally expresses love and affection. If your partner doesn’t say “I love you”, doesn’t give compliments, or doesn’t thank you for all that you do, you may feel unloved.

Acts of Service: Acts of Service is all about those helpful things you do to make someone’s else’s life easier. If your love language is Acts of Service, you are someone who is likely to run errands, play handyman, or assist in household chores for your loved one without him/her asking. ‘Actions speak louder than words” would definitely be the motto of someone with Acts of Service as their love language and you will express your love in an active, hands-on way. If your partner doesn’t help you with errands, chores, or by offering assistance to a project you are working on, you may feel unloved.

Physical Touch: Physical Touch is all about…well… Physical Touch! If your love language is physical touch, you want to be touched; you want hugs, kisses, holding hands, snuggling, etc. You are probably someone who hugs close family and friends when greeting or parting and kiss your partner when he/she comes home or leaves. You likely touch your partner when walking by them, sit close when watching a move, and hold hands when walking outside. Whether in a sexual context or not, you need to feel physically close to your partner. If your partner isn’t affectionate, you may feel unloved.

Receiving Gifts: Receiving Gifts is not about shallowness or materialistic tendencies, the love language of Receiving Gifts is about the emotion and thoughtfulness behind the gift, not the gift itself. If your love language is Receiving Gifts, the fact that your partner was thinking about you and took the time to choose a gift that he/she felt you would like is a tangible expression of love. From presenting you with a simple bunch of wildflowers to sticking an “I love you” note to the bathroom mirror, you give and receive love through gifts and gestures. If your partner forgets your birthday or anniversary or is a lousy gift-giver, you may feel unloved.

Do you know which love language you speak? Do you know which love language your partner speaks? If your love language is Acts of Service and your partner’s love language is Physical Touch, there is a good possibility that although both of you would be expressing your love, the other will not always feel it, and this can lead to a lot of conflict. Knowing your partner’s love language will enable you to express your love in their language, and vice versa. And when you both know the other’s love language, you will have a much more accurate gauge for how much love is being expressed in your relationship. <3

Take the official Love Language test here.