The Five Love Languages Broken Down

November 17, 2015  |  
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For those who need a refresher, the five love languages are words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. Many of us think we can recognize these languages when our partner “speaks” them, but can you really? If you don’t learn to recognize when your partner is speaking one of these languages, you might not feel love that is very much coming to you. So here are the five love languages broken down, with examples.

Words of affirmation

Words of affirmation don’t need to be as straightforward as, “You are loved” or “You are enough for me” or “You are appreciated.” These are the messages that should be beneath all words of affirmation, but sometimes the words themselves are subtler.

Written word

Words of affirmation can come in the form of the written word. Maybe your partner doesn’t say these words to you in person, but he sends you emails and texts throughout the day that say things like, “I’m thinking about you” or “You make me so happy.” Some people aren’t comfortable saying these things in person, but if they write them, they’re making an effort. Your partner might do this by bragging about you on social media.

In person

Of course, there are people who are great at just saying these words out loud! Even if your partner doesn’t say, “I love you” several times a day, he might say it in other ways like by complimenting you. Does he tell you how thoughtful you are? How kind you are? How much you enhance his life? Those are words of affirmation.

Quality time

If your partner complains you don’t spend enough “quality time” together, and you respond, “But we eat dinner together every night” you might be misunderstanding this love language. Quality time is time spent together that somehow strengthens your bond or advances your relationship.

Learning a skill together

Learning a new skill together is very bonding. Whenever you learn something new, you work certain muscles of your brain. Experiencing that at the same time as your partner can bring you a lot closer. So take salsa dancing classes or Chinese lessons—it’s not about the skill but about taking on a challenge together.

Time with no tasks

If you live together, it’s easy to fall into the mindset, “We spend time together when we clean the apartment and make dinner.” But no—your brains are mostly consumed by the task at hand and not by each other. Quality time means putting aside time to focus on one another, without working on any tasks. Basically, you don’t want distractions. Getting out of town is perfect for this.

Receiving gifts

You know that age-old scenario where a man gives a woman a blender for Christmas and she complains, “This isn’t a gift?” That woman probably speaks the gift-giving language of love.





The gift should be special

You are not utilitarian in your partner’s life—you aren’t there to solve problems or handle day to day issues. You’re a special addition! You add a little something extra to your partner’s life. Your gifts should, too.

With one exception…

One more gift you can give your partner is the gift of thoughtfulness. While a blender might come off as a lazy gift, a cell phone holster for your partner’s specific model of bicycle is an amazing gift. It’s not “special” but it shows that you pay very close attention to your partner’s specific needs.

Acts of service

This one is pretty straight forward, but there’s a catch: if your partner speaks this language, he won’t like having to ask for acts of service. You’ll have to pay close attention.


Problem solving

If your partner has complained about the moldy shower door, and he comes home to find that you fixed it, that’s an act of service. If your partner complains he can never find a parking spot at the end of the day, you save him a spot because you get there earlier when there are still street spots available. You remove a problem from your partner’s life.

Making life a little easier

Sometimes you can’t solve your partner’s problems, but you can make them easier to tackle. If your partner has a meeting run really late, you obviously can’t bust him out of that meeting, but you can prepare dinner because you know he’ll be too tired to cook when he gets home.

Physical touch

Physical touch is one of the easiest and most common love languages! If you love someone, you naturally want to touch them. But different people prefer different types of touch.

PDA/random touches

Some partners really need little random touches throughout the day. If you’re out grocery shopping, your partner might just want to hold your hand. If you’re cooking dinner together, he might need a kiss on the cheek while he’s chopping vegetables.


If your partner complains you don’t have enough sex, it might not be because he’s worried you aren’t attracted to him. For him, having sex might be a form of bonding.

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