When my husband and I bought our first home together, we had been married for only a few months. One of the mortgage team members handed us a book at our closing as a gift: The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. I remember thinking we had it all figured out already — we had been together for a while before getting engaged, and had just bought our first home together. Even though I knew it was a thoughtful gift, it ended up in a drawer after the big move in, and I thought very little of it after that.
Fast forward to almost a decade later, and I can say with confidence that the concept of the five love languages has re-entered my marriage and changed it for the better. My husband and I are vastly, and unfortunately, very different when it comes to how we give and receive love from each other and others in our lives. Knowing this and being mindful of these differences has taught us how to communicate our basic needs to each other and strengthened our marriage and understanding. So, what are the five love languages, and how can one incorporate them into Valentine’s Day gifts?
A Gift Guide to the Five Love Languages
Words of Affirmation
People who crave words of affirmation often need encouragement when they are feeling down, overwhelmed, or not confident. This one is personally how I hope to receive love from the people who matter most in my life. A great way to show your love to this language type is by writing them a heartfelt letter. Telling someone how much they mean to you, not just on the most romantic of holidays, but every day, is a great way to give them a gift they will treasure — and reread — forever. Set aside some time to really think about what you want to say, and make it special using beautiful stationery.
People who love to receive gifts are not looking for expense or excitement, but thoughtfulness. A great gift for this love language is something that captures the heart of the receiver by being well thought out. It can be something useful for their everyday lives, sentimental, or just something they mentioned they had their eye on a while before. By giving a thoughtful gift, it says that you pay attention and want to give them something they’ll truly love.
This one may seem obvious, but some people like to let their bodies do the talking. People who crave physical touch want to receive love in the form of a warm hug, a hand squeeze, or just a close conversation. This can be an especially tough one for those who do not match up — like myself — who can be so overstimulated with motherhood that we get “touched out.” A great way to give the gift of physical touch is by planning a date night where you can sit close together, snuggle up, and watch a movie. A bonus if you can both unplug and focus only on this time together.
Life can get in the way with how much time we actually get to spend with our loved ones, and sometimes between kids, work, schedules, and obligations, it can feel like you and your partner are just ships passing in the night. For people who crave quality time, this can be especially wearing on a relationship. Show the love for these special types by carving out a day or weekend from your schedule, and make it a priority. Think of this as a non-cancellable appointment that is as important as seeing your doctor or making a deadline. Plan something special that you can do with your time, even if it’s just a walk around your favorite park.
Acts of Service
As a married mother of two, I can say with a good bit of confidence that the practice of the acts of service love language can be more romantic than a bed full of roses and a bottle of the finest champagne. A person who craves acts of service wants their partner to be all in — with the kids, the home, and life. If your partner is normally the one to schedule the date nights, surprise them by taking the reigns one weekend and making all of the arrangements. For the day-to-day, doing the dishes or giving the baths without being asked can be the difference between a ruined night and a happy one.
These types are not hard and fast, and many people can be a combination of two or more when it comes to how they give and receive love. If you’re not sure how to determine how to best love your partner, a simple conversation can do wonders. Ask them to think about when they feel most loved, and ask how you can embody that in the future. It’s not always easy, but it is always worth it.
What’s your love language type?