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Love languages unlocked

It’s the month of love, so we thought it only fitting to share ways to fuel your passion for your partner – one love language at a time.

American author Gary Chapman is most popularly known for his book series The Five Love Languages, which zooms in on human connection and relationships.  He emphasises that love is a choice you make every day, and that part of making that choice is learning how to communicate and express your love for your significant other, no matter their age or creed.   

It’s important to remember that, while you have your own preferences for showing and receiving love, your partner may differ. The way your partner ‘gives’ love isn’t necessarily the same way that you understand and ‘receive’ it. This is where understanding the five languages comes into play. 

We all express our love in different ways: just like how you may not like the same ice-cream flavours, your love language may be different to your partner’s. Learning about how your love languages differ, intersect and change over time can help you to feel more connected to each other and find balance in your relationship.   

1. Words of affirmation 

If your partner blushes at any verbal expression of affection, then this is likely to be their dominant love language. They will appreciate praise, kind notes, compliments and encouragement. Pay attention to the small details, let them know that you appreciate all of their hard work and effort, and tell them that you feel proud of what they’ve achieved and are working towards.  

2. Quality time

If you think that your partner is a great listener and likes to make eye contact when you’re talking, then they appreciate undivided attention from you. For them, quality trumps quantity, and they are at their happiest when their loved one is present during shared moments.   

3. Physical touch

If this is your partner’s love language then physical or ‘tactile’ affection, such as hand holding, hugs or a reassuring shoulder squeeze, is what truly shows them that you care. But don’t get the wrong idea – showing them love through physical touch doesn’t just mean sex, which is a common misconception. With this type of partner, what matters most is proximity, as they’re the cuddle enthusiasts of the bunch. 

4. Acts of service

Partners with this primary love language feel reassured and loved when you offer to do considerate things for them, such as repairing something they value or making a snack for them after a long day. Those with this love language tend to take special note of small acts of kindness and can often be seen doing small favours for others. 

5. Receiving gifts

Your partner isn’t greedy or obsessed with worldly things. Instead, the love language of gift-receiving focuses on the thought, time and effort that has gone into selecting a gift, rather than the physical value of it. These partners get the ‘warm fuzzies’ simply from knowing that the person they love has made the effort to understand them and is paying attention to their preferences, ideas and shared memories. 

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Text: Charndré Emma Kippie

Photography: Gallo/Getty images