Back to Basics: Loving your partner meaningfully

Love languages. You probably remember the NY Times bestselling book, and you probably did the quiz around the time it was launched (1995!!). It’s an oldie, but a goodie, when it comes to getting down to basics. When it comes to loving your people, do you know what kind of love they respond to best? How about when it comes to having people love you. Do they know how to show you love in ways that are meaningful to you? Sometimes we can fight with our loved ones, simply because their way of loving us, is different to how we like to be loved. We can also be really upset if they get it wrong.

So, let’s straighten this out.

The Five Love Languages are:

  1. Words of Affirmation: Verbal compliments that express your love and appreciation
  2. Acts of Service: Any act that eases the burden of responsibility
  3. Giving Gifts: Tangible symbols that reflect your thoughtfulness
  4. Quality Time: Focused and undivided attention spent together
  5. Physical Touch: A non-sexual touch that reinforces your presence
Pic credit:

Pic credit:

So now you know what it is, here’s how to express it if it’s less familiar to you:

  1. Words of Affirmation: Talk to others about your spouse in glowing terms, write love letters
  2. Acts of Service: Wash the dishes, “let me do that for you”
  3. Giving Gifts: Make birthdays and anniversaries special, surprise them with a treat
  4. Quality Time: Turn off electronics, go for a walk, plan a date night, start a hobby together
  5. Physical Touch: Long hugs, gentle touch, kissing, massages and hand holding.

What if you have had a huge fight?

  1. Words of Affirmation: Speak words that build security and initiate a sincere apology
  2. Acts of Service: Make behaviour changes requested through conflict
  3. Giving Gifts: Give a small token of your love and an apology note
  4. Quality Time: Make eye contact, active listening with empathy, don’t interrupt
  5. Physical Touch: Hold each other without saying a word, cuddle together in bed

Being able to connect in a way that is meaningful to your partner, can cut through defences and help connect.

There is a quiz you can take to identify your own style, and that of your child. The Five Love Languages was developed by Gary Bradman, and there are books and tests you can take at

Are you mindful of communicating in your partner’s love language?