Center for Love & Marriage

Love Languages Do’s and Don’ts

The five love languages are the different ways in which people express love, and ultimately feel loved.
The Love Languages work contributed by Gary Chapman in his book The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, include words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. Just as everyone has different personalities and styles of communication, not everyone gives and receives love in the same exact ways. For one person, they may have difficulty saying all the right things to their partner and finding the right words to reassure them, but go above and beyond in terms of showing physical affection and making time for their partner to do significant things together. You may be thinking to yourself: I know what love languages I express most, but what are some important ways I can show my love languages? Or, if you struggle with a specific love language, you may be thinking, what should I avoid when it comes to expressing this particular love language?

Receiving gifts:
When giving gifts to someone, especially your partner who you are closer than anyone with, you want to get them something meaningful that they will genuinely enjoy or a gift related to something that they are passionate about. That being said, don’t just get any gift; pay attention to the subtle hints of their desires, needs, and pain points and get gifts according to the hints
Remember special occasions in your relationship: The worst thing you can do if your partner’s love language is receiving gifts is forget an important date such as their birthday or an anniversary. This doesn’t mean you have to have a million gifts ready for them, but rather be prepared to acknowledge the importance of the day and have something to give them that symbolizes how it is just as important for you.
Appreciate their gifts for you
Getting small things to let them know that they are important to you
Avoid judging your partner’s love for receiving and giving gifts as “materialistic”, and/or rejecting/dismissing their gifts for you

Physical touch:
Expressing and receiving love and affection through touch, physical closeness, and other forms of physical connection. Although it can involve sexual intimacy, it isn’t safely rooted in sex drive or lust
What to do: open body language, eye contact, gentle touches, hugging and kissing them on a regular basis, being affectionate in public
Avoid: physical neglect, responding to their physical affection with coldness, going a long time without intimacy, not being physically present or available when they are being vulnerable and expressing their difficulties

Quality time:
Showing love and affection by spending dedicated time together
What to do: When spending time with them, be fully present, set aside uninterrupted time to spend together on a regular basis, focused listening, be curious and ask open-ended questions, do activities together, and appreciate their efforts of spending time with you
Avoid: Being overly distracted while spending time with them, canceling plans to spend time together, not prioritizing quality alone time, dismissing/ignoring their request to spend quality time with you, overly prioritizing one-on-one time with others more than them, and viewing their desire to spend time with you as “needy”

Acts of service:
It’s about going out of one’s way to help the other person in a meaningful way. In return, they feel supported, taken care of, and loved
What to do: do your best to help them to make their life easier, on a regular basis, ask: “What can I do to make your day better today?”, during their busy/stressful times: “How can I support you this week?”, Pay attention to their frustrations and complaints- how can you support them in these areas?, appreciate their acts of service for you
Avoid: dismissing/ignoring their requests for help, not prioritizing their request for your help on a regular basis, making others’ requests more important than their requests, and not appreciating their efforts of helping you
Don’t use acts of service as a reason for you to neglect yourself: when you say “yes” to others, make sure you aren’t saying “no” to yourself

Words of Affirmation:
What to do: praise, appreciation, encouraging, validating, acknowledging, actively listening, and regularly expressing your love
Avoid: Being overly critical or condescending, saying mean/hurtful words, accusation/blaming type of language, not receiving or appreciating their words of love, and withholding verbal expressions of love



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