To “love others the way we want to be loved” is just presumptive. It may be rooted in good intentions, but it’s based solely on the notion that they perceive love precisely the way we do.
You may think you’re blowing his mind by giving him his choice of autoblow machines. But if all he needed was to hear you say ‘I love you,’ your gift, however grand the gesture, would fail to impress.
We have different ways of communicating love and, likewise, various ways we prefer to receive love. This is the concept of ‘love language,’ which was explored by pastor and author Gary Chapman in his 1992 New York Times bestseller The 5 Love Languages.
The five love languages are words of affirmation, acts of service, giving and receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. Chapman states every person understands and accepts love in a specific language, one of the five to be precise.
As communication is vital in a romantic relationship, understanding your partner’s primary love language, which may be different from your own, and speaking that fluently and regularly can improve your communication and strengthen your connection.
Below are some ways you can tell him he’s loved and appreciated based on his primary love language:
1. Words of Affirmation
He values written and spoken expressions of affection, including frequent “I love you,“ compliments, verbal encouragement, and words of appreciation.
- Write him sweet little notes every day.
- Send him an unexpected card.
- Send him sweet text messages to let him know you miss him or think about him.
- Thank him for the things he does around the house, like taking out the trash or helping with household chores.
- Compliment his cooking, his PowerPoint prowess, or the way his shirt brings out the color of his eyes.
- Always encourage him and remind him that he’s capable.
2. Acts of Service
He values actions more than words. He prefers to be shown rather than told that he’s loved and especially loves it when you go out of your way to make his life more comfortable, like alleviating his workload.
- Make him coffee in the morning, or better yet, breakfast in bed.
- Lay out his work clothes and prepare his stuff.
- Do his laundry or pick up his dry cleaning.
- Draw him a warm, sensual bath.
- Bring him soup when he’s sick.
- If he needs to bring a gift to a party or event, help by picking it out or purchasing it for him.
3. Giving and Receiving Gifts
He feels loved when given gifts or “physical symbols of love,“ as Chapman calls it. Don’t fret; it’s not the cost but the thought that counts. He recognizes and values the gift-giving process and the emotional benefits from receiving the present. Likewise, he enjoys giving gifts to show his appreciation.
- Buy him a jersey of his favorite athlete.
- Treat him to a concert by his favorite band.
- Cook him his favorite food.
- Bring home a souvenir from your trip that reminded you of him.
- Give him a crafty gift or something that you made yourself.
- List down specific things he mentioned wanting or needing so you have gift ideas for his birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, or just because.
- Show appreciation and thank him heartily when receiving gifts.
4. Quality Time
He feels the most adored when you actively want to spend time with him and prioritize that time together. He values active listening, eye contact, and full presence in the relationship.
- Share a hobby or do something that you both enjoy.
- Try new experiences together, like visiting a new place or eating out at a new restaurant.
- Go on a walk/run/hike/ride together.
- Ask about his day and how he is doing.
- Watch a movie together.
- Plan a romantic picnic, a date night, or a staycation.
5. Physical Touch
He feels love and appreciation, when he consents to it, from physical intimacy and touch. He values physical signs of affection, like kissing, hugging, holding hands, cuddling, and sex.
- Hug and kiss him as he leaves for and comes home from work.
- Cuddle while you’re watching TV.
- Give him a massage.
- Hold hands on a walk.
- Affectionately touch his face or comb his hair at random times.
- Hug him from the back while he’s cooking.
Communication is crucial to making any relationship work, more so in a loving, romantic relationship where communication plays an essential role in the expression and acceptance of love. If you don’t speak the same love language, it’s okay. You can always ask and talk things through. As Tony Gaskins puts it, “Love a person the way they need to be loved, not the way you want to love. It’s not about you. Love is selfless, not selfish.”