A decade ago, Dr. Gary Chapman released his now-seminal relationship book, The Five Love Languages. And ever since, couples have looked to the emotion-defining tome to figure out how to better communicate with their significant others. There’s a fringe benefit to this knowledge too — Valentine’s Day is upon us, and pinpointing your significant other’s love language (or love languages) will help you nail gift-giving on this romantic holiday.
So, what are the five love languages? Here’s a quick rundown.
- Words of affirmation: People with this love language need emotions to be vocalized. They want to hear, “I love you,” and feel most secure in the relationship when they are encouraged and appreciated out loud.
- Quality time: Not surprisingly, people who fall into this category want your undivided attention. They’re fans of special moments together, big and small.
- Receiving gifts: If we had to sum up this love language, it would be with a classic idiom: It’s the thought that counts. They’re most impressed when you put real consideration into the gifts you give.
- Acts of service: Those with this love language are big proponents of the idea that actions speak louder than words. If you make their lives easier — think walking the dogs or putting the kids to bed — they’ll love you for it.
- Physical touch: Hand-holding. Back rubs. Ahem, bedroom time. People with this love language crave intimacy through physical connection, whether it’s something sweet or a little more sultry.
If you want to know more, you can also check out our interview with the man himself, Dr. Gary Chapman, and psychotherapist Dr. Tina B. Tessina.
After you’ve matched your partner to their love language, go forth into the world to find the gift that will pull on their heartstrings. Since you’re new to this, we’ve made it even easier by picking five fantastic gifts for each of the five love languages.
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A version of this article was originally published February 2019.