See Practical Secrets To A Happy And Long-Lasting Relationship

Long-term relationships have their ups and downs. But based on my experience, the book The Five Love Languages, written by relationship therapist Dr. Gary Chapman, actually provides a helpful roadmap for a lasting and happy relationship. Here’s the premise: each person experiences and expresses love in different ways, known as a love lanugage. Those include words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. Fulfilling relationships occur when a partner expresses love in their partner’s primary love language. Breakdowns, on the other hand, happen when one partner gives love in the wrong language. For example: your partner buys you expensive jewelry (receiving gifts), but all you really want is a nice dinner out so you can reconnect (quality time).

According to the book, couples should figure out their primary love languages and share the results. This quiz is a great place to start. Once you know each other’s love languages, you can be mindful of expressing love in a way your partner can accept it. If it sounds easier said than done, here’s a breakdown of each language and some concrete ways you can “speak” it.

Words of Affirmation

Like a curious 4-year-old, people who speak this love language want to know why. Why you love them. Why you appreciate them. Why you’re upset with them or sorry you upset them. Think of “words of affirmation” like meaningful, positive feedback you hopefully get from a manager at work. Many of us also crave this reinforcement in our relationships, too.

How to put it into action:

  • Compliment your partner with specific language. Tell them why you think they look beautiful today, acknowledge when they impress you, and be sure to tell them why you’re sorry if you mess up.
  • Pay attention to topics your partner is sensitive about, like work or a friend relationship, and proactively offer words of encouragement.
  • Avoid harsh language or a critical, “just being honest” tone. If you have a complaint to share, make sure you make time to talk it through and have specifics.

Acts of Service

“Don’t tell me you love me — show me!” That’s what an “acts of service” partner is thinking. They feel loved when their partners do something special — and helpful — for them. These actions are a sign of selflessness, generosity, and thoughtfulness.

How to put it in action:

  • Go the extra mile with little things when there’s nothing in it for you: pick up their dry-cleaning, give them a ride home from the bar when they’re out with friends, or fill up the gas tank when you know they’ll be using the car next.
  • Don’t wait to be asked to do something. For these people, there’s nothing like coming home to a clean home, realizing the dishwashers been emptied, or being surprised with breakfast in bed.
  • Help make everyday life a little easier. Take ownership of tasks you know they really hate, like taking out the trash or changing the sheets.

Receiving Gifts

A person who speaks this love language views gifts — big and small — as a substantive representation of love. It’s hard proof that your partner understands what you like and will sacrifice a bit of their time and money to make sure you have it.

How to put it in action:

  • Plan ahead for birthdays, anniversaries, or Valentine’s Day, keeping a list of gift ideas when they come to you. The thoughftulness behind a gift is what matters.
  • Reach out to friends or close family members for ideas. The research will pay off.
  • Surprise them with small tokens of love, like flowers or an accessory that caught your eye.

Quality Time

Quality time means you’re giving your partner your full attention. For people who speak this love language, quality time goes beyond a movie date night (where you’re sitting in silence anyway) into more dynamic and conversation-heavy activities. It’s about putting aside your to-dos and making time to just be together.

How to put it in action:

  • Build one-on-one time into your routine. Maybe it’s a walk around your neighborhood every Tuesday, coffee together at your kitchen table on Saturday morning, or Sunday trips to the farmers market.
  • Limit your distractions. When you’re hanging out, resist the urge to turn on the TV or stare at your smartphone.
  • Make an effort to build social relationships together. Figure out which friends or family members you both enjoy, and make plans to do something fun and engaging together.

Physical Touch

Ah, the power of a hug. People who experience love through physical touch crave the “touchy-feely” aspects of a relationship and can quickly feel distant from their partner if they’re not getting some PDA.

How to put it in action:

  • Show your affection with a simple kiss when you walk in the door or hold hands while you’re on a walk.
  • Reach out for a hug or cuddle on the couch when your partner is having a bad day or just because.
  • Make an effort to get intimate, especially when your partner makes a move.

Source: Pop Sugar

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