Are You Loving Your Partner the Right Way?

Are you loving your partner the right way? It’s a funny question, isn’t it? I mean, there is no right way to love someone. I don’t want you to think I have a formula sitting here that you can follow like a recipe.

But there is a right way to love a person: according to how they like to be loved.

You see, everyone responds differently to different love stimuli. Some people like to be told they are loved, over and over. Some people like to be hugged and kissed to be shown they’re loved.

There are, in fact, five different Love Languages that author Gary Chapman has coined in his book, called (you guessed it!) The 5 Love Languages.

Do you know which love language your partner speaks?

Everyone has a primary Love Language that they identify with most, just like a native tongue. We may have secondary languages, but they won’t resonate for us as much as our primary language does.

Sourced from kah045 on Photobucket

We learned our own Love Language through our childhood—usually because that’s the way our parents showed us love. (Sometimes, because it’s the opposite of what they showed us.)

My own mother, for example, was not hugged or touched or kissed a lot as a child. In turn, she decided she would lavish her own children with physical love as much as possible. She used to carry me around in a baby pouch as she did the housework, just so I’d be close to her.

As it turns out, I’m now a sucker for a cuddle. I touch people all the time when I talk to them (which freaks some people out) and I would happily lash myself to my husband all day, every day, if he’d let me.

Unfortunately for me, he’s not into that kind of love quite so much as I am.

He prefers another Love Language of Chapman’s: Acts of Service. Growing up in a household with European parents, there not many declarations of love, but many more dinners cooked, rooms cleaned, and buttons sewed.

My husband knows he’s loved when things are done for him (which, to be honest, sounded like a cop-out, sexist Love Language if ever I’d heard one, but it’s actually not. Chapman assures us in his book that it’s quite valid.).

So, he loves it when I cook him dinner or do his washing … and if I happen to vacuum the house? My, my is he a happy camper!

In return, he naturally shows his love for me by formatting my hard drive or putting oil in my car.

Of course, I’d prefer a simple hug and a kiss, which is where language discrepancies can come in. He might spend hours poring over my broken computer to fix it. Meanwhile, I may be feeling unloved because I haven’t had a hug in a while and he’s ignoring me while he focuses on the computer.

Doing the Dishes: The Perfect Way to Please Your 'Acts of Service' Type

If you’re not speaking the same Love Language as your partner, then chances are you’re having a miscommunication. Perhaps you keep trying to tell them how much you adore them, when all they want is for you to make them breakfast every now and then.

Let’s backtrack for a minute and talk about the five different languages as identified by Chapman:

Quality Time people need you to set aside specific time to spend with them (date night, anyone?!) and will do the same for you no matter how busy they are.

Words of Affirmation lovers crave constant encouragement from their partners, while Gifts people love to buy and receive little tokens of gift-wrapped love.

The Physical Touch people (like me) crave hugs and kisses, and the Acts of Service types love you to do things for them, and will do things for you to show you their love.

You can probably pick which Love Language you prefer just from the above short description. If not, you can go and take the assessment quiz over at Chapman’s website.

The most important part of all

The important thing to remember is that if you and your partner are speaking different languages, you may find it hard to understand each other.

One of the nicest things you can do for your relationship is truly understand each other.

I urge you to find out what Love Language you both speak, then do whatever is necessary—in his or her language—to make sure your partner feels loved and appreciated regularly. And let them know what your Love Language is too.

It may take some effort, but once you see how your partner glows when you do something for them that truly lets them know they’re loved, you’ll know it’s worth it.

About Emma

Emma Merkas is the co-creator of couples' inspiration website $30 Date Night and author of the 'How Was It For You?' relationships and dating column in Australian newspaper, mX. You can also find her at her own blog or on Twitter @30dollardate.


  1. That’s a great point. Something I struggled with early on in marriage was an overinflated notion of “fairness” – I was stuck in a mode of thinking fair meant splitting everything 50/50. Of course, I also only focused on the things I thought of as difficult or meaningful. Eventually, I saw that what my wife considered to be a contribution to the relationship was different than what I saw, and there was balance, overall. I had to learn, though, that balance didn’t mean we each did half the dishes, took out half the garbage, etc.

  2. This is very important, but also difficult to understand if you don’t read up on it. Hubby and I have been married for 30 years this year and we almost have it figured out, lol!
    Hubby likes physical affection and time spent with him. I like time spent with and gifts of service. Luckily he likes to show love by gifts of service. Learn your partner’s love language and it will make life much happier for the 2 of you!
    Be authentic, be engaging, and be ready for change

  3. Loving someone the way he / she likes to be loved.
    This is what I call Crux of relationship.

  4. That’s very nice. I didn’t know that there was 5 love languages, thank you very much.
    After doing the quizz, I’ve figured out that I’m just like you, a touchy person 😀

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