Girlfriends of Culture

5 Love Languages for a Happy Relationship

By: Mike James

Do you know how to make your partner happy? Do you understand how s/he ticks emotionally? If you’re in a committed relationship that ‘could do better’, here are some valuable lessons to take on board.

According to Gary Chapman’s 1990s pop psych blockbuster and self-help chart topper The 5 Love Languages, there are 5 distinct ways that we all express and receive love – and that is where the trouble begins.

Look at it this way. If your other half was a native French speaker with only a rudimentary command of English, and you didn’t speak French at all, you would struggle to communicate, wouldn’t you? The ability to fully understand each other’s messages depends on your ability to speak each other’s language, yes? And so it is with love languages.

Not understanding your partner’s primary love language is tantamount to being deaf to his ardent declarations of love. Mowing the lawn and washing the car may be his way of showing that he cares deeply, but if you don’t recognise or appreciate his efforts and instead demand cuddles and flowers to feel special, it’s just not going to work. Similarly, if you keep showering her with expensive presents that mean nothing to her, but she would dearly love to spend lazy afternoons in your company, neither of you will be happy. You’re miscommunicating.

When things keep going wrong between you, it can lead to misunderstandings and arguments. Both partners may feel that they’re doing all the work and getting nothing in return, and the relationship can drift apart. The trick is to understand each other’s love language, so that you can both receive the love that is so clearly given, and return it in a way that means something to your partner.

The 5 Love Languages may not be the last word on relationship advice, and it doesn’t claim to be highbrow psychology nor rocket science. However, it does throw some light on why relationships misfire and what you can do to improve things with your other half.

Here, Mike James – and independent writer working with Into the Blue – takes a look at each of the 5 love languages in turn and see what can be gleaned.

  1. Words of Affirmation

Some people need to hear those three little words more than others. If your primary love language is ‘Words of Affirmation’, you will adore being given compliments and to be told how special you really are. Praise and appreciation for your efforts are what makes you purr with contentment, while harsh words and criticism cut you deeply.

How to show love to your Words of Affirmation partner:

  • Remember to always speak kindly and never raise your voice.
  • Shower your beloved with sincere compliments, including in front of friends and family.
  • Send love letters and cards with little poems and special messages.
  • Sarcasm and cynicism are relationship killers.
  1. Quality Time

Talking the talk is all well and good, but walking the walk is better. If spending time with your partner is what makes you happiest, then ‘Quality Time’ may be your main love language. But is has to be undivided attention – you’re not sharing him with the TV, Facebook or any other distraction.

Spending time together can mean anything. From pottering around the house or doing the weekly grocery shop together, to planning special date nights or romantic holidays. Just being together will leave you comforted and loved.

How to show love to your Quality Time partner:

  • Always make time to celebrate how important you are to each other. Out-of-the-ordinary dates could include a Thames Dining Cruise, Afternoon Tea at the Ritz or a Romantic City Break to Paris.
  • Organise a joint activity that means something to both of you: Learn to salsa or tango, or take a workshop to make your own wedding rings!
  • Cancellations, particularly at short notice, are deeply hurtful.


  1. Receiving Gifts

Sometimes it’s the thought that counts; sometimes it’s the gift. If your primary love language is ‘Receiving Gifts’, you really don’t mind. But the reassurance of knowing that your partner thought of you and spent his time and effort choosing something nice for you makes you feel a million dollars. Whether he gives you a bouquet of flowers for no particular reason, or she remembers to have a bottle of your favourite wine beer chilling in the fridge, it’s the gift that says you care.

How to show love to your Receiving Gifts partner:

  • Use any special occasion (Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries) or create your own, as an excuse for giving presents. Remember that the gift can be as small as you like.
  • Spontaneous gifts are particularly appreciated. How about tickets to the latest West End Show? Or a last minute getaway to a Country House Hotel for the weekend?
  • Never ever return from a trip without a souvenir gift!
  1. Acts of Service

Not everyone goes in for grand romantic gestures. Some people show their love by helping out. If ‘Acts of Service’ is your main love language, you don’t mind doing the dishes, fixing a broken light or cleaning the bathroom – because you do it for love. Making chicken soup for your partner because he feels poorly? Picking her up from the airport at 4am? They’re all labours of love.

How to show love to your Acts of Service partner:

  • Offer to help with whatever jobs need doing – the more unpalatable the chore is to your partner, the more brownie points you will score.
  • Pampering is a good way to ‘serve’. Why not run her a bath when she gets in after a hard day’s work? Or offer a foot massage in front of Coronation Street?
  • Not bothering, on the other hand, or broken promises, will be judged harshly: CBA.


  1. Physical Touch

Physical touch is a deep, primal need that we all have. Sex, of course, is the glue that holds any relationship together, but other displays of affection – public or private – including holding hands, kissing and cuddling can be just as powerful to convey love and affection. Need a hug when you come home from work? Or the feel of your partner’s hand in your own when you go for a walk? Then all is well with the world.

How to show love to your Physical Touch partner:

  • Hugs, back rubs, hand holding – any opportunity to be physically close to your partner should be explored.
  • Why not treat him/her to a Spa Day for Two or a Couples’ Massage course? You could learn the Lindy Hop or Tango together or share the physical thrill of a Tandem Bungee Jump.
  • The worst thing you can do is give your partner the ‘cold shoulder’ treatment, while any physical abuse will be deeply traumatising.
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top