My partner and I speak very different love languages. They need to hear how I feel on a regular basis, whereas I am all about showing, not telling. To me, talk is cheap; I want to see action. I think how you behave is how you feel. But just because we aren't speaking the same language doesn't meant that we aren't communicating our feelings. There are plenty of small ways to say “I love you” without having to actually say it, even if your partner's love language is all about getting those words of affirmation.
If you aren't familiar with the concept of love languages, here's the background. It was developed by Dr. Gary Chapman, in his book, appropriately titled The Five Love Languages. In it, he explains that we all have a particular way of communicating our love, and ways that we, in turn, hope to receive it. So, by paying attention to how your partner expresses love, you can gain insight into how they hope you demonstrate your feelings to them. Makes sense, right? Chapman's five love languages are: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.
Depending on your communication style, or where you are in your relationship, you may not be completely ready to drop an L-bomb — or maybe you are, but you just want to improve how you express your love. Either way, there are lots of small but heartfelt ways to tell your boo just exactly how you feel without having to verbalize it, and you can cater it to their love language so they're sure to pick up what you're putting down. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Love Language: Words Of Affirmation
For folks whose love language is words of affirmation, compliments are the most effective way to communicate how you feel, so use your words.
1. Send them a text to let them know how much you miss them and are thinking of them.
2. Write a sweet and romantic little note of encouragement, then hide it in their pocket for them to find randomly.
3. Give them a compliment — or 10. Tell them how sexy they are, how proud of them you are, and how they are the most special person you know.
4. Surprise them with a card, for no reason except that you love them.
5. Say thank you, and tell them how much you appreciate them.
Love Language: Quality Time
If your partner craves your undivided attention above all else, then their love language is definitely quality time. They aren’t as interested in flowery language or declarations. They want to see your actions, specifically how you prioritize making time to spend with them and focusing on the relationship.
6. Make a reservation for dinner somewhere special, just for the two of you.
7. Set some time aside every night where you both put your phones away and just catch up on your day.
8. Stop to share a cup of coffee together in the morning. No rushing, no phones, just focusing on each other.
9. Surprise them with a day trip you’ve planned just for the two of you.
10. Mandatory snuggle time. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes in the morning or at night where you cuddle up and just be present with one another.
Love Language: Receiving Gifts
If your love language is receiving gifts, it's not a sign that you’re spoiled or materialistic. It’s just that you want a tangible symbol of the the love you share — something you can see, hold, and enjoy that represents how your partner feels and that they were thinking of you when they bought it.
11. Surprise them with tickets to a concert or event you know they would love.
12. Pay attention to the things they mention they want by keeping a secret list on your phone. Then, when their birthday or a holiday comes along, you have the perfect gift ideas that you know they will love, but will also show you’re paying attention. This one is a two-fer.
13. Always bring them back a little souvenir when you go out of town.
14. Randomly surprise them with small gifts, when you see something that reminds you of them.
15. Pay attention for things they don't have, but would make their life easier, and then surprise them with a gift.
Love Language: Acts Of Service
It may be cliched, but for for folks who speak the love language of acts of service, actions really do speak louder than words. Sure, it's nice to hear how someone feels, but being considerate, helpful, and thoughtful is what really speaks volumes to these people.
16. Offer to run an annoying errand for them.
17. Surprise them with a nice homemade dinner — and then do the clean up, too.
18. Make them a special breakfast smoothie.
19. When they are feeling overwhelmed, give them a break by splitting their to-do list.
20. Surprise them by getting their car washed and detailed.
Love Language: Physical Touch
If physical touch is your love language, the way you really feel close to someone is to literally be physically close. These folks feel the most affirmed, loved, and appreciated when their partner lavishes physical affection on them. You know — hugs, kisses, snuggles, and all that good stuff.
21. Give them a back or foot massage after a long day.
22. Always greet them with a hug and kiss. Same goes for when they leave.
23. Be the big spoon.
24. Reach over and rub their back of their neck while they drive.
25. Take the initiative in grabbing their hand when you are walking together.
See? Saying "I love you" without, ya know, actually saying it isn’t really all that complicated. It's just about all the small gestures that let your partner know they're appreciated, wanted, and above all, special to you.
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