There’s a common stereotype that women expect expensive jewelry, luxurious chocolates, and a big bouquet of roses for Valentine’s Day. After all, that’s what all the advertising tells us, because that’s what they can sell for a massive profit.
There are plenty of jokes (or not-really jokes) about how women use Valentine’s Day to “test” if you still will buy her gifts anyway.
No, it really isn’t. Valentine’s Day, much like Christmas, is simply a day to celebrate your partner and your relationship. What is easily forgotten under the mess of constant advertising is that everyone is different, and so are their needs and wants.
That’s where the five love languages come in: outlining the different ways to express and experience love.
Love languages are extensively used because it’s an easier way to understand an admittedly more complex topic of communication. Most conflicts in relationships (personal or otherwise) stem from a place of miscommunication. With a working concept that’s more tangible, it can help people pinpoint where the miscommunication came from and pay more attention to that in the future.
The important thing to note is that people often appreciate all expressions of love, but have one or two that they cherish the most- a dominant or primary love language, so to speak.
1. Physical touch
This includes constant appropriate contact such as hand-holding, hugs, cuddles, and more.
For Valentine’s, consider gifts such as a massage or just holding hands throughout the day.
2. Acts of Service
Service often means doing something for the other person, such as doing the dishes, opening doors for them, carrying their bags, and such.
For Valentine’s, consider cooking them a meal, or pull a hot bath, or give the house a deep-clean like they wanted.
3. Words of Affirmation
Some people enjoy verbalising their love and shower their partner with “I love you!”s. For them, compliments and positive language are crucial.
For Valentine’s, consider telling them how much or why you love them, or if that makes you feel shy, write an old-school love letter instead for bonus romance points.
4. Quality Time
Not just time, but quality time together. It’s common to see a couple having dinner at a restaurant but one or both of them are on their phones. Quality time involves undivided attention together, with no outside distractions.
For Valentine’s, consider a weekend retreat or simple getaway where phones are put away and distractions are kept at a minimum. Even a trip to the cinema and an uninterrupted dinner would be good.
5. Receiving Gifts
Some people truly enjoy physical gifts, but the key here is gifts that show effort and thoughtfulness, not just the cheapest gift of perfume when your partner is allergic to fragrances.
For Valentine’s, consider something suitable that fits their interests: a smartwatch for a technophile, new eyeshadow for a makeup enthusiast, or even a new set of knives for a home chef.
Crucially, you should learn to pick up what is your partner’s love language and cater to that. In fact, a 2017 study shows conclusive proof that having self-regulatory behaviour in a relationship does in fact increase relationship satisfaction. Self-regulatory behaviour means that not only do you know your partner’s love language, it also includes the enthusiastic proactiveness to express your love in their love language.
And the best way to do this is to listen to what they complain about. Complaints can be annoying, sure, but it’s really just a form of communication as well: in this case, by mentioning certain unsatisfactory parts of the relationship.
If your partner has constantly mentioned that “you never spend time with me”, that means they need quality time. If they say “you don’t buy me anything”, well… it’s pretty self-explanatory.
Another good way to recognize your partner’s love language is to recount how they show you love. Do they often buy little gifts for you just because they were thinking of you? Do you tell you everyday that they love you? Do they always want a hug at every opportunity? Do they help to carry your stuff without needing to be asked?
Even if you may not have given it much thought at the time, how a person shows love is often reflective of their love language.
So what are you waiting for? Go and sweep your partner off their feet- this time by knowing exactly what they want.
What’s your love language? You can take a quick quiz here and share it with us on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. (As expected, our love language is words of affirmation- so tell us what you think!)
Anne is an advocate of sustainable living and the circular economy, and has managed to mum-nag the team into using reusable containers to tapau food. She is also a proud parent of 4 cats and 1 rabbit.