Does the Valentine's Day countdown put a knot in your stomach or does it make your heart sing?
Either way, you're not alone. A survey found that US couples were almost equally divided on their POV: 43% Pro V-Day and 48% Anti-Valentine's Day.
You don't need to change how you feel about February 14, but knowing what it means to your partner is a good starting point for learning how to speak to their heart.
Our speed training in the language of love is inspired by Gary Chapman's bestseller The 5 Love Languages. Learn them and put them into action.
In short, each partner shows the other that they love them by "speaking" a love language. According to Chapman, each person uses more than one of the 5 Love Languages, but one ranks highest.
For example, a husband can express his love for his wife with the most impact by communicating it to her using her love language. She can have the same success speaking his language.
It's not just important to know your partner's love language. Your relationship will benefit additionally when you know your own love language. Besides becoming more self-aware, you can inform your partner of the best way to reinforce their love for you.
1st Love Language: Words of Affirmation
This means recognizing your partner's value and effort. Not just for what you adore in them but also for what they like about themselves. Acknowledge the thought they are putting in to make you happy. This could push you out of your comfort zone but love is sacrifice. For example:
Your partner loves to tell jokes, but you don't think they're funny. Guess what. If they have not stopped trying, it means humor and making you laugh is important to them. Faking a laugh isn't true affirmation, but a sincere smile and demonstrating appreciation are.
Show interest. Ask them where they heard it or if they made it up. Join in the fun by making a joke of your own or suggesting you go to a comedy club (not right at that moment because that could be mistaken for an insult).
"Thank You" Takes 2 Seconds To Say But Lasts Forever
Thank your partner for the things they do for you whether it's what they do everyday or something they might have guessed would make you happy. If they always make the bed or set the table for dinner, take a minute to say, "Thanks for making the bed" or "You're so neat and organized. That makes me feel more relaxed."
If they did something that isn't a big deal to you, take notice anyway. Communicate your appreciation with a thank you, a hug, a smile ...
2nd Love Language: Quality Time
This is taking the time to catapult your relationship to the top. No distractions are allowed. Turn off the TV. Put your phone away. It could be as sweet and simple as holding hands and watching the sunset.
If you haven't had a real talk in awhile, take the time to listen to what your partner has to say. You may need to start by asking some questions. If this is your partner's love language, that's all it will take to get them on a roll.
Listen and share. If you are asked a question, then answer it sincerely. Is there something in your life that your partner has been curious about? If so, your partner may appear hesitant to ask. Make them feel like it's ok. Give them permission by asking, "Is there something in particular on your mind?"
Pay attention to body language. Both of yours. Make eye contact and relax your body. It may seem obvious, but arm crossing is an absolute no (some people do it without realizing it). Be mindful.
3rd Love Language: Receiving Gifts
Before you worry about the money, relax. The 5 Love Languages are the finest examples of the phrase, "It's the thought that counts." Here's how you ace this one:
Be a bit of a detective. Does your partner have a new goal? Find out what it is and give a gift that supports it. Is your partner dieting or working out? Get them a new workout outfit or better yet, something sexy to show off their changing body.
Double up on the love and point out in front of others how good they look. Give that compliment in the company of friends and family. Depending on the audience, you might announce that your love is looking "extra hot." If it's too early to visually notice, then find a recipe or a restaurant that will make it easier to achieve their goal.
4rd Love Language: Acts of Service
Yes, it is what it sounds like. Serve. Treat them like a king or queen, but you don't have to break your back.
What are the errands or chores that your partner does not like doing? Without saying anything or expecting anything in return, take on those things yourself. You'll get noticed if it's their love language.
5th Love Language: Physical Touch
If sex jumped into your mind, you are partially right. Yes, sex is an expression of love and involves touch but so does a soft hug and kiss on the cheek. Massages are a great way to loosen both of you up and reconnect.
A study found that couples who gave each other 15 minute massages once a week reported significant improvements in their relationships and reduction in their personal stress. The benefit went both ways. The receiver and giver felt almost equally rewarded. 9 out of 10 said they would recommend massages to other couples.
Physical touch is language without words. When least expected, hold your special someone's hand. Run your fingers through their hair. It's about initiating and singling them out. An innocent touch on the arm can lead to fireworks in the bedroom. Or better yet, a location you haven't been intimate before.
Decode Your Partner's Language Of Love
So, how do you discover your partner's primary love language? Listen. Be attentive. Take notes. Real notes. Put them in your phone. Take screenshots of potential gifts, restaurants, etc.
Another trick is to observe their pet peeves. Does your partner get upset when, for instance, you don't take out the trash or you leave dirty dishes in the sink? If yes, then Acts of Service might be their love language. On the positive side, if they ask or hint a lot for "favors," then, bullseye! Those things are important.
Regularly completing something as simple as a 15-minute task to lighten their load could reward you both for a lifetime.
Does your partner like to dress up for you or show off their "talents"? No matter what they're doing -- celebrity impressions or playing air guitar -- they're probably seeking affirmation. Let them know that you like that unique quality in them. Exactly what they are doing doesn't have to be your favorite thing. The point is it's part of who they are.
Remember why you fell in love to begin with and discover new reasons.
Love Is A Two-Way Street
All of the tips above work for discovering your love language also. Hone in on it and then let your partner know.
With time, you’ll each develop fluency. Then you can tackle each other’s second through fifth love languages. With a strong connection, you’ll have plenty of time to practice together.