Before we delve into ways that can make you and your partner closer, we need to know a few things. Not all relationships thrive on closeness. Some relationships can have both partners being very independent and still be successful. However, closeness and intimacy, whether it’s physical or emotional, make for a stronger relationship. Relationships have become more complicated and complex than they used to be. What makes them more complex? Social media for one and society, in general, has changed the way people see and act in relationships.
The first thing you should do is figure out each other’s order of love languages. If you have ever tried doing nice and thoughtful things for your partner and notice that they don’t really work as well as you hoped, you may just be appealing to a weak love language for them. Maybe you’re complimenting them all the time, but “Words of Affirmation” is a weak love language for them. Maybe “Quality Time” is their top love language. You can try different actions and words, but they may not be very effective if you don’t know their love language. The first step then would be to take Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages Quiz. My own results are (out of 10 each) 9 for Quality Time, 8 for Physical Touch 6 for Acts of Service, 6 For Words of Affirmation and 1 for Receiving Gifts. Let’s take a more in-depth look at each love language.
Words of Affirmation
This language isn’t a very important one for me, but for others, it can be extremely important. For those whose top language is words of affirmation, what you say and how you say it means everything. For them, compliments and nice words go a long way. “Thank you”, “you’re awesome”, “good job”, “I’m proud of you” and “I love you” are all examples of little things that can make a big difference in their day. They appreciate the small comments much more than most people. More personal or specific comments mean even more and can really make their day: “I love the way you smile when I look at you,” “I really appreciate that you don’t hesitate when I ask you to do something for me, you just do it,” “I love how you always take out the trash when it gets full,” “You’re so good at cooking!” People with this love language love being appreciated with words even if they’re just for little insignificant things. What are some ways you can make your partner feel closer to you if this is their love language?
- Express your gratitude with words. Showing them that you appreciate them with words for small things can really brighten up their day.
- Appreciate their effort. If they usually cook and clean, or take out the trash, or pick up the kids from school, or anything like that, it’s great to say something like “Hey, I know you always do this for me and I really appreciate it,”
- Acknowledge their accomplishments, no matter how big or small. If they finally learned how to parallel park but you’re a pro, say something encouraging. If they have finally finished a book, tell them that you’re proud. Acknowledging them for anything that they are successful in can really bring up their mood.
Be careful of negative words or comments. Negative feedback, insults, or passive aggressive comments can hurt. them as much, if not
Acts of Service
For people with acts of service at the top of their list, you can say you’ll do something as much as you want. But what really matters to them are actions that show them you care. The acts that mean the most to someone will differ from person to person but what you do for them can make their day. Even if it’s only a few little things. If your partner says a lot of complimentary things to you, it may make you feel good, but if your love language is Acts of Service, then it’ll only do so much. They may wonder why you don’t get as happy as they do when they say how great you look and how much they love you. Of course, you appreciate the words but they just don’t communicate love like a thoughtful act would. Here are some great places to start:
- You know your partner the best. You know what they’ll appreciate the most. But these few things should almost always work: taking out the trash, cooking/cleaning up after cooking, making coffee, getting up at 3:30 am to feed and change your baby, cleaning up around the house, etc.
- The small things always matter. Don’t underestimate the power of a small deed. They can mean much more to a person than you’d think, especially if it’s something personal. For example, my wife can be very busy when I get home. She’s usually in the middle of something. It means a lot to me when she gets up from whatever she’s doing and greets me with a hug and a kiss. It’s a great start to my night when she does that little act.
- Pay attention to the things they react to most in a good way. If they always complain of how messy something is and can’t stand anything less than a clean house, then do chores for them. If they hate seeing dishes in the sink, put them in the dishwasher or hand wash them when you’re done. Maybe they’re a coffee lover like me and they love it when you pick them up their favorite drink from their favorite coffee place on the way home.
Actions are what this language is all about. That means inaction is the worst thing for them. Inaction shows that you’re not thinking of them throughout the day. It may come off to them as being selfish or being upset over something. Actions are everything to these people and even the smallest thing means quite a lot. Remember, actions speak louder than words.
This may seem materialistic. However, this love language is not about the gifts themselves. This language is about the thoughtfulness of the gesture. What makes the gift special to them is the thought you put into it and how much you can show that you really know them. Just like in every love language (hopefully, you’re catching on!) is that the small things matter as much as the big ones.
- If my wife got me some new guitar picks, that would mean the world to me. They are a small and cheap gift, but to me, she is saying “You haven’t played guitar in a while and I know how much you love it!” That shows me that she’s listening, she cares about my passions and wants me to be successful at what I do.
- In this love language, even inexpensive gifts go a long way to show your appreciation. If your partner loves writing, get them their favorite pens. They love coffee? Get them a mug that suits them, maybe it has words on it or maybe it’s an abstract design because they’re an artist. You know your partner best so what means the most is up to you to figure out.
- The best thing to do (and this is a great way to really get to know someone!) is to really hear them when they talk. You can listen to someone and not hear them. That means you hear the words they’re saying, but you’re not understanding the ideas or points they are trying to convey. Try to pick up on the little things they may be saying or getting at. Maybe they are leaving you hints in subtle ways that they need new shoes or they’d like a case for their new phone. Try these:
- Nuances in speech; are they getting excited when they mention a specific thing?
- Have they brought something specific up in normal conversation more than once?
- Do they collect anything? Get something they can add to their collection.
There are many ways to go about this, but it all depends on your partner’s interests and qualities. Generic things may work sometimes, but if you’re not careful, they may start to think that you don’t really know them that well. To people with this love language, the gifts you get them, say everything about how much you listen and pay attention to them. The right gift can say more than wedding vows. Everyone just wants to be heard.
This language is all about giving your partner your full attention. That means no distractions. Nothing makes a Quality Time person feel more loved and appreciated than knowing that they have your full attention. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing. You could be getting breakfast together, taking a walk, doing a hobby together, watching a movie, playing a board game or a game of chess. No matter what it is that you two are doing together, quality time is about connection. So, phones away, work is only for the workday, and your hobbies should be you and your partner’s hobbies. Just the two of you and a good time.
- Even if you’re just folding laundry together, making good conversation and paying attention to each other, no music or anything can mean a lot.
- Quality time can look like many things both small or unique. Savannah and I love to cook together (well I cook and she helps), we both love photography and I love science so she indulges me by space-gazing. Stargazing can be misleading
The most important thing with quality time is the full attention thing I keep mentioning. Multitasking may seem like a good idea. But when you’re spending time with your partner, it can leave them feeling ignored. Try your best to put all other things in the back of your mind, and giving your partner your undivided attention.
The Physical Touch love language is all about loving touch. This doesn’t mean just touching them randomly or sexually. They can appreciate romantic or sexual touching but it’s all about the appropriate touch for the moment. For these people, the right touch at the right time can make them feel so connected and loved. That’s right. Just a touch can mean that much. If you’re just walking around with your partner at the mall, in the park or wherever, holding their hand can mean a lot and make them feel a lot more connected.
- Holding hands is an easy but meaningful touch. Putting your arm around them when they’re sitting next to you, hugging for a hello or goodbye, kissing on the lips or the cheek can be a very loving gesture to them.
- Public displays of affection can also be a big thing for some people with this love language. Some people don’t like it, but for others, it can show them that they are proud to be with you and want to show off their love.
- There is, of course, the sexual aspect. This can be huge for some people! The feeling of being desired is one of the best feelings to have. When the time is right, a sexual touch, a caress, or a kiss, can signal to them that you’re in the mood.
These love languages can be a key to cultivating connection. They can help build your relationship and make your bond much stronger. Acting on your partner’s love language can also help “get things going” so to speak. The connection you can build will make the two of you feel so deeply connected which can really help with sexual intimacy. Oh, and Gentleman, don’t forget the foreplay.