Knowing how to help your partner relax can take time and practice. Should you rub their shoulders? Listen to them vent? Bring home a carton of their favorite ice cream? While any of these gestures could work, relationship experts believe learning your partner’s love language is a sure-fire way to help them de-stress. But what are love languages, anyway?
There are five love languages—physical affection, receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, and acts of service—and they can help us distinguish the different ways we give and receive love.
“They’re important because they help us communicate what we really want; help us understand the way others are showing love, even if we aren’t feeling it; and give us insight on how to show love in a way that is received by the other person, even if it’s different from our own love language,” Michelle Baxo, international love coach, tells HelloGiggles.
However, it’s important to note that most people have more than one love language and may even have multiple ‘primary’ love languages.
“Some people have a singular clearly preferred love language whereas others may have several,” says clinical psychologist and author of Joy from Fear Dr. Carla Marie Manly. “And an individual’s love language may vary across relationships or remain relatively fixed.”
Either way, knowing your partner’s love language(s) will help you connect with them on a deeper level—especially when they’re going through a tough time. Not sure what your partner’s love language is? Click here to have them take the quiz and scroll down to find out exactly what Baxo and Dr. Manly say you could do to help your partner relax, based on their love language. While it’s not our responsibility to fix every one of our S.O.’s problems, it is important to support them in their time of need.
Words of affirmation
“People with this love language want to be told that they are appreciated, so if they are in a stressful situation, it may be because they feel as though their efforts aren’t being recognized, or they are being taken for granted somehow,” says Baxo. “You may hear this person complain a lot, seek verbal comfort from others, or validate themselves a lot to try to feel better about the situation and themselves.”
If this sounds like your S.O., Baxo says you can show them love by saying, “You are working very hard; I appreciate how hard you work; I can see this is really important to you, and I love that about you.”