HOW TO LOVE (What To Avoid)

Couple Holding Hands

By : @TheSaucyMartian

When you love someone you don’t have the luxury of loving them the way you want. Focusing not only on HOW to love your partner, but also how NOT to love your partner advances your understanding of what it is to love and TO BE loved.

Knowing how to love is just as important as knowing what to avoid. Let’s explore this using the staple 5 Love Languages (if you are not familiar with the 5 Love Languages click here for a brief education).

Nothing I provide is an exhaustive list, so definitely look more into this for your own relationships. My goal is to provide you a great starting point for your journey.

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Quality Time

Couple Spending Quality TIme

How to love a person with this love language :

  • Be physically AND mentally present
  • Make plans (AND KEEP THEM) that includes discovering new places and taking new adventures together
  • Ensure that quality time is focused on your partner and the bond you are building (PHONE AWAY)
  • Have deep relationship-building or just deep thought-provoking conversations (no judgement zone)
  • Make moments to connect personal and significant for your partner

AVOID THE FOLLOWING :

  • Making plans with others when you are with them
  • Complaining about the time spent while with your partner or after the fact
  • Calling your partner clingy or needy just because their love language differs from yours
  • Letting other things, people, thoughts distract you while you’re with your partner

In a nutshell :

One-on-One time is critical to your partner, which makes it critical to the success of your relationship as a whole. Don’t fumble a great bond by not being centrally-focused on what you’re building with your partner. Time spent with your partner whose love language is QUALITY TIME is NOT the time to show off your multi-tasking skills. 

Remember… a jack of all trades is a master of NONE. You are not mastering a successful, loving relationship by serving up mediocrity to the person you say you love. 

Physical Touch

Couple Cuddling

How to love a person with this love language :

  • INITIATE intimacy
  • Kiss (lips, forehead, cheek, anywhere really)
  • Giving hugs and caresses should both be a consistent part of your interaction
  • Remember that non-sexual touches are just as important as sexual ones for your partner
  • Embrace your partner whenever possible to remind them of the strong connection you have with them

AVOID THE FOLLOWING :

  • Long hiatuses
  • Not communicating during long hiatuses (the QT has to be stepped up when PT isn’t possible)
  • Not putting your heart into physical touch and affection (don’t do it begrudgingly)
  • Waiting for your partner to make the first move all the time (show your partner you desire them too)

In a nutshell :

Physical intimacy needs to have a foundation of thoughtfulness. Your partner will be able to tell if your heart is not in it.

In addition, distance doesn’t make the heart of your partner grow fonder. It is a phrase they can’t even comprehend. More often than not you will return from most hiatuses and find some level of briskness or hard-heartedness in your partner. Especially if this is their primary love language and not a secondary or tertiary one.

Don’t hold back your physical affection if you want to keep the attention of a person whose love language is PHYSICAL TOUCH. And don’t try to focus only on physical touching that leads to sexual activity. That is a cop out of an effort.

Your partner is worth you taking more consideration and putting more effort into what you’re building. So get it through your mind that it goes beyond just sex. It can be the epitome of working smarter (not harder) if you let it. 

Acts of Service

Man fixing woman's heel strap

How to love a person with this love language :

  • Use action words, your partner wants to see that you are partnered with them (ie “I will help you…)
  • Do what you talk about doing
  • Be consistent with your follow through
  • When your partner is stressed out or running out of time on projects and tasks volunteer to assist
  • Find ways to be helpful on a daily basis ( ie : running errands, folding clothes, anything that can take a load off)
  • Find spontaneous ways to brighten up your partners day (ie make your partner breakfast in bed)
  • Do chores together
  • Make the sacrifices necessary to alleviate your partner’s workload

AVOID THE FOLLOWING :

  • Ignoring needs related to helping` with your partner’s workload or tasks
  • Being consistently INCONSISTENT with follow through when you signed up to assist
  • Buying into gender-specific biases (ie men take out the trash, women wash dishes, etc.. )

In a nutshell :

Your partner wants someone who can be counted on consistently. It is not that you will never make a mistake. However, don’t go out of your way to let outside things distract or prevent your partner from trusting that you have his/her best interest at heart. Your partner wants to trust that when a responsibility is placed in your hands, that you will focus on honoring that as if it was your own task or responsibility to finish to fruition.

Consistently, breaking that trust is the worst way to keep a partner whose love language is Acts of Service satisfied enough to stick around. Apologies are a part of navigating relationships, but after a while your “sorry” is sorry and your partner is expecting you to put more effort into being consistent and reliable. Sacrifices will have to be made, so MAKE THEM!

Words of Affirmation

Roses with notes

How to love a person with this love language :

  • Leave encouraging and loving notes (in surprise places at surprising times are best)
  • Music can be bonding, choose several songs that share how you feel about your partner and send them a playlist
  • Participate in your partner’s success and struggles by actively listening and providing suggestions and feedback
  • Compliment your partner (but make sure it is genuine, don’t do this without leading with your heart)
  • Take time to speak your appreciation for your partner’s existence in your life

AVOID THE FOLLOWING :

  • Holding back verbal affection because you assume your partner knows that they are loved and appreciated
  • Assuming that they know how proud you are of them
  • Speaking to them in emotionally harsh ways that can break their spirit
  • Failing to recognize or appreciate the effort they put into the relationship or into personal goals

In a nutshell :

Words are such an easy way to express your appreciation for a partner who has this love language because all it requires is that it is genuine.

It can come in the form of an unexpected note, a text, or the BEST way… face-to-face in person conversation.

Tell your partner how much value they add to your life, how proud you are of how they handle the ins and out of life in general, and really be a true sounding board for those things that concern your partner.

Encouraging your partner in a genuine and loving way will ensure that you are in tune with the needs of your partner and that your partner feels heard and appreciated in the relationship.

Receiving Gifts

Woman receiving gift

This love language is often misunderstood, because it is a more tangible exhibition of love. But rest assured that for this group it is not about monetary value. It is more about the symbolism behind why a gift is being given. So don’t automatically think that someone with this love language is automatically a “Gold Digger.” Gold diggers do exist, this just isn’t the litmus test to figure out if a person is or not.

How to love a person with this love language :

  • Be thoughtful when providing a gift, make it mean something memorable
  • Be a “micro-listener”– a person who listens to the needs of their partner and provides it without request
  • When you are away from your partner, bring back souvenirs / gifts that let them know they were thought of
  • When giving a gift make it an extension of special moments or experiences you’ve had together
  • Be intentional and prioritizing with your gift giving on their birthday, and on holidays

AVOID THE FOLLOWING :

  • Providing gifts that are only logic-based with no warmth behind the reason (“going through the motions”)
  • Giving gifts that don’t show that your partner was a priority; or that the gift was an afterthought
  • Forgetting special occasions; especially moments specific to the relationship
  • Complaining about what it took to obtain a gift, or acting like it was a “chore”
  • Forgetting that your partner also likes to give gifts, so be enthusiastic but genuine about what you receive

In a nutshell :

A partner with this love language is excited about receiving gifts in the warmest of ways. Please note that your partner is not motivated by the monetary nature of this love language. Being thought of enough to make that thought momentous with a gift is an extension of love that is greatly appreciated and in the eyes of your partner typically works both ways

Always remember gift giving can be a small or big thing, the most important thing is that it is done with love, shows love, and as always is genuine.

When someone has this love language (in understanding the joy they feel when receiving gifts) they are ecstatic to provide that same feeling. This is their favorite way to say “I love you as much as you love me.”

So don’t fail your partner by not seeing the love that is poured into making your day with a gift.

And don’t fail to pour love into making your partner’s day with a gift.

Conclusion

The idea of love languages is not just a one language situation. Every person on some level has a percentage of their heart that feels appreciated when any 5 of these are extended by a partner. Knowing the love languages not only helps you learn how to learn your partner but can help you verbalize how to help your partner better understand you as well.

Become fluent by really having conversations about love languages. You can start by clicking here to take the quiz.

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