Do you and your partner express love in similar ways, or does it sometimes seem like you’re speaking a different language? Whether you’re on the same page or not in terms of communicating, discovering your love languages can be a great way to see if you have love language compatibility.
Read on to find out how to navigate similar or different love languages and how to show love in the way your partner needs it most.
The Five Love Languages
To understand love language compatibility, first you must understand the five love languages: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. These are phrases that are used to describe how you prefer to be loved, or what makes you feel most loved and “seen” in a romantic relationship.
You don’t necessarily have only one love language; some people might even have a little of all five! But there’s probably one or two that you lean toward the most.
Take our love language quiz to uncover which one you score highest in, and read more about each one below.
Words of Affirmation
People with this love language like when their partners shower them with praise, listen to and acknowledge their feelings, give them encouragement, and so on. They prefer verbal communication as a way of expressing love.
Acts of Service
This love language is all about a more tangible presentation of love. They want their partners to love them by showing them, like doing chores around the house without them asking, cooking them dinner, driving them to the airport, and so on.
Receiving gifts doesn’t necessarily have a superficial connotation. Rather, people with this love language like to feel that their partners listen to them and take note when they say things like, “Oh, that’s cool!” or “Wouldn’t it be nice to have…” Overall, this love language focuses on receiving tokens of love and appreciation.
Quality time means that people feel most loved when they have uninterrupted time with a partner. Quality time could involve so many things, from day date activities to just sitting down to a home-cooked dinner together—whatever floats your boat.
From sex to holding hands to a simple peck on the cheek, physical affection is the way to the hearts of people with the physical touch love language.
What Love Languages are Most Compatible?
Similar to understanding attachment styles or how you both deal with conflict, knowing your and your partner’s love languages is one way to help create a harmonious relationship—because communication is [almost] everything. And love language compatibility can make it that much easier because you both understand each other better.
We do want to preface this discussion by saying that the goal of love languages isn’t necessarily for them to align in a partnership; rather, use them to enhance communication and help each other to feel loved. That being said, there are some love languages that can be more compatible together than others.
Receiving Gifts and Acts of Service
Because both of these love languages revolve around giving or providing something to someone else, they both fit nicely with each other. Both partners are pleased when the other goes out of their way to do something special, meaning that they’re both on the same page when it comes to expressing love.
And because they’re so closely aligned, partners will have an easier time giving each other love in the way that they need it. For example, if your love language is receiving gifts and your partner’s is acts of service, running a last-minute errand or watering the plants without them asking isn’t rocket science because you can see these acts of services as gifts—things that you need to feel loved.
Quality Time and Physical Touch
If you’re wondering what love language is compatible with quality time, look no further than physical touch. While these are inherently quite different, they often go hand-in-hand (pun intended).
The more quality time that you spend with your loved one, the more opportunities there are for physical intimacy. So while giving your partner a hug or resting a head on their shoulder aren’t necessarily “quality time,” these acts of physical touch are more frequent with the more one-on-one moments you share together.
And you’ve probably guessed the other part of physical touch love language compatibility: Sex can play a starring role in both the physical touch and quality time love languages.
What Are the Least Compatible Love Languages?
Some relationships with differing love languages might take a little more work to navigate. It can often feel like speaking a different language! Here are some of the more incompatible love languages.
Receiving Gifts and Quality Time
These love languages have a hard time working together because one is a physical manifestation of a gift, while the other isn’t.
Think about it like this: On an anniversary, one partner might desire a romantic date or experience, while the other might want to exchange gifts—neither feels that the other action is needed to feel loved. As you can see, the priorities of both of these love languages are vastly different.
Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch
While one person needs a verbal expression of love, the other person needs a physical expression, and these two can often conflict.
Consider this example: One partner had a tough day at work, and they come home expecting to talk it through and receive verbal confirmation that they’re good at what they do. Instead, the other partner thinks that giving them a hug or asking if they want to be physically intimate will help them feel loved and cared for. Both partners emotionally communicate in different ways, making it difficult to connect.
Can a Relationship Work if Love Languages are Different?
While love language compatibility isn’t required for a strong partnership, it can help immensely with communication. But it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker when you’re getting to know someone—you just have to know how to love your person in the way that they need.
Tips for meeting the emotional needs of a partner with a different love language:
- Words of affirmation: Ask about their day. Sprinkle in “I’m proud of you” throughout the work week. Acknowledge their feelings, and say “I understand.” Comment on how stylish they look, how you like their hair, that they smell nice. Most of all, say “I love you.”
- Acts of service: Do the dishes after a meal, vacuum up the crumbs on the floor, and take out the trash when it’s getting full. Pay for your dinner or coffee date. Run their errands. Bring them soup and Gatorade when they’re sick.
- Receiving gifts: Surprise them with that nice bottle of wine you both saw in a shop for your midweek dinner. Write them a love note and place it on their nightstand. Take note of the items they talk about throughout the year, and give one to them for their birthday.
- Quality time: Go for an after-dinner walk through the neighborhood. Plan a date day once every month or so. Have a no-device meal, and use these first-date conversation starters (that also work for seasoned couples!).
- Physical touch: Reach for their hand while at dinner, on a walk, at a party, etc. Give them a big hug after a tough day. Cuddle on the couch. Initiate sexy time.
Love language compatibility doesn’t have to be a top priority when searching for a romantic partner, but understanding how to navigate different love languages should be. With these tips, you and your partner can learn how to connect with each other and communicate in ways that both of you need—and communication is one of the keys to a successful relationship.