It’s a human instinct to love and want to be loved in return. When we’re fully in tune with our partner’s emotional needs, and vice versa, we can feel solid in our romantic connection. According to matchmaker and dating coach Thalia Ouimet, if both partners in a relationship express their love with encouraging words or thoughtful gifts, for example, feeling loved and appreciated is simple. What happens, though, when the ways in which we show or receive affection differ from those of a partner? Sometimes, these differences can create conflict in a relationship dynamic, which is why understanding a person’s love language is key.
Created by author and minister Gary Chapman, the five love languages — words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, receiving gifts, and physical touch — help us better understand how to love the people in our lives, especially our partners. Communication is the most crucial element in any relationship, and that’s still the case when it comes to love language compatibility. While it’s possible for you and your partner to have the same love language, it’s more likely to find someone with a love language that complements yours.
If you’re curious about whether you and your partner’s love languages work well together, keep reading to find out what means if you have different love languages and see some of the most complementary pairings.
Are You Most Compatible With People With Similar Love Languages?
When you and your partner both receive love via physical touch, for example, it’s easier to anticipate your partner’s needs since they’re similar to yours. Giving them a massage or holding hands while you’re out together might be a great way for both of you to feel connected and appreciated.
“The most compatible love languages are when they are identical,” Ouimet says. “Having the same love language as your partner will only make the relationship stronger.” However, she also explains that this is a rare occurrence. “Never assume that your partner has the same love language [as you]. In fact, the odds are that your partner won’t have the same love language, so it’s important to discuss how you show and receive love.”
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But having different love languages doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker. “Most of the time our love language was taught to us from our childhood experiences,” Ouimet says. “How our parents showed their love towards us is how we know to give/receive love.” Since we all have different life experiences, learning to communicate, no matter the difference, is crucial to a healthy and loving relationship.
If Your Love Languages Are: Words Of Affirmation And Quality Time
Words of affirmation and quality time can be one of the more complementary pairings. When one partner feels most loved by spending intentional and intimate time with the other, there’s plenty of room left for in-depth conversations. This is an ideal time for each partner to exchange those words of affirmation so that both love languages are honored. According to Ouimet, this couple is compatible because each partner “will feel secure and appreciated for their efforts.”
She also advises those in this pairing “to have an open conversation about how they receive love differently, and to make an effort to love their partner the way they want to be loved.”
If Your Love Languages Are: Acts Of Service And Receiving Gifts
A partnership with these two love languages has the potential to thrive since both will feel appreciated by the exchange of gifts or a partner helping them. “This pair can work well together,” Ouimet says. “For example, if your partner noticed that you ran out of almond milk and your morning routine is to make your latte with almond milk, [if] your partner’s love language is acts of service, then running to the store and buying that item for you can also be classified as a surprise gift.”
Just as doing something nice for your partner can also involve gift-giving, buying your partner something functional can be seen as an act of service, too. Finding creative ways to honor each of these love languages can create a stronger bond and sense of appreciation between you and your partner.
If Your Love Languages Are: Physical Touch And Quality Time
For a lot of couples, this pairing creates a harmonious exchange of affection. Spending quality time with a partner can often lead to physical touch or physical intimacy, which fulfills both partners’ needs.
“This match could work well together if, [for example], you spend time with your partner watching a movie cuddled up on the couch … one partner gets to have the quality time they need and the other gets the physical touch cuddling while watching the movie,” Ouimet says.
If you and your partner are also sexually involved, spending time cuddling and having intentional conversations before or post-sex can be a great way to express both of these love languages. Taking advantage of the physical connection that intimacy provides can easily lead to emotional closeness when you’re both staying in the present moment.
Thalia Ouimet, matchmaker and dating coach