How to Say I Love You in a Way They Will Understand

Imagine that someone you love speaks a different language than you. If they only speak Chinese, and you only speak English, saying I love you in English isn’t going to mean much to them. In The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, he discusses how to communicate love effectively by learning the Love Language of your loved one. I love his book and will be referencing it as I write this post.

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
I have had this book for years, an updated version was published in 2015. You can purchase it here.

What I have Learned About the 5 Love Languages:

  1. Words of Affirmation- Through your words, you can build or destroy a person who’s Primary love language is Words of Affirmation. The bite of criticism can sting just as much as a complement can lift. It is important to genuinely notice and verbally express gratitude to this type of person. Their drive to succeed stems from the compliments they are issued. When you praise them, they feel loved and appreciated.
  2. Quality Time- This love language may take the most time to communicate, but it is just as important as the others. Spending Quality time means listening. Turn off the TV and listen to what they have to say. Give them your full attention. If you are in the middle of a task when this type of person wants their attention, consider this statement. A person who’s Primary Love Language is Quality Time would rather wait a moment for you to finish your task so that they can have your undivided attention, than to have only part of your attention while your attention is divided. It is okay to say, wait a moment while I finish this, I would like to give you 100% of my attention. They will feel that they are important and wanted.
  3. Receiving Gifts- If a person is constantly giving gifts to make you smile, this may be their love language. This person may also give gifts to say “I am Sorry”. This type of person responds positively to being given gifts. They don’t have to be expensive gifts to make them feel loved. The gifts that mean the most are ones that are thought out. They appreciate you taking the time to know them and understanding what will make them smile.
  4. Acts of Service- Helping out with household chores, or running errands for this type of person can go a long way. They feel loved when you step in to help, or surprise them with a clean home, or a hot meal. If there is a chore you dislike, and your spouse knows it, think about what it will communicate to them if you do it happily for them. Doing something like this says I am doing this because I love you loud and clear.
  5. Physical Touch- Keep in mind that Physical Touch is more than physical intimacy. Physical touch can mean a pat on the back when you are proud, a gentle caress of the arm as you walk by, a hug when they come home, an embrace when they are sad. This type of person thrives when they experience positive physical interactions. When you touch them in a loving way, they feel accepted and loved.How to Say I Love You in a Way They Will Understand


You can go to to take a free quiz to determine your primary love language. I took the test and found that my primary love language is Acts of Service. I also found that Receiving Gifts ranked 0 in importance to me. I had fun taking the test so I had my husband and 4 year old son take it too. (We had to simplify the verbiage to help  him understand the questions.) Their results both showed Receiving Gifts as their Primary Love Language. Sounds like I need to learn how to speak that language so that I can keep their “Love Tanks” full (As Gary Chapman calls it). You can take a quick test here to determine your primary love language.

Speaking the Love Language that your loved one speaks will go a long way when you are trying to communicate your love for them. The book The five Love Languages is such an easy read, and can improve the quality of your relationships. Gary Chapman is a marriage counselor who tells some wonderful stories about his clients over the years, and how their relationships improved by speaking their spouses love language. To get a more in depth description about the love languages and how to speak them you can purchase The Five Love Languages here. There are several different books aimed for different audiences including singles, children, teenagers, and men. Check them out here.

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3 thoughts on “How to Say I Love You in a Way They Will Understand”

  1. I just taught a marriage workshop on campus in Rexburg, and we used a lot of Chapman. He has some sweet books. There’s The Five Love Languages of Children, The Five Love Languages of Teenagers, The Four Seasons of Marriage, etc.

    Another sweet book to check out would be The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman. That book alongside The Five Love Languages can boost any and all marriage relationships.

    Thanks for sharing!

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