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Love Languages: Expression of Love for Yourself and Others

Updated: Oct 5, 2020

Love languages are how we communicate affection in our relationships. It is how we speak and understand love. People have a primary love language, and we often like to express the love language that we want to receive. However, this is not always the case. By understanding each other's love language we are better able to discuss differences, address conflict and overall, have more fulfilling relationships.

One of the main concerns brought up by couples receiving therapy at McAtee Psychology is that one or both partners are not expressing love according to the love languages. This leads couples to become resentment because they need specific types of praise or actions that demonstrate love.

Below, you will find a brief explanation of the 5 love languages as well as examples of how you can express them to your partner, friends and children.

Words of Affirmation

  • Use your words to affirm your care and affection

  • Build them up, compliment them and praise them

  • Tell them regularly that you care

  • Speak intently and be genuine.

  • Say "I love you"


With yourself: reflect on your strengths, mantras, journaling

With your partner: I love how thoughtful you are.

With your friend: I am here if you need me and will always support you.

With your children: I want you to know that I am proud of you.

Acts of Service

  • "Actions speak louder than words"

  • Go out of your way to do thoughtful gestures

  • Offer to help to make their life easier

  • Best done without being asked and without obligation


With yourself: make your bed, self-care, attending therapy

With your partner: do housework, run errands, cook meals

With your friends: help them move, plan a birthday party, babysit/pet sit

With your children: make them their favourite snack, help them with their homework, practise a sport together

Receiving Gifts

  • It is the thought and effort that counts

  • Does not need to be expensive or elaborate

  • Can be tangible or intangible

  • Can be given on birthdays, holidays, anniversaries or "just because"


With yourself: spend money on your hobbies, buy things you love,

With your partner: pick up their favourite dessert, buy them flowers,

With your friends: offer to pay for lunch, send them a card, give them a thoughtful gift

With your children: buy them a toy, make them a craft, send them "care kits"

Quality Time

  • Engage in an enjoyable activity

  • Give your undivided attention

  • Put away or turn off all distractions

  • Listen and interact with positive intention


With yourself: meditation, reading a book, spending time in nature

With your partner: have dinner, talk about each other's day

With your friends: meeting up for coffee, call just to chat, go on vacation

With your children: reading a book together, spending a day at the park, play a game together

Physical Touch

  • The physical expression of love

  • Be intentional and loving

  • Be appropriate and mindful of other's boundaries


With yourself: exercise, get a massage, have a warm bath.

With your friends: give them a hug, high fives, fist bumps

With your partner: hugging, holding hands, kissing

With your children: hugging, let them sit on your lap, cuddles

We all have the desire to feel loved. When we provide a love language in-line with what our partner needs, we strengthen our relationship. Our partner feels understood, supported and cared for. Couples who have a mismatch in their love languages feel neglected, unappreciated and frustrated. By acknowledging our partner's and our own love languages, we are better equipped to approach conflicts and issues with empathy. It offers us perspective into their point of view.


There are 5 love languages: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch. We all prefer to give and receive love in different ways. This love can be for ourselves, our partner, our friends and our children. By being mindful of our and other's love language, we can communicate our love more effectively.

For more information and to discover your love language:


McAtee Psychology is a private family psychology practice offering counselling, assessment, and therapeutic services to families. Our services include counselling and assessment for individuals, couples, and children & teens. Our mission is to help you and your family create a more rich, connected, and meaningful life.

McAtee Psychology NW: 1982 Kensington Road NW, Calgary, AB

McAtee Psychology SE: 105, 11500 29 St SE, Calgary, AB |

Phone: 403-926-3738

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