The Best Valentine’s Day Gift for Each of the 5 Love Languages
Depending on the person you love, the best Valentine's Day gift might not require you to spend much money at all. Psychologists share their ideas.
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Gary Chapman, Ph.D., first introduced the world to the five love languages in 1992, and since then, his book, The 5 Love Languages, has sold over 20 million copies and been translated into multiple languages. With The 5 Love Languages, Chapman’s mission was to help people love better, and knowing how to use the 5 love languages does just that. But first, you need to identify your love language and reflect on past experiences to get the best sense of what made you feel loved and valued.
Psychologists say there’s a difference between falling in love and staying in love. Knowing how to communicate love to your partner helps immensely with the latter. “What says ‘I love you’ to me is likely different than what says ‘I love you’ to you, and couples tend to have problems when they are unaware that they speak different love languages,” explains Sean Davis, PhD, LMFT, a marriage and family therapist and psychology professor at Alliant International University.
New York City-based psychotherapist Francesca Maxime, LMSW, adds: “Giving a gift in your partner’s love language is naturally more relational. It conveys respect and the fact that you’re really attuned to them and notice them. A gift in their love language makes them feel valued and respected, like you really ‘get’ them.”
Here are Valentine’s Day gift ideas for every love language.
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Acts of Service
For the partner who’s an overachiever and always juggling a demanding schedule and multiple responsibilities, the basis behind acts of service is to do something that will make their day easier. Consider a coupon book as a gift: You fill a cute notebook with acts of service you’re pledging to do, like “walk the dog,” “do the laundry” or “organize the garage.”
If you don’t live nearby and can’t provide daily acts of service, but want to get a gift for someone with this love language, you could also stock their freezer with healthy, easy-to-make meals, such as from Daily Harvest.
If food doesn’t get them going, think about booking a cleaning service, snow shoveling, or gardening for them. If they love acts of service and quality time, you could book a mini wellness vacation, like to any of the 15 healthiest cities in the country, and make all the reservations.
Words of Affirmation
If your loved one’s love language is words of affirmation, they might love to have a good old-fashioned love letter from you. If you have unique things you say to each other, you could put one of your sayings on a custom mug or picture frame with a photo of you together. Similar to an acts of service coupon book, you could also fill a box or jar with words of affirmation.
Restaurants are overcrowded on Valentine’s Day, so consider ordering a surf-and-turf box from Butcher Box with grass-fed New York strip and twin wild-caught lobster tails. By ordering the main part of the meal, you can focus on quality time together instead of fighting crowds and trying to talk over loud music.
Anything that helps you both unwind and focus on the time together will do double-duty to help you both enjoy the present moment, while also strengthening your relationship long-term. Check out the number-one factor psychologists say makes a relationship last in 18 Therapist-Approved Date Night Questions for a Stronger Relationship.
If your partner is naturally affectionate, it may be likely they want that touch from you. Give them a massage instead of paying a professional. To make the gift extra special, splurge on some decadent oils and lotions, such as Beia’s Body & Intimacy Serum, which can be used on the body for all-over hydration, as massage oil or during sex.
For physical-touch kind of people, another option is something cozy to wear that will feel great on their skin and remind them of your touch. The women in your life will love JJwinks loungewear—this women-owned company makes comfy, luxuriously-soft, stylish pieces that are designed for lounging but good enough to go out in because they come with a built-in bra.
For the man whose love language is physical touch, try Cozy Earth’s Ultra-Soft Bamboo Joggers. (Cozy Earth makes great PJs for women, too! They’re one of Oprah’s favorite brands!)
A common misconception about this love language is that these people are materialistic or want diamonds, cars, or other extravagant, costly gifts. That may be true for some—but for many people, gifts are a love language because the person likes having a physical reminder of their partner’s love.
A gift can be a souvenir from a vacation you took together, or a concert you both loved. A casual bracelet or necklace suitable for everyday wear will be a lovely daily reminder.
You could also splurge and get them that new exercise bike or golf club they’ve had their eye on. Nothing like telling them you want them to stay healthy for years to come, or want to spend more time outdoors or learning new activities together.
- Dr. Sean Davis, one of the nation's leading Marriage and Family Therapists and psychology professor at Alliant International University