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How To Say ‘I Love You’ Without Giving A Gift

The key to a great Valentine’s Day isn’t what you buy. It’s how you feel about the person you’re with. Of course, that can easily get lost in the rush to find the perfect gift and all the pressure to get the holiday “right.” But all that really matters is that you make your partner feel loved in a way that will resonate with them.

A really effective way to do this is to find out your partner’s love language — and, even more importantly, your own. The idea, which comes from a 1992 book by Gary Chapman, is that there are five distinct ways people show and receive love, and we all have them in differing orders and amounts: words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, physical touch or receiving gifts. You can take the online quiz to figure out what yours is, and what your partner’s might be.

Once you’re armed with that knowledge, you’re well equipped to figure out how best to show someone you love them. Here are some ideas based on your beloved’s love language.

Words of affirmation

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If your partner is someone who loves hearing how you feel, they’re in the majority: words of affirmation is the most common love language. That means they feel most loved when they’re told that they’re appreciated and when you explain in detail what they mean to you.

That doesn’t mean lobbing insincere compliments at them all the time, Gary Chapman, the creator of the love language, previously told HuffPost. It means that when you think about how happy you are, you say it out loud.

Telling someone you love how you feel about them can make them feel really valued, if their love language is words of affirmation.

“The important thing is that the words are spoken sincerely as an expression of your love for them ― not an effort to manipulate them to do something for you.”

Little things to do every day: Compliment them on something they do well, tell them what you appreciate about being in a relationship with them, and if you really mean it, then say “I love you” often.

What to do on Valentine’s Day: A love letter might seem weird at first, but it could mean a lot to them. If that’s not your speed, just tell them how you feel. Be detailed, thorough and honest — it will help to write out your thoughts beforehand.

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