We all express love in different ways, which is part of what makes relationships so complicated. If you’re into receiving acts of service but your partner prefers to show their feelings through giving gifts, things may get a little messy. There’s no one love language that’s better than another, but there is one that the happiest couples apparently have in common.
What makes a happy relationship? That’s the question a new study of 2,000 people by dating site eHarmony aimed to find out the answer to. While the answers obviously vary depending on the person, there were certain traits the happiest couples had in common, especially when it came to love languages.
It’s all about speaking up. The study participants were all married, living together, and/or in a committed long-term relationship with a healthy sex life. Using those criteria as a baseline, it was discovered that those who reported the highest level of satisfaction in their relationship were those who utilized words of affirmation and/or appreciation with their partner and received them in return.
A little compliment can go a long way. Words of affirmation—basically giving compliments or positive reinforcement to your partner without prompting and just because you want to—came out as the top love language, which isn’t all that surprising if you think about it. Compared to the other love languages—acts of service, gift giving, physical touch, and quality time—this one relies on actually speaking those feelings we often put into actions aloud in words. It’s nice to feel loved but hearing it is pretty great too.
The other love languages are still important. While words of affirmation came out on top, physical touch and quality time were in close second place and roughly equally important at 36% and 35% (compared to words of affirmations at 40%). That means if words aren’t necessarily your strong point, you can make up for it by showing how much you care too.
Money can’t buy you love. The least important love language according to study participants was gift giving, with only 16% saying they value that in a relationship. Sure, it’s nice to receive a thoughtful token of someone’s affection, but it just goes to show that actually showing and expressing your feelings verbally means way more to your partner.
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