couples

Madison Missina shares the trick to making Valentine's Day plans your partner will love.

Valentine’s Day is upon us again; the day that is dedicated to romance and love.

For some, it’s a day that’s thoroughly planned out, resulting in restaurant bookings and through-the-roof sales of red roses, chocolates and lingerie. For others, it’s a day to forgo the elaborate and expensive celebrations and delare that we don’t need a commercialised holiday to express our love and devotion to our partners.

Each year I watch as some couples are swept off their feet, some are united in their disdain, and others are disappointed or confused by their partner’s participation (or lack thereof) in this day of love.

From where I sit, whether red roses are your thing or not, Valentine’s Day is a day where romance takes the forefront of pretty much all of our minds.

As a sexologist, the main reason couples seek me out is because their relationship, their sex life has just lost its spark. “It was there in the beginning, but somehow life got in the way, I thought we were very compatible but it seems that we are just two different people.” 

partner's love language
Madison Missina knows a thing or two about sex and relationships.

To that I say: you’re right. All couples are just two different people and life always gets in the way. That’s the point and the beauty of long-term relationships. But regardless of how different we are as individuals, we all crave an experience of feeling loved.

Relationship counsellor Dr Gary Chapman noticed this dynamic in his sessions and wrote one of the most relevant and simple relationship books of our time, The Five Love Languages.

ADVERTISEMENT

We all desire to feel loved, but we all experience and express love in different ways, and Valentine's Day is the perfect day to learn how this plays out in our relationships.

Let's start by exploring the five love languages. While all five work on all people, you will find there will be one that you absolutely can’t live without, and probably a close second.

Listen: Meet the sex toys you didn't know you had lying around the house. (Post continues after audio.)

Quality Time

If Quality Time is your thing, you value your partner's presence and attention. You love the part of your day when they stop their world just for you; those 20 minutes of their day where the only thing they want to know about is how your day is or what is on your mind. You are probably activities-focused, always looking for that next adventure to go on.

Words of Affirmation

These are the people who want to hear they are loved. If this is you, being told you look great, that you were missed during the day, or that your partner loves you are all things that make the impact to you.

Acts of Service

These are the doers, the more practical types. If Acts of Service is your thing, you enjoy making the school lunches, ensuring the household is taken care of and the lawns are done. Love to you is very much a verb; it’s about putting it into action, and you probably smile when your partner does something as simple as unload the dishwasher for you.

love languages valentine's day
"Love to you is very much a verb, it’s about putting it into action." (Image via iStock)
ADVERTISEMENT

Gifts

Experiencing love through the act of giving isn’t always about materialism. If this is your type, having that special person present you with an item they just saw and thought of you will sweep you off your feet — no matter how much it cost. These types tend to be sentimental in their belongings, with each item coming alive with its own story. 'These were the heels I wore when we met'; 'These earrings are the ones I had on when we first kissed.'

Physical Touch

Physical touch does not mean excessive PDAs, nor does it mean just sexual touch. These types love to cuddle on the couch at the end of the day, and won't leave the house without a goodbye kiss no matter how late they are getting out the door in the morning. They thrive on the physical closeness of their partner.

So now you’ve probably worked out what your love language is — but relationships comprise of two people. So how do we work out our partner’s language?

It's easy. We tend to express love in the way that we experience it the greatest, so think about what your partner always seems to be doing.

online dating
"You love that part in your day when they stop their world just for you." (Image via iStock)

Are they the type of person that comes home and wants to hear about your day? Or is always coming up with activities for you two to do together? They're a Quality Timer. Are they always making a point of telling you how good you look, or that they were thinking of you that day? Words of Affirmation. Do they like to get home and start dinner, or are they forever making sure your car is well serviced? Acts of Service. Do they make a point of bringing home chocolate at that time of the month, or finding some little trinket they thought you just needed to have? The Gifting type. Or are they the touchy type, always reaching for your hand?

ADVERTISEMENT

The key is to work out what your partner is doing consistently — and if you want to blow their mind, give that right back to them.

One of the reasons the early stages of romantic relationships seem so easy is that with full love tanks in both partners, we tend to do all five expressions of love. This means both partners are getting what they need, regardless of how different they really are. When life gets in the way, that’s when we all adjust back to our usual styles, and it seems no matter what we do our partner just doesn’t 'get it'. So taking the time to work out how both partners express and experience love can really make a difference. (Post continues after gallery.)

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

The other great thing about discovering our partner's love language is that you will probably find that your partner has been romantic all along.

In my relationship, my partner is the Acts of Service type. As soon as she finishes her work day, she is straight into making sure the laundry is done and the house is clean. Her secondary language is words; she’s always finding little love memes on the net for me. Whereas I’m a physical touch and also a words person — I like it when she just sits next to me while I write. If I wasn't aware that these were all forms of love, I might fall into the trap of thinking my partner just wants to do anything but be close to me (seriously, hanging washing on the line is one of my most hated household chores). But I know when my partner cleans, that’s her showing me she loves me.

So on Valentine's Day this year, to romance my partner, I will express my love in her language. I will do the chores before she even gets the chance, and I will tell her how lucky I am that I almost never have to do laundry and that she makes my world work. Although there will be no roses in our house, there will be a lot of romance in our special way, and that’s the only way that matters.

The first episode of Mamamia's new love advice podcast Love Life dropped today. Listen here:

Tags: