As Valentine’s Day nears, it’s time to talk about one thing: money.
Just kidding. We’ll get to that part in a bit. What we actually want to talk about is love. More specifically, what your “love language” is, how your behavior in a relationship ties into money values, and why communication is so important in a loving, healthy relationship.
WHAT’S YOUR LOVE LANGUAGE?
The five love languages were created by author and marriage counselor, Dr. Gary Chapman. Originally intended for couples to better understand their needs and their partner’s, the concept of five love languages has evolved into something closer to a personality test today. If you don’t know what the actual love languages are, maybe you’ve seen jokes on Twitter or Instagram: “Chocolate on 75% clearance the day after Valentine’s Day is my love language.”
Here Are the Actual Five Love Languages:
- Words of Affirmation: using verbal expressions to show people you love them. “Thanks for doing the dishes” or “That outfit you chose looks great” are examples of words of affirmation. On the flip side, insults can be incredibly hurtful for people who prefer this love language.
- Gifts: tokens of appreciation. This might include flowers, a new book you know your partner wants, dinner at their favorite restaurant, and so on. They don’t have to be physical objects, either. Experiences like wine tastings or taking a cooking class together count as gifts. Missing an occasion that calls for gifts can be damaging.
- Acts of Service: doing something helpful for your partner to show support. For example, allowing your partner to sleep in while you care for the baby or getting the oil in their car changed show thoughtfulness and love. For someone who favors acts of service as their love language, inattention or carelessness can be hurtful.
- Quality Time: doing an activity together. It can be anything from hiking to watching Netflix to going to a football game. If someone prefers quality time as their love language, having a partner distracted by other things during that time (e.g., their phone) can cause hurt feelings.
- Physical Touch: platonic and more romantic expressions of love. Think hugs, kisses, holding hands, cuddling, and… “more.” The absence of these physical expressions can make a partner feel unwanted or lonely in a relationship.
You may have a primary love language, or your needs may fluctuate depending on the situation. Whichever the case may be, it’s important to understand your and your partner’s love languages.
Not only will it help you in life, but it’ll also help you figure out what gift they’d love to receive on Valentine’s Day and any other major holiday or anniversary. How? Well, someone who values acts of service will probably appreciate you tackling items on their to-do list over a bouquet of flowers and chocolates.
But more important than knowing what to gift them, understanding your partner’s love language can clue you into their money values.
LOVE LANGUAGES AND MONEY VALUES
Discovering your partner’s primary love language can tell you how to be attentive to your significant other, but it can also reveal something about their values. Specifically, their money values: what’s important to them and how that affects their relationship with money.
How might your partner’s love language and overall values influence their behavior with money? Let’s say your partner’s primary love language is quality time, and they highly value health and family. You should take that into account when you make financial decisions, as well as when you consider gifts and activities as a couple. In this example, taking a weekend trip away together can be mentally and physically refreshing, and it satisfies their need for quality time spent with you.
On the other hand, maybe your partner’s primary love language is acts of service, and they prioritize financial security and independence. To respect these values, you can take the lead on scheduling regular money talks where you can plan budgets and check in with each other.
This also advises how you talk to each other: If you’re on a tight budget, you might tell your partner, “We have $250 to spend this month on [x]” rather than “We really can’t spend more than $250 this month.” The first phrase is less restrictive and respects your partner’s need for independence and financial security. Plus, planning these meetings shows that you’re paying attention and that you care.
There are many ways this can manifest in your own relationship and in your money discussions. So we highly recommend that you take some time to figure out each other’s love languages, as well as outline your money values. This will make holidays, events, and just day-to-day life so much more meaningful for you both!
COMMUNICATION IS KEY
Above all, communication is key. If you’re not on the same page with your partner about their needs, values, and habits, that incompatibility can come out at the worst time (say, on Valentine’s Day). Frequent communication with your partner will also make you both happier and connected.
If you don’t understand what you hold most important in life, you won’t be able to communicate your needs properly — and this comes out the most during money conversations. Once you understand your values and how those intersect personally and financially, you make decisions knowing that the outcomes will make you feel closer to your partner or spouse and that you’ll both be on the same page.
Talk about romantic!
If you’re ready to figure out your love language, the 5 Love Languages site has created a quiz to help. You’ll also want to back this up with a clear understanding of your values, which you can find by using our Values Worksheet! Just download it, take the love languages test, and then start brainstorming more ways you and your partner can say “I love you.”