5 Secret Tests That Can Immediately Determine Someone's Love Language

Once you know what makes them feel loved, you can communicate in the ways that mean the most.

Couple kissing John Schnobrich | Unsplash 

Do you know your love language? How about your partner's?

Gary Chapman, the author of the bestseller The 5 Love Languages, identified five love language options that help people connect deeply with one another.

Often, if we ask someone their love language, they won't know. So, if you are going to guess, you'll need to watch their behavior closely — you may even want to run a few tests! While I don't normally advocate being sneaky, showing love and appreciation with the intention of being a better partner is the sort of sneaky behavior that just might be OK! 


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Here are five sweet tests you can try on your partner to determine their primary love language 

1. Words of affirmation

Many people feel loved when their partner offers verbal compliments. Those who speak this language feel embraced when they hear, “You look lovely in that new dress!” And “Thanks for making my favorite dish for dinner tonight.”

How to know: Your partner will light up when you communicate clearly and show affection through your words. Commit to paying attention to their behavior over a day or weekend together, and note what they do that may often go unnoticed. Then say, clearly and affectionately, "I love how you do [that special thing], and I appreciate it so much." Add a compliment and see how they respond!


couple hugging

Photo: G-Stock Studio via Shutterstock

2. Quality time

For some, spending time together speaks the loudest. Shared experiences enhance their feelings of connection.

How to know: Ask your partner if there's something special they'd like to do together over the weekend or the next time you have some free time together. If their love language is quality time, they'll likely light up when you suggest it. But the real proof is in how your partner feels at the end of your quality time. Are they affectionate, connected, and happy? They probably have a quality time love language — at least in part.


3. Receiving gifts

Many feel a deep sense of happiness as they unwrap a carefully chosen item that was purchased especially for them. For many, receiving a gift is a symbol that their partner was thinking of them and the gift itself is mostly irrelevant. For others, a gift feels like an act of love when it is specific to what they like and well thought-out.

How to know: Buy your partner a gift! It doesn't have to be big, their favorite snack food from the bodega or a keychain of their favorite action hero from childhood will suffice. Then give it to them face-to-face, saying something like, "Look what I got you!" so they know you do mean it as a gift — not just an accident of buying something they happen to like. 

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4. Acts of service

Does your heart race when you discover that your loved one put away the laundry so you wouldn't have to? That and other “acts of service” speak loud and clear to those who identify with this love language.


How to know if this is your partner's love language: Think back to a time when your partner mentioned something they needed done around the house or a chore they hate to do, and then do that. Don't make a big deal about it, just do it! If they don't notice you doing it, mention it casually and see how they respond!

5. Physical touch

For those with this love language, everything else pales when compared to hugging, holding hands, kissing, and tender, loving touches.

According to Chapman, when you reach out to a partner via their specific love language, you help keep their “emotional love tanks full” and maintain a meaningful connection. This is important because you're purposefully reaching out to your partner in a way that will make them feel loved and cherished. When your partner feels loved and appreciated, there will be less strife between you in your relationship.

How to know: Test this by reaching out in a casual moment and touching their arm, rubbing their shoulder sweetly, or kissing them at a time they may not expect it (i.e. not just when they're walking out the door, if that's your typical pattern.) If they respond warmly, they probably enjoy physical touch as one of their main love languages. 


Speaking of each other's love language is a vital part of connecting to strengthen your relationship. You must take the time to show your partner how you feel about them and how much you need and want them in your life.

When there is more love and less stress, other parts of your relationship will become easier. Learning to communicate and grow together is the best way of finding out how to express your feelings.

Some of us must dig deeper to identify the actions that truly touch our loved ones.

RELATED: The 5 Love Languages (And The Pros And Cons Of Each)

I suppose we can call it their love language "dialect."


For example, my husband connects strongly to the "receiving gifts" language, but only in a unique way. He feels extremely loved whenever I purchase a particular jar of pickles for him. His "pickle" dialect makes sense. At our store, the pickles are on an aisle with nothing I would usually purchase. That alone means I must make an effort to go there.

Also, the jars are on a shelf beyond my reach, so I have to find a clerk to help me. Finally, he prefers a specific brand that is made fresh and comes in a plastic container. No commercial pickle for him. So, I can’t just grab any pickle. I must think of him as I shop.

When hubby pulls his jar of pickles from my recyclable shopping bag or spots them in the fridge, he always exclaims, “YOU LOVE ME!”


It took years for me to identify his love language dialect, but when I hit upon it, I knew I struck gold. We’ve been married for thirty-six years. Over the decades, I’ve tried all five Chapman languages. But none sparks as much joy as pickles do.

So, try the love languages above and see what works for you and your loved one. If none trigger much excitement, keep digging. And if pickles hit the mark, leave at least one jar on the shelf for me.

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Janis Roszler is a licensed marriage and family therapist, board-certified therapist, author, and award-winning medical media producer. She travels internationally as a speaker on relationships and health-related topics.