Center for Shared Insight, PC

Loving Better this Valentine's Day with Love Languages

February 6, 2016
Posted By: Kristen Hick, Psy.D.
Couple in love

Valentine’s Day. Two words that can conjure up a whole host of feelings that run the spectrum from joy to dread. What’s certain is that Valentine’s Day will most definitely make  you think of one 4-letter word: LOVE.

As a Denver relationship therapist, I witness stories daily that remind me how love is the most elusive, confusing, and sought-after feeling on the planet. We have a lifelong obsession with looking for and understanding this complex experience. What could be better than uncovering how love shows up in our lives and in the lives of those closest to us by understanding unique love languages?


The Five Love Languages


In 1995, Gary Chapman, renowned relationship therapist and modern-day philosopher, first introduced what’s known today as “The Five Love Languages” or a theory that we all, as individuals, express love in different ways, and feel loved in different ways. These five types of expression and perception are the five “love languages.”

In case this approach is new to you, here’s a review of the Five Love Languages


  • Gifts or receiving meaningful presents

  • Quality time or sharing activities and receiving undivided attention

  • Words of affirmation or verbal reassurance and praise

  • Acts of service or devotional gestures and help

  • Physical touch or physical intimacy

Applying the Love Languages

This Valentine’s Day, why not examine the 5 closest relationships in your life and ask these beloved friends, children, and lovers to take this short quiz to understand how they feel most seen, appreciated, recognized, and heard. It’s by understanding the type of love they truly need to feel loved that we know how to interact in the most loving and emotionally generous ways.

Perhaps through this quiz you’ll understand that your loved ones expresses love as “acts of service,” while you need “words of affirmation” to feel loved. Without knowing, you can imagine the ongoing frustration this discrepancy could cause. Or if a family member expresses love with “gifts” to a partner who feels loved through “quality time” that expression of love won’t be understood, felt, or appreciated. So often we feel we are acting loving according to our own standards, but it’s not what a partner needs. It might take some retraining to make your message of love heard, felt, and understood.

Here’s some examples of ways you might speak your loved ones’ language this Valentine’s Day, depending on their unique needs and expression:

Words of Affirmation - Use praise and encouragement any chance you get. Write a poem, letter, or card that outlines your feelings and how much this person means to you. Leave a sticky note with kind words in their lunchbox or briefcase. Send your friends old-fashioned Valentines with a message of gratitude. Compliment your partner, child, or family members daily.


Gifts - Meaningful presents don’t have to cost lots of money. Make a handmade card, artfully re-purpose something, or beautifully wrap your best friend’s favorite kind of chocolate.

Quality Time - Spend time doing what your loved one loves best --  shopping, skiing, drinking tea, watching movies, walking, reading, or simply relaxing together. Set aside time for your child, partner, friend, or anyone meaningful in your life to be alone without distraction.

Acts of Service - Lighten your loved one’s load by cleaning, cooking, picking up the children, paying bills, getting the groceries, or whatever odds and ends might relieve them. Help your children by cleaning out their backpack, setting out their school clothes, packing their lunch, or occasionally picking up their room. Pick weeds in your best friend’s yard, or bring her dinner and give her a break from the nightly dishes. Doing these things without being told and without the need for recognition makes them all the sweeter.

Physical Touch - Overdo the hugs, back-rubs, hand-holding, hair-brushing, tickling, back-scratching, and holding.


Take the quiz for yourself and fearlessly express to the people closest to you what you most need to feel loved this Valentine’s Day. If you are curious about your own relationship dynamics, challenges, and triggers, contact Dr. Kristen Hick for a free consultation and assessment of how therapy can best support the most important relationships in you world (including the one with yourself). In the meantime, subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest relationship insight delivered right to your inbox.

Get our monthly newsletter


Related Blog Posts
July 8, 2022
Evaluating the Emotional Health of a Relationship

Before you take the next step in your relationship, consider checking in about the emotional health of the partnership. Similar to the practice of discussing each other’s sexual health before having sex, discussing emotional health before you move forward with a significant relationship milestone, like being exclusive, is critical. If you don’t evaluate the emotional health of a relationship, you may rush into intimacy and commitment without fully understanding your compatibility. This can contribute to frustration, disappointment, and relationships being built on an unstable foundation.  

In this post, ...

June 11, 2022
Two Key Ways Therapy Can Help You Find a Partner

At Center for Shared Insight in Denver, Colorado, we see clients who are experiencing the full spectrum of relationship challenges. Some clients are working to stay engaged in a long-term marriage, while others are struggling with online dating—and everything in between. A handful of clients we see have been struggling for a long time with finding the right partner, or committing to a satisfying relationship. 

Individual therapy can help anyone improve the quality of their relationships. If you have been trying to find a partner for some time, ...

If you have difficulty using our website, please email us or call us at (720) 644-6698
View the ADA Accessibility Statement
This website is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal psychological or mental health advice or treatment nor the formation of a therapist-client relationship.
CSIP UPDATE - Offering Online Therapy sessions (to COLORADO residents) during Covid-19.
Our therapists are here to help you during this uncertain time. We know you and others are trying to do your part to social distance due to Covid-19, which is why we are happy to provide online therapy sessions through our secure video platform. We are here to talk with you about how we can meet your therapy needs. 
Contact us today to learn more!