It doesn't matter how intimately you know your partner: Buying presents for them can be hard. That said, identifying how they prefer to give and receive love — aka their love language — will help you find a gift they're almost guaranteed to appreciate, with or without a wishlist to inspire you.
Before you start your shopping, though, ensure that you first identify what their love language actually is — and make sure not to confuse it with yours. "First, and most importantly, it is important that you are thinking of gifts compatible with your partner’s love language, not your own," says relationship coach, psychology professor, and relationship scientist Marisa T. Cohen, Ph.D., CPLC. "While it is definitely helpful to know your own language, responding in ways compatible with the love language(s) of your partner is what can lead to a stronger relationship."
Once you know whether their love language is acts of service, giving and receiving gifts, quality time, physical touch, or words of affirmation (or, a mix of a few), keep scrolling — a few ideas (along with some helpful pointers) to guide you in the right direction are ahead.
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Love Language Gift Idea: Acts Of Service
According to Cohen, acts of service for your partner can include things like helping with or completing a task. "This can range from assisting in daily activities, chores, errands, etc. and include offering to clean the house, preparing dinner, or walking the dog," she tells The Zoe Report in an email. "Think about the tasks or responsibilities that your partner typically has and you can either work on them on your own or assist your partner with them."
Love Language Gift Idea: Giving & Receiving Gifts
"While people tend to think tangible items like gifts are easy to pick out, many get stressed when it comes to selecting a gift that is truly meaningful for our partners," says Cohen. So, she recommends something that also combines the love language quality time by giving an experience-based gift, which is impactful and something you can both do together.
"Since COVID is likely to impact many of the events we had planned or would like to do, you can consider buying a ticket to something remote (or socially distanced when the weather is nice). Consider a virtual cooking class, online course, or even a subscription box filled with items that your partner would enjoy."
Love Language Gift Idea: Quality Time
If your partner's love language is quality time, don't stress about not being able to take them on an elaborate vacation — in fact, Cohen explains, you don't need to go anywhere at all. "You may want to watch a movie together, read together, or sit down and have a deep and meaningful conversation. Being present with one another is of utmost importance," she says.
If 2020's been a stressful one for you and your partner, invest in making your quality time together more peaceful and intentional with a subscription to YogaToday. The platform provides on-demand yoga, Pilates, and meditation classes, filmed from national parks and other beautiful places, so you can flow and find some zen together (and pretend you're on a romantic retreat while you're at it).
You may not be able to go anywhere, but you can still set aside time to learn something new together. Airbnb has an entire library of online experiences that you can purchase, so gift your partner a class on chocolate making or exploring a city virtually to make it feel like you're discovering something new with each other.
Love Language Gift Idea: Physical Touch
As Cohen says, for a gift for this love language, it's best to involve both partners to create a truly intimate experience. Though, if your partner craves touch, "you can even give the gift of massage (due to COVID it’s important to take safety precautions)."
That said, a gift that encourages any time spent touching satisfies this love language. "Spending time cuddling, hugging, or being physically intimate with one another would provide that touch experience."
Love Language Gift Idea: Words Of Affirmation
If loving words are what makes your partner happy, Cohen says a wonderful gift to give is a "warm and heartfelt card" that points out something specific about your partner. "For example, 'I love what a good role model you are for our kids' or 'I truly admire how devoted you are to your family.' Taking time to acknowledge your partner is extremely meaningful."