How to Say ‘I Love You’ in All the Love Languages

Heather Brower • 5 minutes

Our big fat mouths can get us into trouble. You know the principle: It takes two million encouraging words to make up for every insulting word. Okay, the ratio might be a bit lower, but you get the point. We need to make sure our big fat mouths are doing more good than harm! What phrase does the most good? “I love you.” Love is the most powerful force in the universe, so let’s learn how to show it not only with what we do, but with what we say. Let’s learn how to say “I love you” in all the love languages.

Carefully chosen words make people feel loved and supported, no matter what their love language is.

What are the love languages, you ask? They’re how author Gary Chapman explains the ways different people express and receive love. If you don’t know your love language, take the quiz and find out. They are: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. As you can see, these “languages” don’t all involve words. But words are immensely powerful. Carefully chosen words make people feel loved and supported, no matter what their love languages are. So, let’s get to it.

Check out five suggestions for how to say “I love you” in all the love languages. And even a bonus of what not to say in every love language!

Words of Affirmation

This one’s easy. People whose love language is based in words literally need to hear, “I love you” a lot. They gain a feeling of love and security based on anything positive you say about them. But, if you can be specific, you’re on the path straight to strengthening their spirit!

  1. You’re doing a great job at …
  2. I was proud of you when you …
  3. I ran into your boss today. I told them what a great job I think you’re doing!
  4. Your teacher said she loves having you in her class.
  5. I wrote you this card to thank you for what you’ve done for me lately.

Big mistake: Why can’t you do anything right?  

Acts of Service

This one’s a little trickier. How do you say an action? Sometimes, it’s important to point out what you do for someone who feels loved by an act of service—that way they won’t miss it. Also, there are some good questions you can ask to show you’re willing to do some work as a labor of love!

  1. I see you’ve been busy lately. What can I take off your plate for you?
  2. No arguing—I’ve got dinner tonight. When can I bring it to you?
  3. Just wanted you to know I made your bed for you—have a great day!
  4. I researched and found the best app to help you with …
  5. I’d be glad to pick you up if you need a ride.

Big mistake: Can’t you just see if somebody else can do it?

Receiving Gifts

Oh, you’d better believe you can use your words to improve your gift-giving skills. You can even extend the power of the gift itself if the person knows it’s coming.

  1. I heard you say you liked these last week, so I got you some!
  2. I found this hilarious meme, so I knew I had to text it to you.
  3. When I was out today, I picked up something I thought you’d like.
  4. I know your birthday’s coming up, so I’ve been working on a surprise for you.
  5. I got you this to bring with you so you’ll remember me while you’re gone.

Big mistake: Why don’t you just pick something out for yourself this Christmas?

Quality Time

Okay, this also has nothing to do with words—or does it? It’s not just about counting the hours you spend together. It’s quality time. There are ways to use your words to show you enjoy time with someone.

  1. I cleared my schedule all afternoon. I can’t wait for our special day together!
  2. I never feel bored when I’m around you.
  3. Let’s grab coffee—I would love to catch up with you.
  4. I wouldn’t miss your party for anything.
  5. I put my phone away because I don’t want to be distracted from you.

Big mistake: Oops, I was texting. What did you just say?

Physical Touch

This is definitely the most difficult love language to talk about, and the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t made the conversation any easier. But guess what? There are ways to use your words to help someone tangibly feel loved. People who feel loved through physical touch enjoy sharing proximity with others, even at a distance of six feet. Let them know you enjoy being near them.

  1. Get over here and give me the biggest air five you’ve got!
  2. When’s the next time we can get together? I hate being so far away from you.
  3. Let’s create our own secret handshake we can use after the pandemic is over.
  4. Come sit near us!
  5. Even though I can’t be with you, I’m praying you’ll feel God’s presence all around you right now.

Big mistake: Go away—you’re hogging the couch.

Now that you’ve got plenty of good ideas for how to say “I love you” in any love language, it’s time to tell our big fat mouths to stay shut if they’re not building people up. No more big fat mistakes. Now get out there and say something great!