Dr. Gary Chapman's book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret To Love That Lasts has changed the way people think about how we express affection. It's so popular, that it's been on the New York Times bestseller list for the last 20 years, with each new edition replacing the original.
Chapman's theory is simple: Each of us communicates in very specific "love languages," ways that we show and respond to affection. The five love languages are:
1. Quality Time
2. Physical Touch
3. Receiving Gifts
4. Words of Affirmation
5. Acts of Service
No one communicates in just one of these, but people do react with varying degrees of responsiveness. When Redditor CindyCharming asked the Internet, "What small gesture makes you feel enormously loved?" she uncovered some of the ways these languages are spoken. Rather than take you through the definition of the love languages, we'll let these gestures serve as examples as how each of us express and respond to love differently.
We hope they'll help you consider what love language you communicate in.
1. He's a keeper.
"When I have a bad day, my fiancé will often leave work early to clean up the apartment for me, light candles, order takeout, etc., so that I can can come home to as stress-free an environment as possible.
When he does that, I always have to take a minute and bask in how it feels to be so completely cared for, that he would put his work life on hold to rush home and prepare a sanctuary for me, on a day that I probably snapped at him because I was in a bad mood. Utterly amazing."
2. Everyone should do this.
"Not necessarily romantic, but the " Did you get home OK?" texts. I used to think these were standard, as I always did it for everyone, but i soon realized not everyone freaks out about whether their friends get home OK like I do."
3. Family acceptance is so important.
"The day my stepdad introduced me as 'my son' for the first time.
I don't think he even realized he did it. But every other time he introduced me to anyone he would say 'my wife's son.'
I was like 13, and I won't ever forget that moment."
4. It's a feeling of perfect comfort.
"When me and my wife lay in bed at night before we go to sleep, watching TV. Just her being there with me. We don't have to snuggle or look at each other or talk or anything. Just her lying next to me is the most comforting thing I can think of. Makes me feel extremely loved."
5. This is how you know they approve.
"After supper when I leave from my girlfriend's parents house every Sunday and they say "I love you" to both of us."
6. Didn't expect this.
"When my girlfriend gives me pocket lint. She knows I play with it when I'm anxious or nervous."
7. Tokens of affection.
"Handwritten love note(s). I have one from 20+ years ago that an ex wrote to me that still hits home after all of these years.
I don't keep anything from past relationships, but I've kept that letter."
8. The subtlest thing can mean so much.
"Placing his hand on the small of my back when we're out. Don't know why it makes me feel loved.
Or when he just kisses the top of my head out of the blue."
Works for guys, too.
"While I'm working, reading, or just otherwise occupied, when she wraps her arms around me from behind, kisses the back of my neck, but otherwise just let's me keep rolling along while I'm in the zone.
May not sound like much, but damn. It just makes my day."
9. This is small, but really touching.
"I went to my dad's house and his wife's car had the stick figure family on the back window. I was on it with her real kids."
10. Three powerful words you always hear when you go home.
"Have you eaten?"
11. We hope that spark never disappears.
"I like the first spark of feeling when my boyfriend grabs my hand. I know it won't always feel fresh and new and exciting (we've been together for a year and a half) but, at least for now, it still feels electric.
That, and head scratches. Like, scalp massages. Pets. That sort of thing. When other people do it, it feels nice, but when he does it, it feels so intimate and lovely."
So, what kind of gestures make you feel most loved?
If you're interested in learning what "Love Language" you or your partner speak, you can take a test to find out more.
Here's one of our editor's results. What's your 'language?'
Screengrab via http://www.5lovelanguages.com/
We'd love to know what your language is. Let us know in the comments below.