I’ve had many relationships over the years—some great, some not-so-great. I can honestly say I’ve learned from all of them and grown as a person. And the more relationships I’m in, the more I learn how important it is to communicate with another person in a way that makes sense to them.

I’m not talking about text vs. phone call or leaving sticky notes on the fridge. I’m talking about understanding the five love languages and how different people respond to them. In particular, I’ve tried to be really diligent about learning my daughter’s love language. It’s the most important relationship I’ll ever have in my life, and I want to make sure it’s the one with the most meaningful communication.

The love languages

The concept of love languages is simple. It’s how people best communicate their love and respond to the love of others. You might get the overwhelming urge to hug someone when you want to express love to them, while someone else shows their affection by buying you a present. Neither person is wrong—they just have different ways of expressing their affections.

Here’s a look at the five love languages and how they correlate to people in different ways:

  • Words of affirmation. People like to give and receive positive sentiments verbally. “I love you” and “you mean so much to me” are examples of this love language.
  • Quality time. People who value this love language simply like being around those they care for, and like to have them nearby. Even sitting in silence together is comforting.
  • Giving/receiving gifts. Some people show their affections in more material ways, and prefer to give and receive gifts. Flowers, candy and little trinkets are all great examples.
  • Physical touch. Tactile gestures like hugs and holding hands are important to someone whose love language involves physical contact.
  • Acts of service. I love you, so I will do whatever I can to help you. Acts of service involve showing your love by working to make life better for someone you care about.

Not everyone fits just one love language and there’s a lot of overlap. Nevertheless, it’s important to know what types of gestures people respond to most—especially your kids.

Dads need to learn the love languages

My daughter definitely enjoys quality time, giving/receiving gifts and physical touch. Acts of service? Not so much. Words of affirmation? She could take it or leave it. Thankfully, my love languages align with hers, so we can communicate really well.

Love languages go far beyond just showing affection. They’re part of everyday life, which makes it important for dads to learn their daughters’. For example, I know my daughter appreciates quality time, so if I need to talk to her about something or teach her something important, the best way to get my message across is by spending quality time with her. It’s different for every dad, but nonetheless important to learn.