Valentine's Day dinner ideas for five love languages
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If I told you that nearly everyone speaks at least one language, you’d look at me like, “Duh, dude. Duh.” If I told you that everyone also has a love language, you’d give me a different type of look. But we do. So, with that in mind, here’s how to plan a Valentine’s Day dinner for each of the five love languages.

Before I dive in, let me explain. Have you ever felt unappreciated by a loved one? Perhaps you got a gift that was bogus, or haven’t heard a compliment from them in ages. Well, according to Dr. Gary Chapman, and his book, “The 5 Love Languages,” it could be because you’re not speaking the same love language. Apparently, we all have preferences for how we receive and show love. These preferences are called…you guessed it, love languages. They’re the ways in which we communicate love. They’re how we let others know we love them, and they’re what trigger feelings of being loved by others.

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If you’ve ever felt unappreciated by a loved one, it could be because you were unappreciated. Or, it could be that you weren’t speaking the same language. This Valentine’s Day, plan a dinner that speaks the right one.

Words of Affirmation

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For someone particularly impacted by words of affirmation, a simple compliment goes a long way. But if you really want to go the extra mile, explaining the why behind the compliment makes them feel especially loved. So, for a person whose love language is words of affirmation, rather than focusing on a gift, or trying to book the fanciest table in town, work on verbalizing your feelings for your loved one. Describe how they are great, and what makes them so in your eyes. Then, tell them you love them.

If you’re planning a dinner for someone who speaks words of affirmation, buy enough stationary for each course of the meal, from drinks through dessert. For each piece of stationary, write out one reason your sweetie is great. Give your significant other one note before each course.

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Quality Time

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If your honey likes quality time, then the simple act of taking time out of your day to enjoy his or her company, with your undivided attention, is what they need to feel loved. So, turn off your phone, shut down the television, and rid yourself of distraction. The only thing they need is you. This means skipping the communal teppanyaki experience, the noisy gastropub, and the jam-packed restaurant of the moment.

If you go out, try springing for a private table. If you’re at home, make sure all attention is on the person you’re with. This even means minimizing the attention you give to the meal prep, and making sure the kids are…elsewhere. Want to send a spectacular message? Turn off your phone, hand it to them, and say, “Can you hold this? I don’t want to be distracted by anything tonight.” Don’t worry, if you have kids, the babysitter should still be able to get ahold of one of you. Just…not you! (Minimize kitchen time with the easiest Valentine’s Day dinners you’ll ever make, or just put together a Valentine’s wine and cheese plate.)

Receiving Gifts

Valentine's Day 2020 gift guide (best Valentine's Day gifts chocolate food)


This one is pretty obvious, right? If your love language is receiving gifts, you like…getting gifts. But not just any gift. You like a gift that shows the giver spent time, thought, and energy finding something just right. Something that says, “I know you. I value you. And I’m going to prove that I know and value you by getting you something that you’ll love.”

This person will appreciate something like a free meal at a favorite restaurant, or one that he or she has been wanting to try. This works great for a date. It also works great for a more platonic gesture. For example: If you happen to know where your son or daughter is going for Valentine’s Day, you could spring for the bill. If you’re having dinner with a spouse, though, a meal may or may not cut it. After all, you do share a bank account. While nothing will change that, it might mean you may have to spring for an extra little something. Feeling bold? Bring it to the restaurant, nicely wrapped, and have the server serve it with dessert! (Visit our Valentine’s Day Gift Guide headquarters for more great ideas.)

Related Reading: 7 Unusual Ways to Surprise Your Valentine

Acts of Service

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You might think you know where this is going. Maybe you and your lovebug can volunteer at a soup kitchen, serving others a meal. While a noble activity, for sure, it wouldn’t necessarily convey love to a person who speaks acts of service. That’s because acts of service refer to ways in which you serve them. Ways in which you help make their lives a bit easier, or more convenient.

Cupid-ApprovedValentine's Day Recipe All-StarsFor someone who speaks this language, he or she feels most loved when you do things to lift obligation or stress from his or her life. If this sounds like the person you’re having dinner with, you might consider a few things, depending on the situation. Does your loved one cook most of your meals, but hate to cook? Then cook for them. Do they cook most of your meals, love to cook, but hate grocery shopping? Go to the grocery store and prepare all the fixings. Take care of all the clean up too!

Rather go out? Make sure to do the driving to and from, arrange a babysitter and dinner for the kids (if needed), and tackle an item or two from the to-do list ahead of time. Want to go the extra mile? Make a few homemade coupons that can be redeemed for a hated chore and give them to your dearest while at dinner. (See how to make your S.O. think you’re a professional chef this Valentine’s Day.)

Physical Touch

Valentine's Day dinner ideas for five love languages

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Hold on, get your head out of the gutter! Yeah, it’s Valentine’s Day, a day that celebrates romantic love, but intimate touch isn’t the only way a person who speaks the language of physical touch knows you love them. Something simple like holding hands, or a hug can also be big for a person who speaks physical touch. I’d recommend a couple things. First, you could go to a cooking class together. Take the opportunity to mix ingredients, or apply seasonings together. When your hands meet in that mixing bowl, that physical touch says, “I love you.” Not your scene? Then go out to dinner, request a booth, and pull a bold move. Sit on the same side of the table. Get nice and cozy. Looking for something more traditional? How about just making a concerted effort to reach over to the other side of the table (‘cause that’s how two people should sit at a table—across from each other!) and hold hands?

Finally, if that won’t cut it, arrange for dinner at an establishment where dancing also occurs. (If you’re staying home, check out these complex cocktails to make together as a couple, or see how to pull together a hands-on Valentine’s Day finger food menu.)

Now that you know what type of meal to plan, you might be thinking, “Okay, but what language is my honey speaking?” Well, if you’re not sure, maybe you both should take the quiz. While we all have a mix, a couple languages should be be more dominant than the others. Apparently, my strongest preference is for words of affirmation. Not surprised (though, if you were planning on sending me a gift, you may proceed!). This Valentine’s Day, make sure your love isn’t lost in translation, and give your sweetie pie a special meal that lets them know how much they’re loved.

Visit our Valentine’s Day headquarters for more tips, tricks, ideas, and recipes, and see our Valentine’s Day 2020 Gift Guide for even more great ideas.

Related Video: Pucker Up for This Valentine’s Day Cocktail with Kombucha

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Greg is a Chicago guy who likes to cook, dine, and help others navigate their food choices. Why? Because food is an integral part of our lives, and he's the best version of himself when he's well fed. When he's not writing for Chowhound, he's writing about handling the domestic responsibilities of a husband and stay-at-home parent for his new online community. Visit
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