Many, many moons ago, while sitting in on a pre-marital workshop that my cousin and his, then, fiancé attended, I was introduced to the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I didn't fully appreciate the impact of love languages until my first marriage was, regrettably, falling apart. Since that time, I have tried to understand and honor my love language, as well as that of my wife, son, family members, friends, and co-workers. It has been a gift having this tool to help gain insight into what makes me and others feel truly loved, valued, understood, and appreciated.
One of the most important things that I picked up from learning this system of love languages, is that we often project our love language onto others. For example, people who feel loved when receiving gifts, often are gift givers. Gift giving is not a problem, in itself. The issue, however, is — unless the recipient's love language is also a receiving gifts -- the other person may not feel loved by receipt of the gift. That person may be a words of affirmation person. In that case the best gift you could give would be an encouraging or affirming words or a hand-written note.
Oh...another important thing to remember is that you should make an effort to become bilingual. You should be able to speak your own language, and know it well. After knowing your own, it really helps to be tuned in to the language of others; especially those closest to you. Very often, the disconnect in language is small; but we all know that small things can add up to a big thing. A lot of us don't know how to articulate our language to others without seeming critical or unappreciative. That said, no one should have to accept another person's love language as your own. If you are in a relationship and feel like the two of you are just a little off when it comes to understanding what makes you feel safe and loved, I would suggest picking up two copies and reading this book together. As I mentioned above, understanding the five love languages can also help you better understand friends and co-workers. I firmly believe this understanding has helped me be a better manager.
Here is chart that gives you a quick overview of the love languages.
Do you know your love language? What about the language of your significant other?