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We all have different primary love languages, and, contrary to popular belief, not all men feel most loved via physical touch. As Dr. Gary Chapman explains in his book, The 5 Love Languages, primary love languages don’t always follow along traditional gender stereotypes.

Whether your guy’s primary love language is words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, gift giving, or quality time—there are some words of affirmation that would fill any guy’s love bucket.

In fact, I asked a group of ten men—regardless of their primary love language—what words of affirmation made them feel the best, and this is what they said.

01. When She Tells Me She Loves Spending Time with Me

Long-time bachelor Raphael recently got engaged, and he will happily tell anyone who wants to know why his fiancée is unlike any other woman he has ever dated. For one thing, he is blown away when she tells him, “I love spending time with you.” Raphael explains, “Nobody has ever told me that, and it makes me feel so good.”

Andy says that he feels loved when his wife suggests doing activities together. This may not seem like a word of affirmation at first glance, but when you tell your man, “Hey, let’s do X together,” you are letting him know that you enjoy spending time with him. Especially if you are a quality time person, that suggestion alone can fill his love bucket up. Of course, you then have to follow through!

02. When She Says, ‘Wow, I’m So Lucky to Be with You’

When I asked Kevin what a woman might say to make him feel loved, he had a long list, but one of the things he said he likes is when a girlfriend says something like, “Wow, I am such a special woman to have been chosen by you. You make me feel so special.” He explains that affirmations like this let him know how important his place in her life is, and it means a lot.

Andy also said that when his wife says, “I’m so lucky to be with you,” it makes him feel loved. Who doesn’t like to feel like they are the gift, the treasure held closely by their significant other?

03. When She Appreciates the Little Things

This response was the overwhelming consensus among the men I spoke to. In fact, every single man I asked, married or single, said that they feel most loved when the woman expresses gratitude for the way they contribute to the relationship.

Erik, a newlywed and a first-time father, says, “Words of affirmation significantly increase their importance after a couple gets married, moves in together, and has a baby.” Erik explains that words of affirmation are essential to him feeling affirmed and loved in all of his new roles. “I want to feel appreciated for my acts of service for my family—both big and small,” Erik explains. “My wife’s recognition of a small gesture, such as bringing her coffee in bed or getting out of bed to help with the baby, is equally as important as her acknowledging the big acts of service.”

Alex feels especially loved when his wife notices the little things he does for her and their family. “The kinds of affirmation that mean the most are those of appreciation for the little things,” Alex says. “We both work hard at supporting the family through our jobs and home-making, so it is nice to hear appreciation voiced.”

But it’s not just the married guys who want to hear words of affirmation for their service. Kevin explained that he feels most loved when a significant other thanks him for the things he does for her in the relationship. Kevin says, “I feel most loved when I do things for a woman—tasks, gifts, sacrifices, generosity, thoughtful gestures—and she immediately acknowledges it and tells me how much those acts of service mean to her.” Thomas also says that, while words of affirmation is not his primary love language, he feels most loved when the woman in his life expresses gratitude for the effort he puts into the relationship, the gifts, the acts of service, and even the quality time he sets aside for her.

04. When She Shows Appreciation for Big Acts of Service, Too

Erik explains that appreciation for the big acts of service, which could be easily taken for granted, makes him feel loved, too. “When my wife acknowledges the larger acts, such as working hard and handling the daily stress of providing financial support for a growing family of three, I feel affirmed and loved. It is sometimes easier to take the big stuff for granted, but the occasional ‘thanks for working so hard to provide for us’ goes a long way.”

Jack says that words of affirmation are more keenly felt in areas of life that he himself prioritizes. “It boils down to what things are important to you and whether or not you are getting affirmation about those things,” he says. “For me, my priorities are faith, family, work, and fitness, so I feel loved and affirmed when I hear things like ‘I’m a happy woman because I’m married to you’ or ‘Our kids are lucky to have you for a dad’ or ‘You are a good spiritual leader of our family.’ It makes me feel really good.”

Tim shares a time when he felt especially loved by his wife when she called him impromptu after church one day to tell him how grateful she was for his role in raising their children. “Once, when I was away, my wife brought the whole family to church. She called me afterward and told me how during mass, she was grateful that I had done all the work I had done to train the kids to behave during church services—that it was extraordinary to have kids that well-behaved, and that my efforts were a big part of it. I think it was so moving because she wasn’t just thanking me—she was telling me about how grateful she felt in the moment,” Tim explains.

Patrick also shares how important affirming men in their various acts of service is to him. “It’s important to me that my wife communicates to me that she trusts me more than any other human being on this earth,” he says. “Women don’t even realize the power they have to inspire men. We want to be inspired to lay down our lives for the woman we love and our families.”

While this is only ten men, it is interesting that all ten appreciate affirmation in the way they serve in the relationship. Maybe there is something to it?

Photo Credit: Jordan Voth