Time and time we’re left wondering what happened? ” she was too needy” ” he didn’t treat me right” ” we just didn’t connect”. What’s really going on? Are these reasons actually legitimate or is there a lack of understanding of what love language we are speaking?
We all want to know how to make our partners feel loved. A more important piece of information that often gets overlooked when it comes to matters of the heart, however, is how we ourselves want to be loved. I always thought that saying “I love you” was the only way to convey love, but then I learned that this is because words are very important to me personally. As it turns out, however, words represent only one of the love languages.
Maybe you’ve heard of it, maybe it has even helped your marriage or relationship: The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman is a very interesting read for anyone who is looking for a deeper understanding of love and how to better serve their partner. The book has been around for quite some time now, but I thought it would serve as a great little reminder for all of us around this holiday season, when time with loved ones is ramped up, how to express our devotion. You can take the quiz here: www.5lovelanguages.com
Acts of Service
For these people, actions really do speak louder than words. Doing the dishes, picking something up on your way home, giving a foot massage, taking the dog out, changing diapers… the list goes on. The doing represents love but only when it’s given freely. Manipulation or demanding from our partners stops the flow of love and pushes them away. Requesting can go a long way and a reexamining of gender stereotypes may be necessary to express this love language effectively.
Words of Affirmation
To these people, talk isn’t cheap. They use words to affirm people and for them, there is nothing better than hearing or reading sweet compliments, words of encouragement, acknowledgement, or heartfelt gratitude from loved ones. These people will cherish and keep those cute cards we give and eat up a mix tape we make them because words have weight and can come in different forms. Expect a text, a note, some words spoken face to face, an email, or a letter from someone that speaks this language.
Don’t mistake this language as materialistic, because the giver gets such a kick out of giving. These people like looking at something and saying “look, she remembered me.” And the gift doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate; mostly it’s the thought that counts. This love language is expressed through giving gifts on birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, and ‘no occasion’ days. The little gestures mean a lot to these people. Flowers, a homemade card, or even a food item makes them feel loved.
These people not only LOVE hugs but they often give the best ones! They know you care and love them because tactile interaction reenforces the connection you share. If they are having a hard day, holding them close will melt everything away. Kissing, slow dancing, holding hands, 20 second hugs, and massaging are all example of ways to speak this love language.
Turning off the TV or putting your phone down and turning to a person that speaks this love language will show they have your undivided attention. By giving our time, we show these people that we love and care about them. Quality time is a powerful emotional communicator of love. It doesn’t have to be a whole day or night; even a quick focused check-in, either face to face or on the phone, goes a long way towards showing you care.