Love can be complicated. Whether it’s loving your significant other, friends, or family, love will somehow always be difficult. There are moments when it feels a little harder to love someone, or you may even feel very little love coming from them but when this happens we must realize that it’s not that the love has somehow run out. Love is a choice and it won’t always come easily. Whenever you choose to love someone you must put in the effort to make it work. Something I learned is that everyone has their own language in expressing love. Whenever you feel that the love is running out perhaps it may not be that, but it could just be a form of miscommunication between your love languages. According to New York Times #1 Best Seller author of The 5 Love Languages, Dr. Gary Chapman “relationships grow better when we understand each other.” If we all just tried to learn the importance of love languages and tried to learn and understand them this could significantly improve our love lives.
If you haven’t read Dr. Gary Chapman’s book on the 5 languages it is definitely one to add to your reading list. Chapman has a wide variety of editions of the book to accommodate your own personal life situation. I remember the first time I read the book I couldn’t believe how much sense it made as I thought about every relationship in my life. It made me regret not knowing about the love languages sooner since I believed it could have helped my relationships for the better.
Now that Valentine’s day is approaching what better way to show someone your love and appreciation than by understanding what makes them feel loved. Here is a run-through of each of the 5 love languages with personal stories to help you understand the importance of learning to speak each of these languages.
Acts of Service:
Showing a person whose primary language is acts of service can be described as making them a meal, taking out the trash, and making them coffee. This person feels loved when someone gives their time and attention to them. When trying to demonstrate love to this person it is important to pay attention to detail what they like or what they don’t like so you can invest your time wisely in them. Although this love language is quite a time-consuming language, know that your loved one will appreciate everything you do and will feel so loved by you. A way that your loved one may not feel loved and appreciated by you is by not helping around even if they haven’t asked for your help. That is why it is important to pay attention to detail and figure out what would your person appreciate you doing for them.
Although acts of service are not my primary love language I have learned to speak it well from my past relationship. In my past relationship, something I learned was how important it was to pay attention to the actions that made my significant other feel loved. My ex-boyfriend worked on the weekends pretty much the whole day and sometimes it was very difficult for him to get out and get some food. After a few weeks of him having to go hours without eating I decided to one day go and take him some dinner. He was absolutely shocked by my gesture and made it clear how loved he felt when I did that. After that, it became our weekly routine and he obviously felt very loved by the time and effort I was investing in him. Whenever you love someone it is important to learn even the tiniest things that could make them happy and that will show them the love you would want to receive.
The love language of gifts is often perceived as a greedy language simply because it involves a physical item, however, that is far from the truth. A person who receives love through gifts does not simply feel love because a material item was given to them, but they feel loved with the thought that they were in the gift-givers thoughts when finding the item. The person who speaks this language is not concerned about what the gift itself is instead they are happy with the message that the gift giver is sending them which is “I was thinking about you when I saw this. You’re always on my mind.”
A moment in my life in which I had to speak this language was with one of my closest friends. At the moment she was going through a very difficult time in her life and we were not able to see her as much anymore. Even though we couldn’t see her or speak with her as often anymore we had the idea to send her a gift basket. In that gift basket, we placed some of her favorite items and encouraging notes. When she received the basket, she was overwhelmed with emotion. The basket itself could have been very simple but to her, it meant that we were thinking of her and that’s all she needed to know to feel how much we loved her.
The love language of gifts is not a materialistic and greedy language this language is all about the thought and message you are sending to the person. When showing someone whose love language is gifts it is important to emphasize that they were in your mind. Like they say it’s the thought that counts.
The love language of physical touch may sound self-explanatory, but it is so much more than intimate touches. If a person’s love language is physical touch this means they prefer physical touches over any other form of affection such as encouraging words or gifts. You can tell a person’s main love language is physical touch when they always have the need to touch as a form of showing appreciation. I once had a conversation with a guy whose love language happened to be physical touch, of how I could show him I was there for him if he ever was feeling down and he told me that the best way to show him I cared was by just simply giving him a hug. I’m not much of a physical touch person so although it may feel strange or out of my comfort zone, I know that simple touch would mean the world to him. Therefore, if a special person in your life happens to have physical touch as their love language you can show them you care and how much you love them by just simply giving them random hugs throughout the day, squeezing their hand as reassurance, placing a hand on their shoulder, or just sitting right beside them.
Words of Affirmation:
A person whose primary love language is words of affirmation feels loved with sincere words of appreciation, compliments, and encouragement. If words of affirmation are not your forte and it may feel a little uncomfortable to show someone you love them through verbal words, notes and letters are always an option. People whose love language is words of affirmation are known for loving unexpected letters and hidden notes. Also, avoid negative comments and insults since this will affect us so much more than any other person.
As a person whose primary love language is words of affirmation, I would like to share a little story. A couple of years ago I was seeing this guy for quite some time but boy did that time not help him figure out my love language. After an unfortunate turn of events, our relationship was pretty much over. He decided to ghost me for a while, so I took that as the cue that we were officially over, so whenever he called me to meet up of course I was very confused. Now listen this is the part with the lesson, what you should NOT do to a person whose love language is words of affirmation. He had me sit in front of him as he read me a letter of why he did not love me, why we were ending, and then asked me to forgive him. Ouch yes, he wrote me a whole letter to tell me all of that. That was probably one of the most traumatic experiences of my life but it wasn’t because he had broken up with me and read all of those awful things, it was because he knew letters were special to me and he actually used my love language to well... make me feel the opposite of love.
With this, I tell you that words are a lot more than just words to us who speak the language of words of affirmation. Some ideas on how to show them your love for them is saying “I love you” a lot, pointing out their strengths, and showing your appreciation. A person whose love language is words of affirmation is not a needy person they are just people who feel words more intensely, therefore, use your words wisely when expressing love to them.
Quality time is defined as spending time with that special person and giving them all of your time and attention. Quality time may not be my love language, but it is probably one of the most important ones for me since it is my best friend’s and sister’s love language. Quite frankly I suck at this love language and there is definitely more room for improvement. One of the biggest things that characterize this love language is the fact that you are required to give your loved one your undivided attention. I have been called out many times for not spending enough time with them or for not fully being present when spending quality time. When loving someone whose love language is quality time it is important to put in the effort to plan time to spend time with them. These people enjoy the feeling of having good company so even if you do spend time with them they won’t feel fully loved unless you give them your undivided attention, therefore, this means to put down your phone or let go of any other distractions!
This person invests so much of their time in making time for their loved ones, therefore, why not making them feel loved and appreciated by just simply giving them the time and attention they need. You can also make them feel loved by you making the plans and inviting them to do something, practicing your active listening skills, and making eye contact when speaking. Avoid working on something else when spending time with them, never refer to them as needy, and never complain about the amount of time you spend with them.
It is important to know we can all have a little of each of the five languages in us even though there will be one that is more fluent than the others. We can also easily mold ourselves into becoming each of the languages according to who we are trying to display love for, therefore it shouldn’t be mistaken as a personality trait. I hope this article helps you understand the power of the five love languages. Love may be difficult at times but perhaps all we have to do is reevaluate the language we are speaking. Whenever we learn about the importance of these five languages and we actually take the time to analyze and practice them this can eventually revolutionize our relationships forever