Here’s a question for you: how do you show and receive love?
Until relatively recently, I hadn’t fully considered that different people show and receive love in different ways. These different ways of showing and receiving love are called “love languages”. Much like linguistics, when you express love with a love language that your SO, your friend, or your family member does not resonate with, it can often lead to miscommunication. For example, if your love language is quality time, and your SO keeps trying to show love by giving you gifts – it may lead to tension, because you do not value gifts as highly as quality time.
Sometimes, you think you are trying your hardest, but it is not being received that way. That is why it is important to understand the dominant love languages of your loved one, as well as understanding your own. In this month of love, let’s try to express how we feel more effectively, so we can show our loved ones that we really care.
- Words of affirmation:
This refers to verbal, or written, expressions of care and affection. When words of affirmation are your love language, it means that you like to be told how much you mean to someone, as a confirmation of their love for you. In the old days, this probably involved sending handwritten love letters, but now it could just mean that you value getting a good night text, a morning call, or a considerate Valentines Day card.
Valentines Day idea: Make your special someone a card, and spend some time articulating how much they mean to you. The time and effort it took to turn your feelings into words, and create a handmade card, will be cherished by your Valentine long after Valentine’s Day has come and gone.
- Acts of service:
This involves doing something helpful or kind for your loved one. Thoughtful acts of service may include things like washing the dishes without being asked to, cooking dinner or running an errand. Basically, putting in the effort so that your loved one has one less thing to fit into their day.
Valentines Day idea: Cook your Valentine dinner at home and set up a lovingly prepared dinner for two. Coming home to a homemade meal, and an ambient dinner set-up, will certainly tug on the heartstrings of your loved on.
- Receiving gifts:
This love language conjures up images of the classic red roses and chocolates for Valentine’s Day. If receiving gifts is your love language, it means that having someone give you a thoughtful tangible item makes you feel appreciated.
Valentines Day idea: Everyone loves to be spoilt once in a while! Even if it is just something small, like a box of chocolates, or a little pot plant – a thoughtful gift is always a wonderful gesture of love and appreciation.
- Quality time:
If your love language is quality time, then you really value activities that allow you to spend time with your loved one. Maybe this is going for a walk, or watching a movie, or just straight chilling. Regardless of the activity, setting aside dedicated time for your loved one is very important for someone who values this love language.
Valentines Day idea: Spend some time thinking about what your favourite activity to do with your loved one is and try to plan a date that incorporates that. Some ideas include: a beach picnic, a sunrise hike, a trip to the movies, or an ice-cream date at sunset. The thought that goes into planning some quality time together is always treasured.
- Physical touch:
This love language includes physical expressions of love, whether that is romantic, sexual or platonic. When you meet someone and they tell you they are a “hugger” – their love language is probably physical touch. If physical touch is your love language, then a massage, a hug or a kiss are possible ways of showing you care.
Valentines Day idea: Massages are one of the most luxurious ways of relaxing after a long week. Treat yourself and your Valentine to a massage together, at a spa, or create your own massage or pamper session at home.
Keep in mind that most people have more than one dominant love language. So, in this month of love, whether you are celebrating your SO, your best friend or your family, keep their love language in mind. Here’s to healthy and loving relationships in 2020 – am I right?!