Happy Valentine’s Day!
Is there anything more disappointing than spending hours trying to find the perfect gift to show someone how much you love them and then have them not love it as much as you? How about those times when someone cancels plans last-minute? Or you’re far from the people you love when all you want is a hug or a kind word. Or maybe, the way you can really feel loved is if someone would just HELP YOU OUT FOR THE LOVE.
Here’s the thing. Everyone shows, gives, and receives love in different ways. And knowing how the people in your life do those things is the key to loving them well. Christian author Gary Chapman calls them “The 5 Love Languages.” Here’s a little description of each.
Words of Affirmation
You know this one. People who have this as their love language “use words to affirm other people” and often rely on the same to feel loved. These are the people that remind the world that kind words matter. How you say something and what you say is important. People who are words of affirmation people are the people that light up when you give them a compliment, tell them they’re doing a good job and other great things like that.
Acts of Service
You’ve heard it said before: actions speak louder than words. And, for people who are acts of service people, this is especially true. If you know someone who seems to feel especially loved when you help out with something around the house, go out of your way to help others, or get excited when you say you will join them on a volunteer job, they are acts of service kind of people.
No, this is not materialistic (and I’m not just saying that because this is my love language). This love language is all about small, tangible ways of being shown, love. People who have the receiving gifts love language are the people that jump up and down at snail mail or stickers. This gift isn’t about BIG, it’s about knowing that something reminds someone of them. These are the people that will go out of their way to give you a little something because they know how much it means to them.
This is one you’re probably familiar with in many ways. Think of that person in your life that says, “it doesn’t matter what we do, it’s just that we do it together.” These are people that want you to put down your phone, turn off the TV and just talk to them. Quality time people are about just that: quality. It doesn’t have to be hours, but make it count.
A hand on the shoulder. A hug. A kiss. Physical touch people respond best when you reach out to them, literally. They are people that respond to the feel of another human around them. Physical touch is not sexual; it’s about feeling close to someone by proximity.
Your Love Language Probably Isn’t The Same as Your Significant Other’s
Once you learn about the Love Languages, remember that how you give and receive love is probably not the same as many of the people closest to you in your life. That’s why it’s important to not only know your love language, but also the love language of the people in your life; your spouse, your kids, your friends, even your co-workers. Knowing how they respond and feel valued is the first step in taking the stress out of showing them how important they are to you.
Check out the 5 Love Languages website for resources, quizzes, and ways to learn more about how you give and receive affection.