Well, it's love week, one of my favorite weeks of the year. Love week is also my BIRTHDAY week, yep, I am a Valentine baby, so yeah, it's pretty great. Everyone always asks me if I hate having my birthday on Valentines Day, and I always say no. Every now and then it's a bit of a lonely day, but I love sharing my birthday with a holiday and love that everyone in the world is celebrating with me. :)
In lieu of love-day, what better thing to chat about today than your LOVE LANGUAGE!
We are all wired for connection. We were created for attachment and it is a NEED to love and be loved. We literally cannot survive without it. One of my favorite subjects around this topic is the idea by Dr. Gary Chapman, the 5 Love Languages, which are:
1) Acts of Service, 2) Quality Time, 3) Physical Touch, 4) Words of Affirmation, and 5) Gifts.
The interesting thing is that even though we all need love, we all feel it (and give it) differently, which can lead to a major disconnect in relationships. Ever wonder why you feel like you are serving your spouse all day long and they still seem to think you aren't showing them love? This answers that question!
I learned about this concept many, many years ago and have found that this knowledge can benefit ANY relationship. Whether you are married, dating, or single, you can apply this concept to how you can show love to those around you, your parents, your siblings, your roommates/neighbors, your friends, your boy/girlfriend, your spouse, or your children in a way that will really touch them.
It may also help you to understand how you can look outside yourself and see how others around you may be showing you love and you aren't even recognizing it!
Acts of Service
For people who's love language is service, actions speak louder than words. They feel especially loved when someone goes out of their way to DO something for them. It may be doing the dishes, making them a meal, cleaning the bathroom, or watching the kids so the other can have some alone time. It may be cleaning the car, fixing something that's broken, or taking something they didn't want to do off their plate.
The key to acts of service is thinking outside the box and doing something that the other person would truly love to have done for them, without them having to ask. :)
For people who's #1 love language is quality time, attention means everything. (PS this is mine. haha) They feel the most loved when someone schedules specific and focused time to spend with them. The key here is QUALITY. So sitting together watching netflix on the couch probably isn't going to do it for them. They need to feel heard, valued, and cherished. They need to know that you want to be with them, have nothing else you'd rather be doing, and are fully focused on them. Pulling your phone out to answer a text in the middle of a special dinner can completely unravel a quality time person.
Does this mean you have to shower the person with focused attention every time you are around them? No, it just means that in order for them to feel your love you need to schedule this quality time into your busy schedule and be fully present and actively listening throughout. For the person whose love language is time, this will be a major payoff. :)
It should come as no surprise that physical touch is one of the five love languages, however some people need physical touch more than others. Disclaimer: this language is also felt by women and does not just pertain to sex. The key to physical touch is the emotional closeness that is felt behind the touch, and can actually be more deeply felt through the small ways of a kiss on the forehead, a pat on the back, or a rub on the shoulder. (obviously, the nature of the relationship would play a role in how you would show love this way)
Physical touch has a way of showing support, nurturing, protection, appreciation, inclusion, and affection. Sometimes we are afraid to reach out and break the bubble surrounding another person, but honestly, no matter what your love language is, we could all use a little more human contact and love.
(FUNNY STORY: A few years back, shortly after I got divorced, I was on a date. It was a first date and my date was nice, however I was finding myself mostly unimpressed. Was this me and how I was still working through A LOT of things from my divorce or him, I'm not sure, but I wasn't having the best time. About half way through the date he asked me what my love language was... I wasn't sure at that time. He proceeded to tell me that his was physical touch and asked if he could hold my hand. LOL This experience classifies as one of my most awkward dating experiences and though physical touch is a great way to show your love to someone you are comfortable with and have feelings for I wouldn't reccommend bringing it up on a first date.)
Words of Affirmation
For the person who's love language is words of affirmation, communication is key! The phrase "actions speak louder than words" is not necessarily true when showing love to words of affirmation people. Go out of your way to not just show them appreciation and encouragement, but speak it. Compliment them often, tell them you love them, tell them why.
The keys here are tone and genuineness. Make sure you speak compliments and words that you truly mean and that the sincerity comes through in your tone.
Last, but certainly not least, the 5th love language is gifts. And don't be ashamed if your primary love language is gifts, it's okay to like getting stuff, it doesn't mean you're greedy, it just means that this is how you feel the most loved.
If there is someone in your life who's love language is gifts, show them you love them by giving them something thoughtful. The cost actually doesn't matter here, it is about being mindful and is the thought that counts the most. At the grocery store? Pick up their favorite treat. On a jog? Pick a flower (or a dandelion for that matter) and give it to them. It is showing that you were thinking about them and this shows love.
Now, for those more special occasions, you may want to give the relationship a special gift to really show your love. AND gifts don't always have to be material items, they can be the gift of self, of being truly present and giving time. The key to this one is paying attention to the little things and picking up on things that someone really loves and giving it to them.
So yes, as stated before, we are wired for connection. We need to receive love and we need to give it. Pay more attention to the people in your life and tune into the little cues to let you know how you can make them feel the love you have for them even more. So... not quite sure what your love language is? The link below will take you to a quiz to help you find out. Print out a copy and have your loved one take it as well. This information truly has the capacity to enhance any and every relationship.