For any relationship to thrive, both parties need to feel validated and appreciated. Here’s the thing though—we all have different ways of giving and receiving love. Once we can get to the root of how they need to feel loved, we can take the mystery out of what our loved ones want and expect from us and elevate our relationships.
In Dr. Gary Chapman’s brilliant book The Five Love Languages, he shares that there are five universal ways that people express and interpret love. Chapman firmly believes that each person has one primary and one secondary love language. I encourage you to explore which of the love languages resonate and which ones your loved ones might respond to as well.
Words of Affirmation
Our words have the power to harm or to heal so why not use them effectively? If we didn’t grow up in a home where verbal communication and compliments were typical, we would have no way of knowing that a friend or partner so strongly needs this type of affirmation. Words of appreciation are powerful communicators of love. Examples include “You look lovely in that dress,” “Thank you for always being on time” and “You always know how to make me laugh.”
In an age where we all struggle to stay connected with loved ones because of all the outside stimulation, giving our undivided attention to someone is invaluable. Quality time could take the form of a long walk, sitting across the table and dining together or doing another activity you both love. Remember though, that we all have the same amount of hours in a day and true quality time can fulfill so much more than hours of “unconnected” time ever could.
Although all of the five love languages challenge us to give to our significant others, visible symbols of love speak the loudest. A gift is a physical indicator that you can look at and think “Wow this person was really thinking of me or remembered me.” In order to buy someone, a gift one must first be thinking about their significant other. It’s not about how much it cost, it’s the idea and the effort behind it that counts as an expression of love.
Acts of Service
Often times, actions do indeed speak louder than words. Acts of service refer to doing things that you know your spouse/family would like you to do. Examples such as setting the table, cooking a meal, changing the baby‘s diaper or picking up groceries fall into this category. Each of these acts requires thought, effort and energy and when done in a kind and spirited way, they are lovely expressions of love. This is about doing things for others out of the simple goodness of your heart.
A person whose primary love language is physical touch absolutely loves to give and receive hugs and other physical forms of affection. For recognition and appreciation, they may require hand-holding, a gentle pat on the back or to touch your arm while communicating. Appropriate touch will communicate feelings of safety, warmth and love for someone who falls into this category.
These five love languages are important in all relationships, not just romantic ones. They will open the doors for communication and deeper emotional connections.
Melody Pourmoradi is a women’s life and wellness coach at Life Evolutions Coaching. Check out www.lifeevolutionscoaching.com to learn more.