The language of love

Close your eyes and think of the last time you felt deeply loved and appreciated. What did that person do to make you feel so special? Did they give you a warm hug? Bring home a personal gift after a vacation? Tell you how immensely proud they were of you?

Whatever it was, they were speaking your love language. And if it worked, it must mean they’re fluent.

Just like other languages, the language of love takes time, effort, and practice to perfect. The toughest part? The language of love isn’t universal—everyone’s version is a little different.

In 1995, pastor and author Gary Chapman wrote a book titled The Five Love Languages. The five languages describe different ways in which we all feel loved and appreciated. They include:

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Acts of Service
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Quality Time
  5. Physical Touch

If you haven’t read the book, you might be thinking “I love all those things. Doesn’t everyone?” Yes! But the idea is we each have 1 or 2 that mean more to us than the others. And the goal of relationships, romantic and otherwise, is to learn someone’s love language and show them love in that way.

It’s less about meeting a need and more about communicating love effectively.

To learn how to communicate effectively, first take the quiz (your partner, kids, etc. should too). Then, spend some time getting to know each love language: what it means, how to show it, and what specific acts/words in that language your partner (or child, friend, etc.) prefers.

If you’re married or in a relationship, we suggest taking the quiz together and spending time discussing your results and what they mean to you. Ask your partner to tell you when they feel most loved by you and what you can do to show it more.

Need a few ideas? Below, we’re covering 3 ways to show your partner love for each love language. The 4th is a simple and sweet way to communicate love to a child.

Words of Affirmation:

  1. Give at least one genuine compliment a day—make sure it’s new, honest, and said with love
  2. Say “I love you” often
  3. Write a letter of appreciation describing why they’re important to you and what you love most about them
  4. Write a sweet note with dry erase marker on their mirror

Acts of Service:

  1. Offer to run errands or do a household chore you know they don’t love or don’t have time for
  2. Cook a delicious dinner and have it ready for them when they get home
  3. Ask what tasks on their to-do list are causing the most stress and find a way to help get them done
  4. Offer to help your child with their chore list and turn cleaning into a fun group activity

Receiving Gifts:

  1. Next time you’re on a trip or out of town, snag a trinket that made you think of them
  2. After a long work week, surprise them with a pint of their favorite ice cream
  3. Send flowers or chocolate-covered strawberries to their office for a sweet surprise
  4. Snag your child’s favorite flavor of gum or snack from the store and surprise them after school with a sweet treat

Quality Time:

  1. Turn your phone off and spend an entire day doing activities you both love
  2. Plan a weekend of adventure and really tune-in to each other
  3. For 20 minutes before bed each night, turn off all screens and just talk
  4. Spend one-on-one time with your child doing whatever it is they love most: playing catch, visiting the animal shelter, reading a good book, watching a movie, etc.

Physical Touch:

  1. Hold your partner’s hand when out and about
  2. Offer a shoulder or back rub while watching your favorite show together
  3. Spend a few minutes each morning cuddled up before starting your work days
  4. Hugs go a long way! Give them often

Communicating love and appreciation doesn’t have to be expensive or take lots of time. The most important thing is that it’s genuine and communicated in a way your partner or child feel it most.

During this time in isolation, we encourage you to get to know your loved one’s love languages and tweak your words and actions to show them you care. For more ideas, give us a call or purchase The Five Love Languages book.