Imagine that you’re visiting another country and you find yourself lost. You go up to the next person you see and, in clear, perfect English, ask for directions. The person also responds clearly and perfectly – but in their own language. You both go back-and-forth for a few minutes, trying to get the other person to understand, but you quickly realize it isn’t happening. The intention and clarity behind the messages won’t matter if neither of you are understanding it.
Believe it or not, the same thing happens in relationships because there are different Love Languages. Maybe you’ve already heard about Dr. Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages, which are the different ways we speak to each other to show our affection. The way you show your love to other tells you some of your own values. You may love someone very much and may be showering them with affection in your love language, but there’s a chance it won’t translate into something they see as meaningful. That’s why it’s so important to understand your own love language, as well as those you show love to.
The five love languages are:
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
If these 5 love languages are new to you, don’t worry! First, I encourage you and your partner to discover your own love languages by taking the quiz here. After that, stay tuned! Over the next few months, I will be doing a blog to highlight one of the 5 love languages with tips on how to apply it to your relationship.
First up – Words of Affirmation. Words of Affirmation are words of encouragement, support, and validation given to your partner – essentially affirming who he or she is as a person and/or who he or she is to you. Those under this love language feel most loved when they receive loving verbal messages; for example, a text saying, “Hi honey, just thinking about you and how grateful I am for you.” That said, the lack of messages like this may lead to disconnection.
Words of Affirmations Tips:
Try to Compliment Your Partner Every Day. You may compliment your partner on their physical appearance, on little parts of their personality that you adore, or for anything you appreciate. Don’t just hand out compliments. Make sure you’re being honest and genuine!
Use Different, Fun Ways to Convey Your Words. One idea is to send text messages or emails throughout the day to say “I love you,” “You looked so beautiful/handsome this morning,” “I really appreciated your help with dinner last night,” etc. Another fun idea is to leave little love notes for your partner in places where you know he/she will eventually find them (cosmetic bag while traveling, on the bathroom mirror, in lunch bag, gym bag, etc.)
Find Opportunities to Verbally Express Your Words. If you are thinking it, say it. If you realize that you haven’t validated your partner in a while, look for something you love about him/her, and then share it. These special moments will mean a lot to those under this love language.
Words of Affirmation can certainly take some self-awareness and practice if it is not a part of the way you naturally communicate. Maybe you grew up in an environment where words of affirmation were rarely expressed, so you’re not used to saying them yourself. As I said before – if you’re thinking it, say it! One can never have enough sweet, loving messages and compliments.
If this is you or your partner’s love language, you may even notice more “leaning in” and “turning towards” behavior. This is because you both feel more connected and are more likely to respond to each other in kind. You may be thinking that hearing words of affirmation sounds nice, but it isn’t something you necessarily need to feel connected. As my 5 Love Languages blog series continues, keep a lookout for which language speaks to you and contains what you need to feel connected and loved.
Give Amy Wine Counseling Center a call at 832-421-8714 if you have any questions about our therapeutic services or would like to schedule an appointment.