Valentine’s Day is here again. It has officially been one year since you were last told to find the love of your life, to take advantage of an awesome flower and chocolate bundle, to read a guide with the best gifts for her or him. It seems as if every year we are bombarded with brands telling us what to buy, what to wear, where to eat, and the overwhelming dread that if you are single you are not important. It’s not often we hear discussions surrounding the true meaning of Valentine’s Day: celebrating love.
I am here to tell you that celebrating love doesn’t have to involve a romantic partner, an expensive dinner or exchanging gifts. I am also here to tell you it definitely can involve all the aforementioned. Love comes in many different shapes and from many different sources; it can come from a partner, family, friends and most importantly, yourself. But it is because love is present in so many different forms that we must learn how to communicate our love and how we want it communicated to us.
That brings me to love languages. This concept was created by Dr. Gary Chapman from his work as a marriage counselor and presented to the world in his 1992 book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts. His book outlines five different ways of expressing and receiving love: words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, receiving gifts and physical touch.
The Five Love Languages
Words of affirmation
This love language is all about verbal expressions of affection and love. People whose love language is words of affirmation need to hear constant “I love yous,” verbal encouragement, and words of appreciation for their looks and acts. This can come in spoken or written form, such as notes, love letters, or texts throughout the day.
You can and should also show yourself love if this is your love language, by complimenting yourself, measuring your words of self-criticism and saying daily affirmations.
If quality time is your love language, then you feel love by spending uninterrupted time with your partner or loved one. You feel constantly adored if those you love are always down for activities together, actively listen to you and show they care about being in your presence. This may translate into date nights with your partner, movie nights with your family or friends, exploring new places with people you love, going for walks, or simply enjoying a good wine and talking all night long.
If your loved one’s love language is quality time, make sure you are providing them these moments of togetherness without outside interferences.
Acts of service
People with acts of service as their love language feel the most adored when their loved ones do things for them, no matter how small. This love language is about lightening your person’s burdens, taking care of tasks and errands for them, or servicing them through small gestures. This could be making them breakfast in the morning or dinner before they get back from work, making the bed or folding the laundry, bringing them groceries or even fixing something they need fixed. Acts of service is the love language for those that believe actions speak louder than words - showing your person that you care for and love them.
This love language is about giving and receiving thoughtful gifts (really straight forward). This does not mean you need to be buying your loved ones expensive gifts to show your love. Instead, it is simply about showing that you put thought and care into giving them a physical representation of your love. People with this love language would love to receive a flower you picked off a tree during the day just as much as they would love a piece of jewelry with their name engraved on it. They adore knowing you thought of them throughout your day and picked up something you thought they would love.
If physical touch is your love language, you need physical demonstrations of love. This love language is often misinterpreted to be all about sex, but the reality is that physical love can come in many others forms. This can be shown through cuddling, holding hands, kissing, hugging or even sharing a bed. This love language revolves around the comfort that comes from being physically close to your person.
If your friends and family have this as their love language, try showing you love them by hugging them, sitting closely while watching TV or kissing their foreheads. It’s all about being close and sharing warmth.
Understanding the five love languages can not only help you better understand how you like to be loved, but also learn how to identify how your loved ones like to be loved. It is an important concept for creating long-lasting, healthy relationships. If you’ve never heard or talked about love languages, I hope this will be a good start. Next, try to talk to your loved ones about it and I can assure you’ll all greatly benefit from that conversation.
It’s also fair to note that we all like to receive love in all of these manners, but there are usually one or two that are our main love languages.
You can take our quiz and discover your love language today!
And check out our love languages e-book for more detailed information, tips and examples!
By Larissa Aguiar