Maybe you’ve heard of The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. In it, Gary Chapman talks about the five different ways people like to receive love and how learning your partner’s “language” can transform your relationship. Over the next several weeks we’re going to take an in-depth look at these five languages and how speaking your partner’s language can make them feel more loved and appreciated.
To get started, you must first know your love language and your partner’s so that you can learn to show love in a manner they will be able to understand. If you don’t know your language, you can take the personality test on The 5 Love Languages website.
Speaking your partner’s love language will help them to feel understood, appreciated, and most importantly, loved. Most couples speak different love languages. If you’re showing love for your partner in a way that you’d like to be shown love, they’re probably not understanding it and they may be feeling disconnected from you.
Taking the time to learn your partner’s love language then showing love in a manner they can accept and understand will build a stronger bond between you.
Love Language #1 – Words of Affirmation
Words of appreciation and verbal compliments are a powerful way to communicate love. For someone who connects with the Words of Affirmation Language, sharing positive compliments with them on a regular basis will allow them to feel loved.
There are four great ways to show love using the Words of Affirmation Language
Tellthem what you love about them.
What made you fall in love with your partner? What do you admire and respect about them? How do they inspire you to be a better person? Tell them what it is you love most about them. It’s fine to say things like “You have beautiful eyes” or “I love your hair” but remember that love is more than just physical appearance.
Your partner needs to know what you love about their personality, their soul. They want to know what you love about who they are as a person, not just what they look like. Phrases like “I love how kind you are” or “I love that you’re always happy” are going to speak more to their love language. And don’t underestimate the power of a simple “I love you.” When spoken to express how you feel in your heart, those words will mean the world to someone who speaks the Affirmation Language.
2. Pay them a compliment.
Make a habit of complimenting your partner and it will become easier and easier to speak their language. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- You look great, I love your new shirt.
- That was such a good dinner, you’re a great cook.
- You’re so talented, I would never be able to do __(hobby/passion)__.
- You’re so funny.
- You’re a great parent/friend/sibling/spouse.
Just make sure the compliments include ones about your partner’s personality, talents, and actions, not only their looks. Remember, they’re more than just their physical appearance. That’s not to say they won’t enjoy a compliment about their physical appearance. A “you look hot” will always make their day! But compliment them for who they are too.
If compliments don’t come easy for you, it may help to keep a list on your phone of things you love about your partner whenever you think of them. Then you can use the list anytime you need some inspiration
While compliments are great face-to-face, bragging on your partner is paying them a compliment to other people and it boosts that compliment to a whole new level. You can speak highly of your partner both when they’re around and overhear it and when they’re not. Just because they’re not around to hear you brag about them doesn’t mean they won’t know about it. Word will get back to them! And they’ll be delighted to know that you speak highly of them even when they’re not around to hear it. Bragging about your partner lets them know that you’re not afraid to show your love for them in front of other people and that will mean a lot.
Share your partner’s successes, big wins, talents, and hard work with others. They will never brag on themselves, but they deserve recognition for all they do. Hearing you speak positively about them to others will not only make them feel loved,
We all have dreams, hopes, and goals, and your partner is no different. If their love language is Affirmation, hearing how much you support them and want to see them accomplish those goals will let them know how much they’re loved. Speak up and make sure they know how much you believe in them.
Words of encouragement and support might sound like this:
“I’m so proud of you for going after your goal. I know you’ve got this and you’re going to succeed because you always give your best to everything you do. No matter what happens, I support you and love you.”
To someone who speaks the language of Affirmation, your support and belief in them will build their confidence and self-esteem. They’ll work harder and do a better job because they know you’re proud of them
Empathy is a form of love that shows someone you may not be able to personally relate to what they’re going through, but you can understand how they must feel and you support those feelings. Some people struggle with empathy; it tends to be more of a female emotion than male. But it’s comforting to know that there’s someone who’s on your side when you’re going through a struggle.
If empathy is something you struggle with, these phrases will help you to connect with your partner:
- I can’t imagine how hard this must be for you.
- It must be tough for you to _____
- I can see how you might feel that way because _____
- That sounds to me like _____, is that right?
These words will help your partner to feel understood and supported.
If you have trouble finding ways to compliment your partner and encourage them, you’re likely taking them for granted and not truly appreciating the person you’re with. If that’s the case, it’s time to take a step back and exam your relationship to discover what you’re missing. Most likely, if you’re in this situation, you’ve lost the ability to just be present in the moment and communicate with your partner. It’s time to reconnect.
Words of affirmation don’t just have to be in the spoken form; there are a variety of ways to convey these loving messages.
- Text message
- A love note left on their bathroom mirror or in their lunch bag
- A handwritten letter expressing your love
- A card with a handwritten note
If your love language is an affirmation, you may need these words of love and encouragement but don’t know how to accept them. Being a good receiver is just as important as being a good giver. Accepting love in the form of affirmations can include:
- A simple “thank you” with a smile or wink
- Say “thank you for noticing, I appreciate it.”
- Say “thank you for your support, I needed that.”
- Give a hug or kiss
If you have a hard time accepting a compliment, you may try to argue with “oh, it was nothing” or “I didn’t really do anything” remark. But these negative responses will only discourage your partner from giving you what you truly need, words of affirmation.
For people who speak the language of Affirmation, remember that as much as words can build up, support, and show love, they can also break down, hurt, and damage. Be gentle with your words, especially with an Affirmation speaking partner. Harsh, mean words will show affirmation as well, but not of love. And words, once spoken, can not be taken back. An apology doesn’t always heal a broken heart. If your words are hurtful, don’t be surprised when your partner starts to pull away and disconnect from you. They will feel the need to protect their heart.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you can never disagree or have an argument. But it does mean that you need to communicate in a positive and constructive way. Ask instead of tell. In other words, don’t tell your partner they’re being lazy, instead, ask for their help and let them know how much you’d appreciate it. Learn to communicate in a positive manner instead of name calling and yelling. No matter what your partner’s love language is, this kind of communication will only hurt your relationship.
Over the next several weeks we’ll take an in-depth look at the other love languages and how you can use them to strengthen and build your relationship. Remember, if you want to know what your love language is, you can take the test at The 5 Love Languages website.