Have you ever heard anyone say “my husband’s or wife’s love language is quality time so we schedule a night in for just the two of us [or] my love language is physical touch so I love when my husband gives me spontaneous hugs”? If the terms “quality time” and “physical touch” seem familiar to you it’s probably because these people have been influenced by the concepts from the book, The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman (2010). The five love languages help partners identify, connect, and communicate to each other the ways they feel most connected and loved- through their predominant love language.
The five love languages are:
1) Words of affirmation
2) Quality time
3) Receiving gifts
4) Acts of service
5) Physical touch.
Are these five love languages new to you? That’s ok! Over the next few months I will be doing a blog series where each post will highlight one of the five love languages with tips on how to apply to your relationship. Stay tuned for bi-weekly updates!
Let us start the first blog post of the series by highlighting our first love language: 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. You or your partner may crave hearing or reading words of validation to feel loved and connected. Maybe you feel most loved by your partner when you get a text saying, “Hi honey, just thinking about you and how grateful I am for you.” And, the lack of messages like this may lead to disconnection. It is not uncommon for one partner to need words of affirmation when the other partner does not need them at all. This is where working to understand each other’s love language is important. Chapman (2010) shares some awesome tips for how use words of affirmation with your partner who thrives off of them.
Words of Affirmation Tips:
- Set a goal to compliment your partner each day
Try doing this for a few weeks to make it part of how you naturally communicate. You may compliment your partner on physical appearance, on little parts of his or her personality you like, or for anything you appreciate.
- Find creative and fun ways to write out words of affirmation.
One idea is to send text messages or emails throughout the day to say “I love you,” “You looked nice this morning,” “ I had a nice evening last night with you,” and etc… Another idea is to leave little love notes for your partner around different parts of the house where you know he or she will eventually find them (cosmetic bag while traveling, in dresser, in gym bag…)
- Find opportunities to verbally express to your partner how they make you feel, things you love about them, and his or her strengths in front of friends and family- or between just the two of you.
If you are thinking it, say it. If you realize have not validated your partner in a while, look for something you love about him or her, and then share it. These moments of affirmation in front of or away from family and friends can go a long way for connectedness if his or her primary love language is words of affirmation.
- If you have children, look for ways to build up your partner as a parent in front of your children.
You can do this while your partner is there but also when he or she is away. This is a great way to help create a strong parenting team as well.
You might have been reading this and thinking, “Hey! That is what I want more of!” If so take note, as words of affirmation may be one of your primary love languages and a need to communicate to your partner. It is also good to consider if you think your partner would appreciate and need these gestures- or these words of affirmation. For some hearing words of affirmation may be a nice but it may not be the main ingredient for connection. Words of affirmation can certainly take some practice if it is not a part of the way you naturally communicate with your partner. The more you look to affirm your partner, the better. If this is your partner’s love language you may even notice him or her leaning in more to you after you continue to build your partner up through words of affirmation. He or she may begin to feel more connected to you and more likely to try to look to fulfill your needs. As the Five Love Languages Blog Series continues I hope these tips will help you find more of what each of you needs to feel connected and loved. And, I’m always here to help navigate you through this process.
Chapman, G. (2010) The five love languages. The secret to love that lasts.