Loving someone is hard, but not knowing how to love them is even harder. Figuring out your love language is a perfect way to help strengthen your relationships!! To learn how to love someone you have to understand the five different types of love; Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Quality Time, Acts of Service, and Receiving Gifts. After taking a short quiz, my love languages were Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. Learning and understanding these love languages will better your relationships with other people and with yourself.
1. Words of Affirmation
Everyone loves a good compliment but did you ever think that it could be a way someone wants to be loved? Words of Affirmation is the expression of love through words such as; "I love your dress" or "You always make me feel better". Most words of affirmation do not have to be long-winded phrases or paragraphs, they can be as simple as an "I love you" or even a "thank you". For me, simple words of appreciation, a compliment of my hard work or even "I was thinking of you today." is something I cherish in my platonic and romantic relationships. People may believe that you are being conceded or vain, but contrary to belief it is something in which we like. If this is your love language, you should speak positive words upon your life because it could change your entire day. Also, keep in mind that this can negatively affect your life as well!! Hurtful words or bad compliments can take a toll on a person with this love language so you will have to be cautious. You don't have to wait for others to validate you when you can show yourself the same love and affection.
2. Physical Touch
For this person, physical touch is important to them when it comes to the ones that they love. Now physical touch doesn't mean that they have to be all over each other 24/7, but it does mean that they feel more affectionate towards their partner or likes to receive affection. People who love physical touch love intimacy; there are various levels for intimacy. Physically, intimacy can mean holding hands, kissing, hugging, or even intercourse. This might be hard for people who are around others that don't crave physical touch. For me, the idea of holding hands and hugging is nice but I personally like having my own space and not being cuddled up every second. My boyfriend, on the other hand, is the complete opposite and loves physical touch. Because of this, we have to have a balance between each other out. We would lay with each other but he knows when its too much for me to handle. But I also know that I have to give in sometimes because he wants to feel loved as well. Physical touch can be a hard thing for relationships because the idea of someone in your space is overwhelming. To help with this, see how you can give your friend, partner, or relative physical touch without it interfering with your bubble (holding hands and back scratches are a perfect way to keep your distance but still be intimate.)
For this specific love language, it requires your attention... your undivided attention. In today's society people it seems as if people can't live without their smartphones, social media or any other use of technology. I frequently see couples going out to restaurants with both individuals staring at their phone which means they are losing the valuable time with the person they are with (I am guilty of this myself). We often think that time is not important because there will always be a tomorrow... until there isn't. I do not think that my love language is quality time but I do believe in undivided attention with the person I am with. One example of this is when my boyfriend plays a video game!! I usually give my significant other space to have his "man time" and don't get upset when he decides to play the game (for what seems like five million hours) but when it distracts him from conversations or spending time with me then it becomes a problem. Canceling plans, spacing out or being distracted can be a huge problem if the other person's love language is quality time. Take time out of your day and dedicate it to them without your cellphones or daydreams. For some, it might mean sitting on the couch watching a movie, for others, it might mean going out on adventures or just relaxing in the house.
4.Acts of Service
Have you ever came home from a long day of work or school and someone has done the dishes, cooked you dinner, or even made up the bed? People whose love language is acts of service lives for this lifestyle. Their daily mantra is "Actions speak louder than words" which they have hanging on their bathroom mirror reminding themselves of it. This love language is catered to pleasing the other person through actions, related to something that they would like. Some of these examples include taking out the trash, putting the cap back on the toothpaste tube, or even picking them up flowers when you know they've had a long day. For this, you would have to know your partner's interest, style, and taste which includes time and effort. It is typical for couples to give each other gifts on Valentine's day so I wouldn't necessarily call my experience an Act of Service, but I did find it pleasing to know that my boyfriend custom made a picture frame with my favorite bible verse on it. I didn't realize this until he pointed it out to me. I would have been fine with a regular picture frame, but the fact that he went out of his way to customize it to my liking showed me that he was paying attention. Little gestures like that can brighten someone who is shown love through actions.
This oftentimes gets mistaken for people being into materialistic or superficial things within relationships but for this love language that is not necessarily the case. Receiving gifts from other people does not always have to be a bad thing... the gifts do not have to be extravagant or extraordinary either but rather easily accessible and cheap with a thoughtful touch. Buying them a cup of coffee when they are stressed, their favorite movie on DVD or even a book they have been talking about for months is a great way to treat your significant other's love language. Receiving gifts could be confused with the love language of acts of service; however, acts of service is simply doing something to help ease the stress and workload off of the other person but receiving gifts means buying them something that would please them. Gift buying doesn't have to be a frequent occasion nor does it have to be an object. A nice getaway after a long week or taking them to visit or relative or a friend could be considered gifts. Whatever the gift may be, don't forget to make it personal! It is typical for couples to give each other gifts on Valentine's day so I wouldn't necessarily call my experience unordinary, but I did find it pleasing to know that my boyfriend custom made a picture frame with my favorite bible verse on it. I would have been fine with a regular picture frame, but the fact that he went out of his way to customize it to my liking showed me his effort. Little gestures can go a long way to someone who is shown love through gifts.
Realizing that these five love languages exist made it easier for me to communicate with others to understand their needs to be loved. Knowing that one of my friend's language is words of affirmation I tend to send her 'pick me up' text to her that I am thinking about her. My sister loves receiving gifts, so every now and then when I'm out and see something that she needs or likes I get it for her. When push comes to shove, I hope that you can gain something from understanding love languages and can improve your relationships from here on out.