Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages has been a huge help to so many, helping us all discover the languages of Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch.
Here’s a list of five simple ways to communicate in each of these universal languages, and what to be aware of as you do:
- Speak life. Let the people in your life know they are loved and appreciated. Take the time to encourage and affirm them. Listen to what they have to say and speak to them based on the words coming from their heart. If this is their top love language…say everything- a LOT. Make sure you are telling them often not just that they mean a lot to you, but why they do. Don’t just tell them you love them, tell them things you love about them. Describe your feelings when saying “thank you”. Use lots of descriptives when talking to something who ranks high in words of affirmation!
Practical ways to speak life: Cards, notes, text messages, letters
- Be kind. Go out of your way to do nice things for the people in your life. Hold the door open, wash the dishes, give a foot rub, and generally be available to help in the everyday with things that will make the lives easier of the people you love. If this is their top love language…make sure you’re not lacking follow-through. If you say you’re going to help with something, be sure to help, consistently. Give acts of service without being asked- this is very important to the person who receives love this way. Someone who ranks high in acts of service sees helpful, cement acts as love in action- and nothing else says “I love you” to them the way actually doing things with and for them does.
Practical ways to be kind: Performing a chore, making a meal, cleaning a car (all without being asked)
- Go out of your way to bring joy to someone else’s day. Who doesn’t enjoy getting little gifts now and again? Find little ways to bless the people in your life- whether by bringing coffee or breakfast to the office for your coworkers, flowers to your mom, a gift card for your dad, or a personalized gift for your spouse. If this is their top love language…make gift-giving a top priority. Someone who ranks high in receiving gifts can feel a bit taken for granted when they keep speaking their language (by giving gifts) and don’t see their loved ones acting in kind. Be aware that it isn’t about how big the gift is (although this may not be as true with birthdays and anniversaries), as much as it is about the fact that you know how to buy a gift they will like and you are willing to spend the money & time to get it and give it to them.
Practical ways to bring joy to someone else’s day: Gift card, present, coffee, flowers, book, that thing they’ve been wanting
- Spend time doing something meaningful. One of the universal ways many people feel loved is by knowing someone else takes the time to do things that interest them. Put away your phone (unless it’s required for the activity) and spend intentional time with your loved ones doing things that mean something to them. This might be as simple as watching a movie or taking a walk and as complex as going to a museum or gun show. If this is their top love language…your attitude will matter more than it already would. If you’re spending time with them and you don’t seem happy, it won’t mean nearly as much as it would otherwise. Be sure that you aren’t spending more quality time with someone else other than your spouse, if this is their love language. Be sure to be “all there” and give them your undivided attention.
Practical ways to spend time: Create a “day out” or “day in” itinerary, go on a coffee date, go on a weekend getaway, eat a meal at a quiet table together (all one-on-one)
- Share the love. A hug, a high-five, and any kind of physical act of affection mean a lot to most people. As you discover how your loved ones want to be loved on and find the appropriate balance for your relationship, find non-verbal ways to show affection to the people in your life. If this is their top love language…it’s important to recognize that these people usually feel like they need hugs the way they need air. A bear hug, deep kiss, or warm embrace probably means more to them than any of the other above-mentioned actions. Holding hands, spontaneously hugging, and taking any sort of initiative to show affection (and receive affection) physically means a great deal to anyone with this language.
Practical ways to share the love: Hugs, kisses, hand-holding, stroking one’s hair
What are some ways you love to be shown love? Comment below!
Not sure which love language you speak? You can find how your love languages rank here.