You may think this is a dumb question, but I challenge you to really think about it. Of course you know how to love, but do you know how to love someone the way the need to be loved? Maybe that is the real question. You see, we all have a way that we like to be loved. As a matter of fact, this is summarized very nicely in the book titled The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. In this book, Mr. Chapman identifies five love languages that can help identify the way a person wants to be loved. If you can identify the love language of the person you love, you can actually love them the way they want to be loved.
Let’s take a look at these now:
1. Words of Affirmation
This way of loving consists of using words to build the person you love up. This can be simple words of “thank you”, praising their accomplishments, or building up how great of a person they are. The person who needs this love language is uplifted by your words and feels a greater sense of love from you. They want to feel appreciated and words of affirmation can help them feel more loved by you.
Who doesn’t like to receive a gift? Very few, but for people who have Gifts as their love language…they feel especially loved by a gift. It says that you were thinking about them and makes them feel extremely important. A gift to a person who speaks this love language are affected on a whole different level than someone who doesn’t see gifts as an expression of love. To you, a gift may not mean a whole lot, but to a person who speaks this language of love, the gift is the truest expression for them.
3. Acts of Service
This love language involves doing something for the person you love, like washing dishes, vacuuming the carpets, or running errands for them. When you provide an act of service for them, they feel especially loved, more so than someone who doesn’t speak this as their love language. Imagine the hard working mother who shows her love by acts of service. Perhaps that is her love language and thus she shares her love that way.
4. Quality Time
Quality time is exactly what it sounds like. Spending special time together where you give that person your undivided attention. This means taking walks together, listening to them when they talk, and not being distracted by your phone or what is on TV. For someone who speaks this love language, they feel especially loved when you can just sit and talk with them, giving them your undivided attention.
5. Physical Touch
This is an easy one. It includes things like holding hands, pats on the shoulder or butt, hugs, kisses, and even sex. Any type of physical contact is what this person speaks. You can do a million things for them, but they feel most loved by a hug, kiss, or pat on the back. They need some form of physical touch to feel loved.
The thing to understand here is that we all speak a our own love language. If we can understand the love languages that significant others in our lives speak, then we can love them the way they like to be loved. For example, if my son speaks Physical Touch as his love language, I will hug him more and give him a pat on the back. This may not be my specific love language, but it is his, so I love him that way.
The trick is to identify the love language of the person you love and them love them the way they like to be loved. We all have a primary love language and some even have a secondary one as well. Once you identify the love language(s) of the person you love, just speak that language to them and your relationships will be more meaningful and loving.
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