Happy Valentine’s Day! Many consider February 14th “Single Awareness Day” or a Hallmark money making scam, but I’ve always seen Valentine’s Day as an excuse to spread some love – and I think we can all agree that the world needs a little more love.
Whether it’s for a family member, close friend or significant other, we all show love in different ways. In the book The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman argues that every person expresses and experiences love in one of five ways:
- Gift giving
- Quality time
- Words of affirmation
- Actions of service/devotion
- Physical touch
You can generally figure out someone’s love language without forcing them to take the online quiz by observing how they show their love to you. If their love language is quality time, they show love with attention – sharing quality conversation and quality activities together. If their love language is words of affirmation, words speak louder than actions. Hearing “I love you,” or kind, encouraging words is extremely important to them. If their love language is acts of service, love is shown through actions that ease the burden of your responsibilities – doing a chore for you, running an errand, etc. If their love language is physical touch, hugs, hand holding, and physical presence are crucial. Physical touch goes beyond sexual intimacy. If their love language is receiving gifts, they enjoy putting thought and effort into gifts or gestures – no matter how small.
Chapman suggests that people generally give love in the way they prefer to receive love. The problem, then, is that the people we’re trying to show affection to might not express their love the same way we do, which can leave people frustrated. If your spouse’s love language is acts of service, you might be better off helping them with a task they want to complete than spending a ton of money on chocolates and flowers this Valentine’s Day. It sounds corny, but learning to understand people’s love languages can help you form stronger relationships with the people you care about.