It has been written time and time again that love is universal. You feel it, you see it, and in some ways, love makes the world turn. That being said, how to communicate that love can differ greatly from person to person, such that at times it almost takes a translation codebook to figure it out.
I read there are five different and unique languages of love that transcend national boundaries. The languages exist and are the means of unimaginable connections between two people. They are both the support and the underlying reasons behind words like “chemistry” or “spark” or “desire” that become the glue that binds us together. Love is not a trend or fad, but rather a basic human need for surviving in this world. So, if like most people, you have experienced but never given much thought to “love languages,” here is a basic primer to get you started.
Words of Affirmation
Let’s be honest; who among us doesn’t like a sincere compliment? For people who speak this particular language, words like beautiful or handsome mean the world to them when those complimentary words are applied to them. Be it a sparkling smile, or dazzling good looks, or just being noticed for being well-dressed, these words of affirmation are the core reason those who love compliments light up when exposed to flattery. A basic and sincere “Wow, you look marvelous” can make the difference between a good evening and a great one.
Deeds of Service
Cut the grass, do the dishes or the laundry—shall I continue? The daily household chores that please this person are a big deal to them. This person lives by the mantra “actions speak louder than words” and they will absolutely melt if their partner shares, or God forbid, takes over these responsibilities occasionally. Being practical, they relish working together with their partner to get things done; one dish, one laundry load, and one grass cutting at a time.
Many people are familiar with this language type. It is one of flowers, cards, chocolates, jewelry, any and all kinds of material goods. The person who communicates with this language simply loves being showered with boxes and boxes of wonderfully wrapped gifts. Now don’t make a mistake; the true form of this language values the idea, they value the thought more than the thing. Receiving that thoughtful gift reassures them that their partner really loves and cherishes them. Birthdays and holidays are perfect times to surprise these romantic souls with carefully picked sentimental gifts designed to complement the seasonal mood.
Possibly the most popular form of expressing love and affection— touch—is synonymous with warmth, closeness, and intimacy. Cuddling, hugs, and kisses remain part of this vocabulary because they make people feel safe and cherished. Who doesn’t appreciate touch after a long day of hard work? A person who feels the most love through touch will only want to come home to one thing; not a gift, not a kind word, but rather to their lover’s arms. A safe haven in human form, they enjoy this moment of bliss and release from reality with their partner. For this person, it is crucial to protect those quiet moments for physical support as it ensures their ability to thrive.
We have all heard of quality time and those who crave it are no exception. The difference is that this person lives for it. It is their language. Be it a day in the park, strolling down town, or exploring some interesting city on vacation, the very act of giving them your time (something they regard as precious) fills their heart with near overwhelming joy. For them, it’s all about the journey and not the destination; growing, developing, building each other and their relationship to the one they desire the most.
Most people use a combination of two or three of these languages, occasionally all from time to time, to express our feelings for another person. There is no better, or best language to express love because it is our unique combination of desires that makes us who we are. Decoding your partners own individual language combination is key. Once accomplished, you can speak to them in the language or languages they understand, and you are better situated to explain you own to them.
As I have heard it said, “A word to the wise should be sufficient.” We all want and need to be loved, just not always in the same way.
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Frank Hopkins is a life coach in Baton Rouge who is certified as a Professional Coach (CPC) by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). Frank has helped numerous people to go through emotional change in a way that is positively transformative.