How to Express Love
Did you know that people have different ways of expressing love? Probably. Did you also know that people don’t feel loved unless you express your love in a way they understand?
We all need love to flourish. You may be a monk, living in solitude, focusing only on self-love. However, most of us have personal relationships. Friends, family, lovers and co-workers. All of them want to feel loved, or at the the very least, appreciated by us.
Sometimes you hear people say: “I don’t feel like so-or-so loves me anymore,” yet if you ask the other person, they think it’s obvious they love them. Why is that?
Most likely because some needs have been left unfulfilled. We have ideas about what a person should be doing if they love us. Sometimes we aren’t even aware of those ideas ourselves. We just feel loved, or we don’t feel loved. We don’t necessarily know why.
Gary Chapman wrote The Five Love Languages many years ago. I still remember reading it and being completely mesmerized by what I learned. I’d just come out of a relationship where I couldn’t figure out why I hadn’t enjoyed the relationship that much. Because technically there hadn’t been anything that wrong. But I had felt unfulfilled because I hadn’t been loved in a way that I understood. Now, that’s not to say there weren’t other things wrong with that relationship, but this was definitively one of them. And reading the book, I felt confident that there was a ay of creating great relationships. It gave me hope.
Below are the five love languages Gary Chapman came up with when working with couples; ways in which people love and feel loved.
Acts of Service
Ever felt good when someone offered to mow your lawn, do the dishes, or help you with homework? They performed an act of service for you. They gave their time to a task just so as to help you. That’s one way of showing love for you.
Words of Affirmation
When we first meet someone, it’s natural to compliment them. We tell them what we like about them. It’s that first, magical, part of romance. Then, as time wears on, we think they know what we like about them. Maybe they do, but that doesn’t mean the don’t need to hear it.
When someone does something you like, whether it’s showing they’re a good human being by volunteering, or doing something that drives you crazy in bed, compliment them. When they look sexy, or cute, tell them. When you enjoy what they are wearing, tell them. When they do something that impresses you, tell them. In general, tell them about the good traits and looks they have that you enjoy, as well as the tasks they do that you enjoy/are impressed by.
For some people, a gift is a sign of love. It could be a homebred cookie, it could be a diamond, or a single red rose. It could be a shell you found on the beach, or a box of chocolate pralines. What people desire is different, but as a general rule, the gifting itself is important. And the fact that you stopped long enough to ponder what they may like.
You sit next to each other watching movies, you sleep next to each other, you have breakfast next to each other, you clean the house next to each other, you go shopping next to each other…but do you actually spend quality time together? Doing something together that you both enjoy, or having meaningful conversations? For many people, to feel loved, they need to know you set quality time aside for them.
It could be holding hands, it could be hugging, it could be having sex. For some physical touch is the biggest sign you love them. They need to be close to you to feel loved.
While most people have one, or two, love languages they prefer over all others, some have no preference for one, over another. They need a little bit of everything to feel loved. The truth is, we all need a little bit of everything, but some need more of one thing.