In the spirit of Valentine's Day, we reflect on those who we love, care for, support, and choose to do life with. As you think of how to express your love to someone during Valentine's season, (and every day!) you should consider learning your love language as well as your partner, friends, and even family members.
There are 5 love languages as outlined by Gary Chapman, which include physical touch, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, and receiving gifts.
Physical touch: For many, this might be what is immediately thought of when we think of showing affection. The connection in this language is the idea of letting the other person know you want to be close to them and are there for support. Examples of physical touch include: Hugging, kissing, massaging, holding hands, cuddling, etc.
Quality time: This language involves spending intentional time together and showing undivided attention to the other person. The idea behind quality time is that it isn’t just sitting together or one person on their phone, but putting effort into being actively engaged in being in the moment and setting aside distractions. Some ideas for quality time are going on a walk together, planning a trip together, doing an activity like pottery painting, or visiting a farmer’s market.
Words of Affirmation: This love language is based on verbally expressing supportive things to another person. This can go beyond saying things like “you are incredible” and “I love you,” and can involve highlighting physical or personality qualities that you love about your partner, complimenting them, or encouraging them. Examples of this kind of love language would be: “I appreciate it when you listen to me talk about my day” or “I am so proud of how you have excelled in your work.”
Acts of Service: Think of doing things that your partner would find helpful or considerate. The intention behind this love language is to choose actions that will help reduce stress for the other person. Actions could include cleaning up around the house/apartment, cooking a meal, driving them somewhere, and taking care of one another if you’re sick. Maybe you do something that is a daily chore to lighten their load or help to complete a task that has been weighing on their mind.
Receiving Gifts: This is more on the material aspect of affection and can show a great depth of thoughtfulness. Gift giving has many different options and can be something small to grand, with the intent of being selective and putting effort into choosing what is right for your person. You might give something they have been needing, something you know they love, or a gift basket of their favorite things.
Knowing your love language and your partner, family, or friends’ specific love languages can increase quality communication and help each other feel more seen and loved every day. Every person is different in the love languages that they specialize in giving and the ones they wish to receive. Discovering and communicating your love language, and finding out others’ love languages can greatly impact how you express your love to the people you care about most.