If you have someone special you want to show love to this Valentine’s Day, consider their Language of Love (Gary Chapman, Five Languages of Love). It’s a simple concept, but not one we often pay attention to on a regular basis with our loved ones.
We all have a little of each of these languages, but most likely you have a dominant one. Let me first explain the languages, then give you some examples and ideas.
The easy way for me to remember the five languages is Tell me, Touch me, Show me and Show me has three types.
Jack is a “Quality Time” guy. So, if I fly in the airplane with him, go to the (Indianapolis 500) races with him, or work on some project building something, then he feels I really love him. I do love him but I may have other things I would prefer to do… but I know that doing what he loves while spending time with me feels like love to him!
I am an “Acts of Service” gal. Before I understood the languages of love, I was delivering act of service upon act of service to Jack and he didn’t notice, nor appreciate what I had done. I felt so under-loved! I rearranged his pantry, purchased new curtains and hung them and even bought an oil painting he had admired (that’s a gift though). He could have cared less. You see, If you deliver love in your love language it may be ineffective. It has to be THEIR language. Once Jack recognized how much I love my children and grand children and he would offer to help them (act of service), or that I needed something particular built and didn’t know how to do it but he did…he realized that was an act of service! And I love him back for just doing these things!
Once when I was speaking to a group, I was describing these love languages. I told them I wasn’t that big on gifts and conveyed that verbal compliments just rolled off my back as platitudes. I explained (as an example) that I much preferred Acts of Service. At the end of the speech, they delicately brought out a potted plant as a gift of appreciation. We all had a laugh and of course I accepted the plant graciously!
So what do we do as love gestures for each of these languages? First, try to assess your love languages. There is a brief quiz on love languages online. Once you complete the quiz, as a couple, discuss the results and laugh over past times. Assessments don’t just have to be for partners, but also they work for children. Discuss these languages with children to better understand each other and how to be effective in communicating.
Tell me people really like love letters outlining special times you have had together. For children that may take the form of lunch box notes or messages left on their pillows. Of course ongoing verbal affirmations is their primary language.
Touch me people love a caress, a hand on the knee, a peck on the neck, a little longer cuddle, or being helped into their robe or coat.
For Show me – Quality time people, think about what they enjoy. Is it watching old movies, bowling, taking a drive, building something together, eating out? Then package up that “something” with a gift certificate to do just that. If your favorite things are antiquing, riding horses, and baking but these are NOT their favorites, that is not a quality time gift for them.
Show me – Gift people seem the easiest to me. Chocolate and flowers work but also things they drop hints about. I did see a list of the 10 worst things to give your spouse which included vacuum cleaners, gym memberships, and new socks. So give with the person you love in mind, not their bad habits or what you think they need!
Now what do we Acts of Service people want as a love gesture? Part of the problem is we want it without having to ask for it and we don’t need you to gloat after doing it (“See I folded the clothes in the dryer!”) Granted, these are difficult to come up with. Here are some suggestions, however…wash the car, take on a chore they hate, help them with a project they are working on, any household chores not already ”assigned” to you, clean up after dinner, put away the dishes, make a music playlist, have lunch delivered, clean up an area of the house that is driving them nuts, help without being asked, handle travel logistics, start their car to warm up, toss their towel in the dryer ready for when they get out of the shower (I love that one!)
Happy sweetheart’s day!