Valentine's Day 101: The Love Language Connection
1/9/2013 12:17:00 PM
Valentine’s Day. Do you celebrate or wish your boo a happy one and keep it pushing?
I have never been a huge Valentine’s Day junkie. Flowers die. I bake all the time so cookies and candies aren’t a biggie. Not a huge jewelry wearer. For me, I am pretty simple. A good dinner and cute shoes does me fine. But I am not alone in the whole gifting of V Day.
Kahnoodle, an ap that let’s you give your boo love kudos and keep things fresh, did a survey on what men and women want for the day of love. To many folks surprise - gifts are very low on the list for both (fewer than two percent of women and zero percent of men want them). What about verbal love? 4.9 percent of women and 6.7 percent of men prefer it. Most women (42.7 percent) want an affectionate touch, then thoughtful acts (24.4 percent) and quality time (17.5 percent). For men, affectionate touch was number one (51.6 percent) followed by… sex (12.5 percent).
But before you skip the mall, know your boos love language.
Remember the book by Gary Chapman, “The Five Love Languages”, was the craze a while back? Though meant for married couples, I say even dating you need to read this. That way, you prepare yourself for if you decide to marry but in the meantime, it makes your dating smoother. When we know our expectations, we can express them. And from this book, you even learn how to be a better giver of love that fits your mates personality. This survey and a recent convo got me thinking about the book. My friend told me her husband expresses his love by giving gifts. Then I thought about it myself. I like gifts, but I need emotional support, you know? So as you gear up for a year of love, new love and even Valentine’s Day, what exporesses love for you? What love language do you speak? Personality Café reminds us of the five languages:
Words of Affirmation
Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten. Verbal compliments or words of appreciation are powerful communicators of love. Encouraging means “to inspire courage”. All of us have areas in which we feel insecure. We lack courage, which often hinders us from accomplishing the positive things that we would like to do. Perhaps you or your spouse has untapped potential in one or more areas of life. That potential may be awaiting encouraging words from you or from him. Then there are kind as well as humble words. Love makes requests, not demands. If we make our needs known in the form of a request, we’re giving guidance, not ultimatums. If this is your partner’s love language: Set a goal to give your spouse or mate a different compliment each day for a month.
In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. This means giving someone your undivided attention. The love language of quality time has many dialects. One of the most common is that of quality conversation – two individuals sharing their thoughts and feelings. A relationship calls for sympathetic listening with a view to understanding the other person’s desires. We must be willing to give advice, but only when it’s requested and never in a condescending manner. Maintain eye contact when your mate is talking and don’t do something else at the same time. Observe body language and refuse to interrupt. Such interruptions indicate, “I don’t care what you are saying; listen to me.” Quality conversation also calls for self-revelation. In order for your partner to feel loved, you must reveal some of yourself, too. If this is your partner’s love language: Ask your partner for a list of five activities that he’d enjoy doing with you. Make plans to do one of them each month for the next five months.
Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures. All five love languages challenge us to give to our loved one but for some, receiving gifts, visible symbols of love, speaks the loudest. A gift is something you can hold in your hand and say, “Look, he was thinking of me,” or, “She remembered me.” A gift is a symbol of that thought. Gifts come in all sizes, colors and shapes. Some are expensive and others are free. To the individual whose primary love language is receiving gifts, the cost will matter little. There is also an intangible gift that can speak more loudly than something that can be held in one’s hand. Physical presence in the time of crisis is the most powerful gift you can give. If this is your partner’s love language: Keep a “gift idea” notebook. Every time you hear your mate say, “I really like that,” write it down. Select gifts you feel comfortable purchasing, making or finding, and don’t wait for a special occasion. Becoming a proficient gift giver is an easy language to learn.
Acts of Service
Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter. People who speak this love language seek to please their partners by serving them; to express their love for them by doing things for them. Actions such as cooking a meal, setting a table, washing the dishes, sorting the bills, walking the dog or dealing with landlords are all acts of service. They require thought, planning, time, effort and energy. If done with a positive spirit, they are indeed expressions of love. If this is your partner’s love language: What one act of service has your spouse nagged you about consistently? Why not decide to see the nag as a tag? Your spouse is tagging this particular task as a really important thing to him or her.
This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive. “Love touches” don’t take much time, but they do require a little thought, especially if this isn’t your primary love language or you didn’t grow up in a “touching” family. Sitting close to each other as you watch TV requires no additional time, but communicates your love loudly. Touching each other when you leave the house and when you return may involve only a brief kiss, but speaks volumes.
As we love to love, knowing our own as well as our partner’s love language helps our intimacy. So before you get the Hallmark card, make sure you know your expression of love is hitting the right spot – by speaking the right love language.