Hi all! I hope you've been staying safe and well during this interesting time in our history <3
I wanted to write a blog post about love languages today! I think that they're interesting, they can help you grow in relationships, and understand people a little better than you might already.
So firstly...what is a love language??
A love language is a way that you give and express love. There are five categories of love languages, and we all have a preference/strength in specific love languages over others. Usually, there are one or two of them that are the most beneficial to you. Now, we all feel and express every one of these love languages, but it might mean more to one person if a specific love language is expressed over another. It's important to understand them because we each feel love and give love differently. If you know which love languages the person you're giving love to feels the most, you can specifically target that type of love towards them. Usually, doing this means a lot, and can come off that you care a lot about the person. This doesn't just apply to romantic relationships, this applies to everything. Friendships, parental relationships, and everything in-between. Now...let's actually talk about the love languages! These are in no specific order, nor is one more important than the other!
- Physical Touch-Many people, including myself, love to be touched. Whether that be hugged, patted on the back, or leaned on, touch is a way that many strongly feel connected. Personally, as having touch as one of my main love languages, it can be hard when I don't get my normal alloted hugs for the day. For me, being touched is important because I feel close to the person that I'm giving/receiving love to/from.
- Quality Time- Quality time is exactly what it sounds like...spending quality time with someone! They feel the most loved when they're hanging out with loved ones. People with quality time as one of their top love languages can feel very disconnected/unloved when they're not able to get time with people that they care about.
- Receiving Gifts-This is also one of my personal top love languages. I love to recieve gifts because I feel like the person that is giving me the gift really shows they care by the amount of detail/thought that they put into a present. It often sticks with me when people don't put that much effort into gifts, and vice versa.
- Acts of Service- This love language is shown through physically doing things for other people. For example, I know that my mom really loves when I clean up the kitchen for her. She feels thought about when she comes home and there's a clean kitchen waiting for her. By doing that, I know I've made her feel loved in a way that means a lot to her.
- Words of Affirmation-Many people also love verbal encouragement. By receiving words of affirmation, it allows them to feel loved, strong, and like their loved one cares about them. By sending your friend or loved one a quick text/message of affirmation/love, that could really mean a lot to them!
The love languages seem simple enough, right? Although they seem pretty straightforward, there's something that always seems to happen. We often express love in the way we love to RECEIVE love. These love languages seem natural to us, because they're what we've seen work for us our whole lives. With expressing your love language to someone else, it may seem like you're doing a ton for the other person, but they might not recognize the strength of what you're doing because they don't speak those love languages as strongly. In order to really maximize your expression of love for others, you need to learn THEIR love languages. So the next question is...how do you do that? How do you become fluent in a language that you've not spoken strongly before? Let's use the example of a verbal language such as Spanish. Let's say you've taken basic Spanish throughout your life, but you never really dug into SPEAKING that language. Maybe you've heard it spoken here and there, and you know basic vocabulary, but if I had a conversation with you, you might struggle through it a little bit. How do you get better at speaking Spanish? You have to practice it, right? It's no different than anything else. Love languages are the same way...so let's talk about how you can start practicing other love languages
Things you can do to take action:
Quality Time-Set up times that work well for both of you to hang out. Maybe you could agree to go on a different adventure every week, or simply set up a day to FaceTime. Face-to-face time is key. The person feels the most loved when you are with them, or they can see your face. By switching off who picks what you do, you can have fun together and make the friend feel loved. Maybe it’s once a week, or once every other week :)
Receiving Gifts-This goes from little to big. People who receive gifts often don’t need super super grand gifts all the time. A good example of this: my friend went to the store and found a little small trinket that made them think of me. They bought it and gave it to me. It doesn’t matter if it was $3, or $100, it just means a lot to me that they thought of me and got me this little gift. It could’ve been fifty cents, but it made my whole day. This could also go for making gifts too. You can find cute crafts to make, put together a cute collage of you two, or anything in-between.
Physical Touch-This one is pretty simple, it just involves touching the person! Try to incorporate hugs more, or maybe holding your friends hand. This could also involve leaning into their shoulder, or another act of touch! :)
Acts of Service-This can include many different things. Examples include: cleaning the kitchen, doing the laundry, cooking a meal, working with someone on an assignment, helping with a piece of work someone might be struggling with, or anything similar to that :)
Words of Affirmation- Send your loved one a text, letter, or stick a cute sticky note on their locker. Anything that communicates your words of love to them.
- Ask your loved one about what makes them feel special-Many people haven't heard of, or talked about love languages before. If you ask someone what their love language is, they could look at you a little funny and ask you what you're talking about. By asking what makes them feel loved, or special, you're able to get an idea of what love languages they speak the most strongly. If they say something like..."I love spending time with you and the family, and I really love when I recieve cool gifts," you can probably pinpoint quality time and receiving gifts. You could run through and ask them, "Do you really like to recieve gifts?" And check off what you think works best based on their responses! Sometimes you can't tell what means a lot to someone until you ask them. There are also quizzes you can take online to help you pinpoint your love language if you're still not sure. They're usually accurate, but like all quizzles, they're not 100% right :)
- Put that into action-By now, you've figured out how people give and express love...so it's time to start doing that! Some of these things might not be something you want to do. Maybe you really hate shopping for gifts and you've just figured out your loved ones main love language is receiving gifts. Find a way that makes it fun for you! Look on Pinterest, think of some of their interests, and create something really cool instead of going to the store. Although you might not have the most fun doing it, think of how much it'll mean to the other person when they open that gift! Say you just figured out that your best friend loves hugs. Find a way to sneak in a hug a day even if you're not the most huggy person in the world :) It'll mean so much to them if you try to incorporate what makes them feel special.
- Reap the results-By learning to speak other love languages, you not only strengthen your relationships, but you also are able to love someone how it is super important to them. By being aware about how people give/express love, it also allows you to go about loving people even better than you have before. I know that I've been disappointed when my friend didn't really appreciate the gift I've put hours into making. After thinking, I realized that gifts were not their primary love language, which meant I needed to shift and change how I expressed my love to that person. What means a lot to someone may not mean as much to someone else. Stay aware about how you express your love--it affects your relationship big time! If you're both expressing it in ways that's beneficial to you, you can often become even closer and feel even better about that relationship :)
If this is hard at first, don't get discouraged:) Love languages are awesome, but they can also be kind of confusing sometimes! If you want to dig even deeper into love languages; I highly recommend the book "The Five Love Languages," by Gary Chapman. I know he is Christian, but I do not remember if there is any "Christian content," in that book! I mainly read it to get a grip on love languages :) I also know it pertains to a specific "romantic relationship," but know that any of the tips in that book are applied to all relationships. I believe that it's free on audible, and it's sold on Amazon as well.
If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to PM!
Stay lovin' & remember that we all love you here at NMG! :)