We all speak different languages. Even when we speak the same language.
“I’m good,” might, for one person, mean that they really are good right now. Happy, satisfied, enjoying life. For another person, it might mean that they really aren’t good. We’ve all had moments where we’ve taken things the wrong way, or just didn’t hear what the other person was saying. We all see things in our own unique way, and unless we take the other person’s language into account, misunderstanding and confusion drift in.
One of the most helpful things we can do in any relationship is learn the language of the person we’re communicating with. This is even more important in intimate relationships. Even in love, we all speak a different language. This might seem a bit bewildering at first, but the good news is that there are five basic love languages. Just by knowing how your lover shows their love (and how they receive it) can bring a new level of depth to the relationship. Here they are:
1. Words of Affirmation
It’s always nice to receive a sincere compliment. But for some of us, it’s essential to know that we’re loved. Words of affirmation are verbal compliments or spoken appreciation. Direct acknowledgement. Letting your sweetheart know they look good, that they’ve done well, or that you really value them. The most important thing is that the words are real. They have to be felt and meant. Your lover might know you love and appreciate them, but sometimes saying it out loud can make all the difference.
2. Acts of Service
“You say you love me, but you never take out the trash or do the dishes.” I’m betting that there are a few of you out there that have heard or said something like this before. Even in less domestic situations, we sometimes need to be shown love in more tangible ways than words. An act of service is personal; it means doing something you know your lover needs or appreciates. It can be something as simple as cooking a meal or doing something that needs to be done around the house. Doing something meaningful for your lover shows depth of care and a willingness to act upon it.
Some gifts are almost iconic as gestures of love. Just think of flowers, chocolates, and jewellery. But the gift doesn’t have to be expensive or take any particular form. Just like acts of service, gifts are best when they are personal, showing that you have taken the time to find out what your lover likes. And even when the gift is just a token, it’s still a little something that says, “I was thinking about you.” It extends beyond the physical gift into the time it takes to pick it up, and the opportunity to present it to your loved one. Not everyone is a gift-giver or a gift receiver, but for those who are, it speaks louder than words.
4. Quality Time
This is a big one in our hectic modern world. We all have more than a few demands on our time, and it fast becomes a precious commodity. But for some of us, nothing else means as much as being able to spend some time with our lover. And this means being present, mentally as well as physically. Giving the gift of attention and sharing the moment. A shared activity, a walk together, even a quiet meal without interruption can be enough to show your love. The key is to really be there, taking time aside from all the distractions of life to send time together.
5. Physical Touch
Touch is powerful. Healing. It communicates on a level that’s deeper than any other. This is one of the first ways that we learn to receive love, and it remains a strong symbol for our whole lives. For some of us, it’s the pinnacle of real expression. Intimacy, holding hands, kissing, the reassuring touch, or the gentle massage after a hard day. Touch comes in a thousand forms, and each has its own unique message. Sexual connection is part of this, but even a small touch can show tenderness and care. A light touch as you pass one another, or a brief kiss before parting can speak volumes. Touch doesn’t require much time or effort, but it does take a bit of thought, especially if it’s not your primary language of love. The key is that your feeling is passed along with the contact. Even brushing your fingertips lightly over your lover can have a world of meaning.
You’re probably already noticing that a few languages that speak louder for you than others. And, if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll be seeing some that speak louder to your lover as well. It’s beautiful to know how to speak your lover’s language, and give your love in the way they know how to receive it. And we sometimes have different languages for the giving and receiving. Keep this in mind, and it will help you to hear your love when they’re speaking a different language as well. Sharing on this level is deep, powerful, and one of the most fulfilling things we can do. It deepens our connection and gives new opportunities to express ourselves, to hear our lover and really be heard in return.