With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I wanted to share one of the most powerful and meaningful explanations on love that I have found to be true.
In his book, The Five Love Languages,1 author Gary Chapman describes five of the main ways love is communicated—through words, touch, receiving gifts, acts of service, or one-on-one time. We experience love in several ways, but by conveying our love to someone in the language they use, love is better communicated.
However, if we understand love and express it one way, and our partner understands and expresses love differently, our message may not be received with its true intention. It could feel like we are talking to each other in two different languages. For example, if our spouse expresses love through service (cleaning the house), and our love is predominantly expressed through words (saying I love you), then we might see the action of cleaning the house simply as performing a chore and not an act of love. By understanding the different ways love is communicated, mutual affection grows.
Giving love comes down to what we value. We tend to give others what we ourselves want in return. This applies to all our relationships, from friends and family to colleagues at work. If a co-worker brings cookies to work, then the act of service or gift-giving may be her way of feeling love. If a friend wants to chat over coffee, then one-on-one time may be his way to convey friendship. These acts give us insight on how someone feels love, thereby allowing us to interact more effectively.
It is important to recognize the many ways love shows itself. By learning the different love languages, we can become better communicators in our daily life. This is one of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves and others.
Happy Valentine’s (Or Galantine’s) Day! May your day be filled with much love, including the most important, self-love.