Are you familiar with the five love languages? Today’s post is in honor of those of you (and your loved ones) who enjoy giving and receiving words of affirmation. If there’s someone close to you who responds particularly well to praise, compliments, thanks, or other positive commentary, delight them with something that sounds like music to their ears.
“And in the end, we were all just humans, drunk on the idea that love, only love, could heal our brokenness.” — Christopher Poindexter
Improving our relationships often begins with a little self-reflection. What do we need, and what do we look for, to feel loved and supported? From there, we can better grasp how our expectations might have masked the needs of others.
This idea is at the core of something you may have heard about: love languages.
The 5 Love Languages is the work of Dr. Gary Chapman and his commonsense approach to relationships. Through his marriage counseling, conferences, and books, Gary has helped countless couples and singles more effectively communicate love.
In a nutshell, we tend to give and receive love in different ways, and we respond best to particular ways. What might be an effort to communicate love by one person may not be received as well as intended if the recipient doesn’t “speak” the same love language.
We don’t need to be in an intimate relationship to communicate love; we can offer love in a variety of ways to every single person we know.
The five love languages are as follows:
- Quality time
- Physical touch
- Words of affirmation
- Acts of service
- Receiving gifts
Take this quiz to discover your primary love language and the languages of those you love. Though we all appreciate all five love languages, we’re more “fluent” in one or two.
To identify your love language, you can also ask yourself the following questions:
- “How do I typically express love and appreciation to other people?”
- “What do I complain about most often?”
- “What do I request of people most often?”
Here’s an example: You constantly shower your loved one with gifts, but there’s a disconnect somewhere. Receiving gifts isn’t their primary love language, but it’s yours. They’d rather hear some positive words of affirmation—a compliment, a thank you—instead. Knowing this, you can speak their language more clearly. If you’re both aware, your relationship will be marked by less frustration and deeper connection.Relationships thrive when we can give and receive with deep awareness and appreciation. Click To Tweet
If your loved one lights up when they receive words of praise or appreciation, words of affirmation might be their love language. (Again, it’s helpful to take the quiz, or have the other person complete it. It’s most helpful if everyone takes it!).
When you begin to speak the love lanaguage of the other person, it’s only natural that the emotional climate of your relationship improves… maybe dramatically. You’re pretty powerful, I’d like to add.
To help you out, here are some sample words of appreciation, encouragement, empathy, and admiration to formulate your next spoken (or written) gift. Play with wording so that the phrase works for you, and add your personal explanations. This is just inspiration for your loving explorations.
Hint: Be sincere in your message and also explain the reasons why. If you say “I love you,” follow that up with “because…” What are you thankful for specifically? Make it as thoughtful as possible; the energy of your words will not be lost on the other person. You’re speaking their language after all.
Sample Words of Affirmation to Help You Communicate Love More Effectively
Words of appreciation
“Thank you for being a positive role model by…”
“Thank you for making my mornings easier and my days more worthwhile. I love knowing that I have you in my corner.”
“You are my best friend. You encourage me when I’m doubtful and inspire me to be my best self.”
“I really appreciated it when you helped me out with…”
“I am blessed to work/live/be with you, because…”
“You make my life easier every time you…”How sweet a simple “thank you” can be, and how quickly it can sow joy. Click To Tweet
Words of admiration
“Your work ethic inspires me to do my best work.”
“I really admire your cheerful attitude. It’s so nice to be around your positive energy and smiling face.”
“You care so much about the quality of what you do. I love how you pay such close attention to…”
“You are courageous because you are genuinely yourself, which isn’t always easy. I admire your authenticity and the ways you stay true to yourself by…”
“It impressed me when you…”We mustn't forget that people are miracles, too. Click To Tweet
Words of empathy
“I know how tough things have been lately, and I want you to know that the way you’re handling ________ is so inspiring to me.”
“I don’t know everything about what you’re going through, but I’d like to understand a little better if you’re willing to have me listen.”
“It must be really challenging when you have to…”
“I just want you to know that I honor what you’re going through right now. I am here for you.”
“I know you feel broken right now, but I think you are brave and strong because…”Empathy is not a burden. The price may be high, but the reward is great: deep connection. Click To Tweet
Words of encouragement
“I am so proud of all that you’ve accomplished, such as… and I’m excited for what you’ve yet to accomplish.”
“You are making a difference, in the lives of others and in my life. You help me…”
“I can see you coming out of this struggle with renewed light and passion. You’re a shining example to everyone who knows you. You’re a beacon of hope for everyone who is going through this or will go through this.”
“I believe in you (and what’s possible for you) because…”
“I know you’re capable of great things because…”“I believe in you.” Words that water flowers. — Michael Faudet Click To Tweet
Words of acknowledgement
“You look radiant and full of life today.”
“I really love how I feel when I’m around you. Your energy is magnetic and feels…”
“It makes me so happy to see you following your dreams. You’re a source of encouragement to me every time you…”
“I couldn’t help but notice how you…”
“You were so creative when you…”
“I respect you for…”“People start to heal the moment they feel heard.” —Cheryl Richardson Click To Tweet
My primary love language is quality time followed by physical touch and words of affirmation.
- What is your love language? How do you most enjoy connecting with others?
- What was the last unsolicited compliment you gave? Received? How did it feel to give/receive?
Please share your thoughts, anyhing you’d add to this collection, any kinks in your relationship you were able to smooth out by understanding your love lanaguage(s), and helpful stories with me in the comments.
If your love language is words of affirmation, give them a hint and send this post to someone you love! Remember that it takes thoughtful conversation and loving feedback to practice speaking each other’s love language. Be patient and curious.
I believe that giving and receiving love is meant to feel good. Love feels good. If a relationship feels like it could feel better, always look to love for the answer.