Walk into any variety store and it will be obvious that Valentine’s Day has become a commercial extravaganza. Red cards, boxes and candies are everywhere! Love is in the air, along with high expectations and, to be candid, a real possibility of disappointment if the message of love isn’t sent effectively.
Everyone has their own thoughts and feelings about Valentine’s Day. Some people are starry-eyed romantics, others are practical to the core and there are some people who would rather forget about it. But wherever you fall in that spectrum, you will probably want to express your love for someone at some time, even if it isn’t February 14th.
Psychologist and author Dr. Gary Chapman has published some of the most helpful information on the market today about what says “I love you” most effectively. His original book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts was a game-changer for many faltering relationships. He had discovered that there are five primary ways that people express love based upon what makes them feel loved.
Dr. Chapman offers the following definitions for the 5 Love Languages in the context of marriage:
Words of Affirmation – using words to build up the other person. “Thanks for taking out the garbage.” Not – “It’s about time you took the garbage out. The flies were going to carry it out for you.”
Gifts – a gift says, “He was thinking about me. Look what he got for me.”
Acts of Service – doing something for your spouse that you know they would like. Cooking a meal, washing dishes, vacuuming floors, are all acts of service.
Quality Time – by which I mean, giving your spouse your undivided attention. Taking a walk together or sitting on the couch with the TV off – talking and listening.
Physical Touch – holding hands, hugging, kissing and sexual intercourse are all expressions of love.
Out of these five, each of you has a primary love language which speaks more deeply to you than all the others. Discovering each other’s language and speaking it regularly is the best way to keep love alive in a marriage.
If you want to understand more clearly what speaks “love” to your spouse or others, e.g. children, teens, etc., Dr. Chapman offers a free online Love Language quiz. Check it out today, and there will still be time for you to say, “I love you” in a meaningful way to someone special today.
Live, Work & Relate Well!
Dr. Linaman is a psychologist and executive coach providing counseling and professional development services to individuals, couples, work teams and organizations.