How Do You Show Love?

We all give and receive love differently. This makes connecting with a partner, friend or family member with a different love language challenging if we do not realize what our different love languages are. In 1992, Gary Chapman wrote The Five Love Languages: How To Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate,  where he outlines each form that we can give or receive love and affection from meaningful people in our lives. You can have more than one love language and most likely identify with each, however we all express love primarily through one of the five languages of love below. By understanding our love language and that of those around us, we can begin to develop a map of how to enhance or maintain our connection to important people in our lives. 

1. Quality Time.

People with this love language give and show love by simply spending time around people they care about. The activity is not necessarily important as long as it has meaning and they receive their loved one’s undivided attention. 

2. Words of Affirmation.

People who resonate with words of affirmation display and receive love through words and verbal validation. Anything from notes, loving texts or verbal appreciation during a conversation mean the most to individuals who value words of affirmation. 

3. Acts of Service.

Others understand love as actions for those they care about. This can be anything from helping with chores to preparing a meal. The love is in the act of doing for someone else. 

4. Physical Touch.

Physical touch can be anything related to physical intimacy. Those who express love through physical touch want to be physically close to the ones they love and be affectionate physically. 

5. Gifts.

Finally, others express love through gift giving or gift receiving. For individuals with this love language, gifts are tokens that they are present in their loved one’s hearts and minds. 

What Does It Mean?

Not all people who are close have the same love language. It is possible for individuals in a relationship to express and receive love differently than their partners which is why it is imperative to acknowledge and participate in each partner’s love language so each person’s needs are acknowledged and validated in order to sustain a lasting relationship. This is part of the natural give and take of every healthy, meaningful relationship. It takes time and attention to become aware of our love language and that of those in our lives to enhance and maintain our connection to our loved ones. If you feel you are struggling with feeling connected to those in your life, please call our office so we can explore ways for you to navigate the path of felt connection.

By Marissa Ahern, LMSW