The Secret to Expressing Your Love

I had to chuckle at the posting of one of my Facebook friends this morning: “Happy Hallmark Holiday to you!” Regardless of Hallmark’s marketing, I like the idea of setting aside a day to intentionally express your love. And there’s no reason why you can’t do this every day. Think of the possibilities! Imagine what your life—and the world—would look like if we each did this every day. It wouldn’t take much to do it. But there is a secret to expressing your love so that your loved one actually gets the message!

The secret is to speak the emotional love language that your mate, child, parent or friend speaks. In my work as a personal development coach, I’ve seen many breakdowns occur in relationships when one partner is speaking the equivalent of Mandarin when the other partner speaks English. I use as a resource a brilliant book by Gary Chapman called The Five Love Languages. Chapman says different people express love in different ways, and distinguishes these five specific languages of love:

  1. Words of Affirmation – these can look like unsolicited compliments, expressions of love and appreciation—written or verbal. This is my primary love language. You can imagine the effect my sweetheart’s Valentine’s Day message had on me! He wrote: “Being with you is the best part of being me. I love you more and more each and every day!” I love him completely…and love the way he loves me!
  2. Quality Time – this means giving someone your undivided, totally focused attention. This means no distractions like television or sporting event in the background. This is my son’s love language. Now I understand why, when he was little, he just wanted me to sit with him and watch him play—I didn’t even have to play with him—just focus my time, energy and attention on him and what he was doing at the time.
  3. Receiving Gifts – this love language is not to be confused with plain, old materialism; it’s putting thought, love and effort in selecting a gift for your loved one. This has him or her feel known and cared for.
  4. Acts of Service – this is simply doing things you know your loved one would like you to do. It can be something as basic as taking out the trash, making dinner, walking the dog. But the power in the act of service comes when it’s done with love and a willing and positive spirit; not because you have to or else. This is my daughter’s love language…and even after many years of practicing it, I am still amazed at how little acts of service so positively impact her and our relationship.
  5. Physical Touch – this love language isn’t all about sex, although it is part of it. It also includes holding hands, hugging, kissing, stroking the face and other caring touches. This is my sweetie’s primary love language (followed by a close second in Words of Affirmation). I know that he feels most loved when I express it physically, but it’s important that I do it on his terms, or as Chapman says, when I speak his dialect. For example, some folks love getting back rubs or body massages. My honey isn’t fond of massage, so that’s not in my repertoire.

This is just a brief explanation of each of the love languages. I highly recommend the book. I’ve seen it transform relationships!

What’s your love language? Please write me a note below and let me know! And may you be loved fully!

6 comments to The Secret to Expressing Your Love

  • Larry Runser

    My wife Nadine and I have been married going in 46 years in June, we do everything together,shop,cook, chores,in fact we are both on our church board, we are not huggy, touchy feely type people, but just being there or knowing she is in the other room when I am doing my hobbies, or when she brings me hot chocolate and I get her tea and fruit in the morning and many other simple things like that is why we have Valentines day every day.

  • Larry, congratulations to you and Nadine for close to 46 years of marriage! I love hearing how you love each other. It sounds like your love languages might be acts of service and quality time. In any event, you have found a way for every day to be Valentine’s Day and that is to be celebrated!

    Thank you for sharing!

  • The love in my life (for now at least) is my 4.5 year old daughter with Stage 4 cancer. I am ordering the book…I want to love her in every “language” possible!

  • Michiko, that is so sweet! You are an extraordinary mother. I would also recommend Gary Chapman’s book called The Five Love Languages of Children. He also has versions for teenagers and singles.

    I continue to hold you and your daughter in my heart and prayers.

  • Ray Brown

    I can honestly say I know what it is like to be loved. Tracy and I never dated. I found out she didnt have a car and offered to drive her home then it was taking her grocery shopping. She was an artist, so I would watch her paint and she loved my photography. After 10 years she agreed to marrie me. If there was something she didnt feel like doing I would take over. We knew eachother very well when we did marry. I would love to come home from work and tell her “honey, your the preetiest girl i’ve seen all day” and I ment it. She always wanted her space when she slept so we bought a huge bed. We both loved to cook for eachother. I got the best of both worlds, to love a friend and to love a wife. She passed in 2008 from sueside, but I had 13 years of someone very special in my life and there are some people who never get that.

  • Leonard

    Thank you for sharing……I think I read this about two years ago…..but it hit me differently tonight…….words of affirmation for me seems to be most important in my past relationships…….whether I sent her an formal invitation to dinner and a sunset walk……or whether it was a note saying” I miss you” stuck in her suitcase that was found when she arrived at her hotel on a trip…..or just saying ” I love you and who I have become because you….or ” I feel whole when you are near me”……..the other four play a huge role also…..I truly get more satisfaction pleasing my partner than being pleased……I love me….

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