Expressions of love — and hey this doesn’t only apply to romantic relationships — are ways of showing value and care for a person. There are many ways and each person tends to value, need, do, and recognize certain expressions of love more than others.
Here are the 5 expressions of love outlined in the popular book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman:
WORDS OF AFFIRMATION – Such as telling someone how nice they look, how well they did on something, how you think they are so strong or smart, or how great the dinner they made tastes.
QUALITY TIME – Spending time together, talking and listening to one another, doing activities together (especially activities that allow for interaction), taking a walk together are ways of showing your value and care for someone.
GIFTS – Giving a gift to someone is a way to show that you care for someone and were thinking about them even when they were not with you. Receiving gifts, likewise, is meaningful to people because it sends a message that they are loved and cared about.
ACTS OF SERVICE – Helping someone by doing something for them is a way to express your care and value for the person. It is especially meaningful when done with a cheerful attitude because the cheerful attitude expresses that you really WANT to help the person because you really care about the person’s well-being and happiness. Driving someone when they need a ride, repairing a broken down car for someone, making them dinner, loaning or giving money, washing the dishes, doing yard work, vacuuming, and babysitting for them are all examples of showing love through acts of service.
PHYSICAL TOUCH – Showing that you care about a person and that walls are down between you can be done through physical touch. Giving a massage, a hug, or patting or rubbing their back are some examples of showing your care about a person through physical touch.
Sometimes there is a disconnect or miscommunication of love when two people have two different love language preferences.
Let’s say you really feel loved & show love through WORDS OF AFFIRMATION but your partner really feels loved & shows love through ACTS OF SERVICE. You might feel like you aren’t loved because your partner doesn’t say much about how they feel about you. Meanwhile, your partner is busting his butt mowing the lawn for you, fixing the car for you, taking out the trash for you, clearing the table for you, and he’s doing all this thinking he is showing you love. He wants to express his love and is doing it how he knows to do it. The important thing to know is that he does love you and is just communicating it a different way than you do.
Or let’s say your partner is a GIFTS GUY. He gets you gifts because that’s his love language. He in turn will most clearly recognize that you love him when you appreciate his gifts and get him gifts too.
We can all benefit from understanding the concept that there are different ways to express love and we need to be on the lookout for how people are expressing love and we can in turn show them love in their own love language to make sure our love is clearly communicated to them.