Are you a Romantic and so you’ve been making plans all month for this Valentine’s Day? If you aren’t, you might be someone who struggles to “get it right” for your Sweetheart?
It’s almost Valentine’s Day and the biggest question on the minds of those with a romantic streak is “how can I make this year really special?”. It’s a conversation that many in our culture have with themselves and it’s a conversation that is definitely driven by our constant infusion of media and advertising.
In the name of expressing our love and devotion, we are encouraged to make purchases that will be approved of and appreciated by the one that we love.
What if you decided to get CREATIVE with non-purchased gifts? What if you gave some of your time and created a higher level of intimacy with each other – just you two? How about a quiet dinner or a walk in the park or on the beach? It could even be a “night in” with all social media turned off, just watching a movie together? Even a beautiful card with well-written words that express your feelings?
Knowing how your partner or sweetheart is wired is a good way to select between dinner in or dinner out; movie in or movie out; gift of jewelry or candies or fruits; a lovely card or a walk in the park.
Thinking about what WE would most like is probably not the best perspective. This year, attempt to see things through your partner’s perspective.
In my years of working with singles and couples, helping them hone or smooth out relationship hiccups, often times I am brought back to a book that I read over 20 years ago. It taught that there are different ways that people feel loved andhow they express love to others.
Too often, I see that a lack of understanding of something called a “love language” is the source of many realtionship troubles.
The book that I am referencing was written by author Gary Chapman and it’s titled The Five Love Languages. The information that is shared in this book is gold.
It appears that feelings of being “let down” or “not loved” originate in not feeling fed in the way that we are individually wired to receive and give love. When that need is not being met, we feel unloved.
For example, if you feel loved by someone giving you a gift and your partner isn’t big on gifts and just wants your time, then they won’t fully appreciate the gift that you took time to pick out, pay for and give them. In return, you probably won’t give them the quality time that they really crave and would prefer over a gift.
The languages that Mr. Chapman proposes are these: Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts Of Service, Words Of Affirmation and Physical Touch. His premise is that if you have a love language that is different from your partner’s, it is like you speaking French and your partner only understanding English. You are communicating, but what you’re “sending” isn’t being “received” – which can lead to relational frustration.
Having tested this principle hundreds of times with couples I have worked with, I find Chapman’s approach easy to apply and it increases harmony between partners fairly quickly.
Here is a simple breakdown of this concept:
People communicate love in their language(s) of preference
People feel more loved when communicated to in their love language(s)
Someone who is always bringing you gifts has Receiving Gifts as one of their primary languages
Someone who just wants to hang out with you possesses the Quality Time love language
Someone who often speaks “I love you” or “you’re beautiful” and other affirming words has Words Of Affirmation as their language
Someone who likes serving you dinner or joyfully does menial tasks for you has the Acts of Service love language wired into them
Someone who rubs your back or shoulder or touches you as you walk by has Physical Touch wired into their personality
It seems too simple … yet, who doesn’t love simple? I certainly do. Life is complex enough, without lots of layers of complexity in our most trusted relationship.
So – I would recommend to look at your partner or sweetheart and observe what most brings them obvious joy or a spirit of appreciation. Ask yourself:
Does an “I love you” come out of his or her mouth when hanging up with you? Words of Affirmation is definitely a need of theirs.
Does he or she love to cook for you or clean the home or car? Acts Of Service is a strong language with them (doing things for those they love).
Does he or she stroke your hair or touch your leg when you are together or even sit so that their body is touching yours? Physical Touch is an inherent need of theirs.
Does he or she express the need for “time just for us” or to just hang out with you? Quality Time is definitely a love language of theirs.
Does he or she tell you the kind of gift they would like or bring you gifts (large or small) consistently? If so, Receiving Gifts is a prominent language of love for them.
Now, you might be processing all of this and asking … “how does this work?” Well, just start noticing and “speaking” through your actions in the love language(s) of your loved one. Actually, once you are aware of the love languages, you will notice them in your friends, co-workers, children and other family members, as well as your partner. I have tested these principles too many times and seen them validated too consistently to not share this with others.
This Valentine’s Day, try seeing your partner through THEIR eyes and what THEY would most like to receive. Here is a quick test that can help you:
Does your partner light up when you give them a gift (no matter how small)?
Does your partner consistently DO things for you, to serve you?
Does your partner like to snuggle up often?
Does your partner like to just hang out and is happiest when you are doing something together?
Does your partner constantly affirm you with words (“That’s great!”, “Love you”)?
Once you have an idea of what you partner’s love language is, here are some suggestions for you this Valentine’s Day:
Quality Time – chose something to do that means you’ll be together sharing an experience, including; dinner in-or-out, watching a movie or taking a walk together.
Physical Touch – chose anything with body contact, like rubbing his or her feet, getting a massage or just laying together and cuddling.
Words Of Affirmation – write a love letter or choose a card that has well-expressed thoughts.
Acts Of Service – make a dinner or bring them something that they have been wanting that might even need assembled and assemble it for them.
Receiving Gifts – make a purchase of jewelry or any appropriate gift that is personal to their taste.
And if you are not sure ….. do any combination of the suggestions that you think might be your partner’s love language. Then, just enjoy the day and watch him or her LIGHT UP with love and appreciation at your thoughtfulness.
Enjoy your Happy Valentine’s Day!