Do you remember your first kiss? Maybe not so glorious, possibly awkward with hopefully no braces clinking. But how about the first best kiss? That one may have been serenaded by a Malibu beach sunset and ocean waves breaking. Or maybe in the back of his pick up truck, with all the stars applauding.
Love is the most ambiguous of feelings, yet a kiss is universally recognized as a token of it. But after a kiss, there’s a mess of ways to love someone. People communicate their love for one another differently, called love languages. Which languages do you find resonance with?
Words of Affirmation
A heartfelt compliment, one that took a thoughtful observation to be verbalized. The recognition of an accomplishment, or even an effort you make. “I’m really proud of you for pursuing that so diligently,” or “You look lovely in that color.” These are words of affirmation. It’s when someone takes a moment to appreciate you and verbalize it to make sure you know that they know. It also requires vulnerability for the person affirming, another reason words of affirmation are precious.
Quality time is in and of itself a dying art form. Cell phones, social media- all vying for our immediate attention. While quality time is subjective from person to person, it is founded in a face-to-face period of time spent together in a no-distraction environment. For some it is a walk around the neighborhood, for others it’s a night out for dinner and an activity. In this quality time there’s conversation, yes, but sometimes there’s shared silence. This is where it becomes subjective. Ultimately, you both have set aside time from your daily activities to truly enjoy one another, however that may be.
Acts of Service
No one really likes to do the dishes. Every. Day. So taking on the task so the other person doesn’t have to says, “Hey, I love you way more than not doing these dishes, and I know you could use a break from the job.” Though an Act of Service can seem trivial, it will make a deep impact for someone who speaks this love language. Acts of Service require a thoughtful effort with a bit of sacrifice. When people spend time seeking ways to prefer each other, they cultivate healthy habits.
Christmas morning. Think of Christmas morning, when you’re six years old in your footie-pajamas. All those gifts! The spirit of giving and receiving, of thinking of that perfect little something for so-and-so. Of sacrificing time and hard-earned income to acquire a gift that’ll be sure to bring some joy. To be on the receiving end of that gift: that is the love language of Receiving Gifts.
This one came last because it can be the most misunderstood. It can feel incredibly natural to show affection. And to some extent all people feel loved through physical touch. A kiss, a hug, maybe holding hands. But some people grow up in a home with few moments of physical affection. Others just need a hand brushed across their shoulder from you walking by them to feel fully considered and cared for. For those who are wholly content by physical touch, feel free to be creative.
The merits of knowing your love languages will be helpful in all forms of communication with the people close to your heart. Both to be understood but also to appreciate others. True love is true sacrifice. While it’s simpler to love how we like to love, to truly love someone will require loving them in a way that they will feel most understood and then appreciated. And isn’t that a beautiful purpose? To love well and enjoy the life we’ve been given.