Love in Any Language
Je t'aime , Te amo, Ya ti-bya lyu blyu, Ani o hev ot cha, Ich Liebe dich, Te quiero, Te ibubec, Volim Te, ...I love you. In any language, 'I love you' is a bold and powerful statement. It is a statement that is said with the utmost of feeling and emotion connected to it - usually. It is said between romantic partners, parents and children, friends, and other relationships as well. I love you. Those three beautiful words that mean so much, in such different ways depending on who is saying it, and who is receiving it.
Many year ago, my church held a Valentine's Day Banquet. During the Banquet, a wonderful young woman sang her rendition of Sandi Patty's Love in Any Language while the rest of us signed the song in American Sign Language. That Banquet and that song propelled me to learn to say 'I Love You" in many languages, and continue to learn American Sign Language. I have come to really love to say I love you in German. It makes me giggle and it's just fun.
The Languages of Love
Expressing love isn't just delegated to that wonderful statement - no matter what language the statement is spoken in. There are many ways to express love. Not everyone communicates love in the same way, nor do people all have the same way they prefer to be receive love. It is this idea that there are many love languages, that is at the heart of the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Most people can relate to most of these languages, but each one of us has a language that we prefer and that stands out as more meaningful to us.
Here is an overview of the 5 Love Languages:
Words of Affirmation
Those that speak the language of Words of Affirmation seek out and know the value of acknowledgments of affection. The actual words, "I love you" are included in this language. Also included are words of compliments, appreciation, and encouragement. Love letters, love notes, as well as texts, emails, and social media postings are very important to those that speak the language of Words of Affirmation. These help them to feel that they are appreciated, understood, and not invisible.
Physical Touch love language is all about feeling loved through the physical interaction. Although sex is an important component in committed relationships it is not the only way to show love to someone that speaks this language. Some relationships are not sexual in nature and yet you can still show your love to those that speak the language of Physical Touch without sex. Everything from a simple touch on the shoulder in passing to hugs and kisses, as well as cuddling and even tickling all are important to those that speak the love language of Physical Touch.
The love Language of Gifts is all about physical items. Those that speak the Gifts love language enjoy being gifted a physical item that has special meaning. Don't fret if you or your partner speak the language of Gifts, and you are worried about feeling the strain on your wallet. It is not about the monetary value however, but the symbolic nature of the item. Be sure that you take care to be sure that the gift has meaning and value to the one that speaks this language, and not necessarily meaning and value to yourself. The thought, the meaning, and the personal(emotional) value of the item all speak to the heart of a person who speaks the language of Gifts.
Those that speak the language of Quality Time feel the love when they are spending time with those that they love. They love to have undivided attention, free of distraction or outside influences. Spending time in heartfelt conversations or sharing activities are vital to those that speak the Language of Quality Time. Special and specific time set aside for conversation and interactions between those that speak the language of Quality Time such as date nights, where there is limited social interactions and where the focus is specifically on each other is the essential component.
Acts of Service
The Acts of Service love language is all about the things you do. The actions that speak louder than the words are vital to those that speak this language. Cleaning the house, doing the dishes, washing the car are all considered Acts of Service. It doesn't really matter how big or small the act is, the keys to speaking the Language of Acts of Service is having these acts of service done without being asked, being done spontaneously, and are not the normal expectations of everyday life. These acts do not have to be grand gestures, after all it's the little things that matter most of the time.
How to Find Your or Your Partners Love Language
Everyone has a preference of which language they speak, and everyone has a preferred love language as well. Love languages appear to be simple and easily understood, but they aren't as easily understood as you might think. Just because you speak the Acts of Service language and are constantly going above and beyond to do things for your partner, he or she may be quietly wondering why you rarely say the words "I love you", or tell them how much they mean to you. This can result in a disconnect and even resentment from one or both partners. This is where the philosophy of treat others as you want to be treated falls far short of being anything helpful.
In order to really understand each other's love language, you must approach the topic with curiosity and adventure. Not only can you directly ask someone what they prefer, but you can also take the time to experiment with each of the love languages to see which language gets you the best response from yourself and your partner. This is something you can do without discussing, but it can also be fun to do as a Month of Love activity as well.
Each February I post a 30 days of Love related challenges that can help you find your love language. It's not just February Either. Each Month of the year has a new personal development topic and daily challenges.