Valentine’s Day is approaching. I try to make Valentine’s Day a day to celebrate love for all the special people in my life, including my kids. To better do that, I am going to use the 5 love languages to help me do something really meaningful for them. The 5 Love languages can help you really narrow down what will mean the most to the person that you are thinking of.
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I know that Valentine’s Day is largely commercialized now and there are tons of posts saying “Look at my Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas!” I have clicked on several myself trying to get ideas. This is not that kind of post. “The 5 Love Languages” is a book by Gary Chapman. It ranks as one of my favorite books of all time. Let’s explore what he refers to as the 5 Love Languages and see how they can help us better understand those that we love.
What ARE the 5 Love Languages?
A language is the method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way. (Oxford dictionary online) So a love language is a way that we communicate love and that we understand love being communicated to us. There’s just one little problem: Though we all CAN speak them all, we are probably better at one or a few than the others. What’s really romantic to one person might be rather “meh” to another one. Often couples have different love languages. At first in the relationship, they come easily. As time goes on and the life turns into a daily routine, we sometimes forget to do the special things that we did early in the relationship. The good news is that they are easy to learn and act on. They Are:
Odds are that one or maybe two of them will really speak to you and “hit home.” If you are unsure what your love language is, then think of the opposite and what tears you down the most. For example, if your love language is Words of Affirmation, it really hurts when someone speaks harshly to you and criticizes you. If your love language is Physical Touch and your spouse does not touch you for a week, you feel like you are dying inside.
Stop for a minute and think about which love language means the most to you, your spouse, and your kids.
Let’s go through each Love Language now and get some practical ideas on how we can USE this information to make the people around us feel more loved.
Acts of Service
As the name implies, this is when you do something for someone else. This could be something like cleaning the house for your husband or mowing the yard. (I personally prefer the yard; at least when it does not end in a text that says “oops”, meaning, I broke the lawn mower again…) The limits to this are only what your imagination can come up with. Here are a few examples:
- Wash their car – If my car does not have “WASH ME” written on the back of it, it’s thanks to him.
- Mow the Yard – Not only does this get me out of the house, it lets him spend more time with me on the weekend.
- Do a “Honey Do” – Lots of little things need to be done around the house all the time!
- Cook their favorite dinner just “because” – Lasagna. He loves it, it’s ok for me. But I cook it (even though it dirties like 4 dishes) and watch the smile on his face when he sees it
- Fix their lunch for the next day – Again, this one I do every day.
- Lay clothes out for the next day – Just one way I let him know I love him every day.
- Clean – One of the MOST romantic things my husband ever did for me was told me to rest when we had a baby and I woke up to a completely clean house! Hello, Prince Charming!
- Run an errand for them – You needed deodorant? You got deodorant!
- Take care of something for them that they were dreading or did not have time to do – Yes, I renewed your car tags for you.
Make them a special meal
I still remember one time I was sick and my husband had to come up with supper. We had sandwiches, but mine was not just any sandwich! Oh no! My sandwich tasted like something from a really fancy deli with chicken cooked in some unidentified herbs that were super tasty and all the trimmings. As I was enjoying my sandwich and telling him how good it was, I looked around at everyone else’s. They had fried bologna.
This one is exactly what it sounds like! This is one of my favorites because it costs nothing and I just get to enjoy the company of my husband. I also try to spend quality time with each of the boys as well.
- Date nights! – LOVE date nights! These can be as cheap or extravagant as you make them.
- Phone call at lunch – I look forward to this each and every day
- Text during the day – A sweet “I love you” text during the day lets you not feel so far apart
- Play a game together – It could be a board game, a video game, cards, or mini-golf. Just as long as you both enjoy it and do it together
- Day Trip – We love day trips! They make such good memories.
- Movie night – popcorn, pizza if you are feeling extravagant, and cuddles.
- Scenic drive – Lots of time for talking
- Cook a meal together – And you get to eat it together too!
- Picnic – The whole family can enjoy this one!
- Make a pallet outside and watch for shooting stars – Goes well with blankets, cuddling, and hot chocolate if it’s cool.
- In the daytime, watch clouds – see what funny shapes you can come up with!
- Turn off the TV and have a conversation – nothing like this for reconnecting!
- Run errands together – We call them “mini-dates” We still get to ride in the car together and talk.
Words of Affirmation
This one refers to compliments and saying nice things. A few words can really go a long way if they are said with sincerity
- Decorate with sticky notes! Write one reason why you love them on each sticky note and leave them all over the place to find
- Write a Love letter – I am a sucker for a mushy love letter. After being married for 13.5 years, I still love to hear why he loves me and how crazy he is about me
- Pack a note in their lunch box (kids love this one) – Let the person know that you were thinking about them when you are not with them.
- Tell them “I’m proud of you for…” – Yes, please! Tell me what I’m doing right! Bring on the positive reinforcement
- Compliment them – who doesn’t like to hear that they look nice, or that they have a beautiful smile?
- Tell them the reasons that you love them in a creative way. It could be a DIY coffee cup or a card, or even make it into a treasure hunt.
- Brag about your spouse to the world with Social Media – Yes, it may be sappy sweet, but that’s ok. The world needs to know that finding “the one” and having a good marriage is still possible.
- Let your spouse overhear you saying good things about them.
- Even when they are not around, speak favorably of them.
These do not have to be big or expensive. Some of the best ones are very inexpensive. The main idea is to get something that let the other person know that you were thinking of them.
- A single rose or cheap flowers – decorative, budget-friendly, BIG brownie points if they are a surprise
- Bouquet of wild flowers – You stopped and took the time to pick them. Just no ragweed, please!
- Card (bought or hand-made) – Who doesn’t love a nice card? This one also gets points for words of affirmation
- Candy bar –chocolate can change your whole perspective on life!
- Breakfast surprise – Bagels and cream cheese, donuts, cinnamon rolls, muffins; all great ways to start the day feeling loved
- Bring home Pizza – Oh baby! Thanks for giving me a break from cooking!
- Something they have mentioned they wanted but would not buy for themselves.
This is not always romantic. It can be a platonic hug or a pat on the back.
- Holding hands – I know this one is simple, but don’t forget to do this later in the relationship, and where ever you are. Hold hands in the car, hold hands while you are out running errands, hold hands when you are sitting on the couch beside one another
- Hug – there is nothing quite like a hug, it relieves stress and increases happiness
- Caress – just a light touch to let them know they are special
- Snuggling – Hello, movie night, or even just watching tv!
- Touch as you walk by – I love you and I notice you, even if I’m in a hurry!
- Pat on the back – way to go!
- Massage – shoulders, back, feet…. Ok, now more back….. *falls asleep*
Hopefully, this guide will help you as you try to use the 5 love languages in your own life. If you are interested, I highly recommend reading the original book.
There are also other bloggers who have written some great content on this topic, such as Grace and Silas at Chasing foxes. You can view their post on hacking the 5 love languages here.
Doing “little things” for our spouse makes all the difference. It is very easy to get lost in the day to day and things that came easily at the start of the relationship now take more work. Don’t do these things JUST on Valentine’s Day, make a practice of doing them on a regular basis. It will make a huge difference in your relationship. I know that most of this post I have talked about spouses, but don’t forget your kids! They need to know that they are loved too and the love languages apply not just to your spouse but to EVERYONE! Make sure to fill your bucket with positives and fill other people’s buckets too. We all have emotional reservoirs that I am referring to as “buckets.” Make sure to fill those of the people around you.