Life feels better when we notice the love that is all around us. When times are tough, love is one of those things that keep us going. These recent times have been difficult and stressful for all of us as a collective as we continue to live through the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s safe to say that love is needed now more than ever in our world.
But how can we put more love out into the world? Learning and understanding love languages is a great way to express love in how those around you best receive it. Different people express and receive love differently, and this is the premise of understanding love languages. By recognizing how those around you prefer to receive and give love, you can significantly enrich your relationships and connect more deeply with loved ones. Gary Chapman, Ph.D., developed love languages in his book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts. He describes the five styles of communicating and receiving love. All of us often relate to more than one of these languages, but there is usually one that stands out for us as our primary way of giving or receiving love.
The five love languages are:
Words of Affirmation
This love language primarily focuses on using words to affirm and express affection for someone. People whose primary love language is words of affirmation love to receive heartfelt compliments and frequent “I love you’s”. Receiving written or spoken affections helps people with this love language feel loved, understood, and cared for.
People with this love language prefer to give or receive love through the act of physical touching. Hugging, holding hands, or cuddling are the perfect ways to show your love to people with this love language. In this love language, physical touch communicates warmth, affection, and connection, allowing people with this love language to feel close to those they care about.
This love language focuses on spending uninterrupted and intimate time with loved ones. Having intimate one-on-one conversations with or even just being around loved ones for some time can significantly fulfill people with this love language. These people love engaging in conversations when they can see their partner being an active listener, giving eye contact, and being fully present at the moment with them.
People with this love language love giving or receiving tangible symbols of love and affection, otherwise known as gifts. People who prefer to receive this love language enjoy knowing their partner puts thought and consideration into giving them a gift. It may not be about the monetary value of the gift per say, but the symbolic meaning and careful consideration that goes into preparing the gift.
Acts of Service
Those with this love language enjoy when their loved ones go out of their way to do things for them to make their lives easier. People with this love language believe that actions speak louder than words. When you put thought into an action that would take the responsibility off of someone or help them with a task they need to complete, people with this love language feel cared for and loved.
If you are interested in finding out your love language, check out this quiz on the official love languages website.
Try These 10 Ideas to Show Love Today
The world can always benefit from more love! Here are 10 ways you can put more love out into the world and the love languages they coincide with:
1. Give a Compliment
Whether it is your loved one or a stranger, anyone can benefit from a little confidence boost! Tell your neighbor you love their new haircut, or reach out to a loved one and tell them how amazing they are at what they do. Whatever the compliment is, it can brighten someone’s day and remind them of the love in the world. This act of love is most impactful for those with the words of affirmation love language.
2. Drop Off Flowers to a Loved One Unexpectedly
This loving gesture is bound to make anyone feel loved and appreciated, especially those with the love language of receiving gifts! This act shows someone that you were thinking of them and wanted to go out of your way to show your appreciation for them. This gesture could also be great for someone with an act of service love language.
3. Call a Friend You Haven’t Talked to in a While
Reaching out to someone through a call or a text just to ask how they are doing and let them know you care about them can go a long way, especially if you haven’t spoken in a while. This act can strengthen your bond with a loved one and help them feel supported. Video chatting is a great way to connect with someone from afar as well. This gesture is most aligned with the words of affirmation or quality time love languages!
4. Help with a Necessary Task Without Being Asked
This gesture will make someone with an act of service love language feel greatly supported and loved. Helping a loved one run an errand they don’t like to do can take some weight off their shoulders and make them feel like someone has their back.
5. Offer to Babysit for a Loved One Who Might Need a Night Off
Parenting is a lot of work, and everyone needs a night off for themselves to relax. Offering to babysit for a loved one so they can enjoy a night to themselves may help them more than you know. This loving gesture is best for those with an “act of service” love language!
6. Pay for Someone’s Coffee or Food at a Drive-Through
Doing loving acts for strangers can feel rewarding and brighten another person’s day! Paying for the person’s order behind you at a drive-through is a great way to spread love to another. And who knows, you might inspire them to do the same for another! Although you probably won’t know the love language of the stranger behind you, this action is best for those with “acts of service” or “receiving gifts” love language.
7. Plan an Outing They Would Love
Organizing a day or night out with a loved one doing something they love is a fantastic way to express your admiration. Whether it be a friend, a partner, or a family member - they will surely enjoy it! This is great to do with someone you haven’t been able to spend much time with and lets them know that you deeply care about your relationship. This idea would be best suited for someone with the love language of quality time or acts of service (especially if you pay the bill and organize the whole thing).
8. Give a Surprise Gift
If you know a loved one who enjoys receiving gifts, put some thought into a gift they would love and surprise them! The more thought you put in, the better! Simply showing them that you were thinking of them and wanted to tangibly show your love will make them feel appreciated. It will definitely brighten their day and remind them of how much you care.
9. Cook a Meal for a Loved One
Preparing your loved ones’ favorite meal is a great way to express your admiration and lift the spirits of someone you care for. Preparing their favorite meal and surprising them is sure to excite them and bring some comfort to their day. Invite them over for dinner, eat their favorite meal, and watch their favorite movie to bring you two closer and show them you value spending time with them. This gesture is great for someone with an act of service or quality time love language!
10. Ask a Loved One What They Need
Simply asking, “what can I do to make your day better?” is a great way to show someone you care and ensure that you are expressing your love in the best way for them at that moment. This could be especially lovely for someone who has been going through a hard time. Asking this question shows someone that you care for them and want to show up for them in the way they really need. This act fits all the love languages, as it allows someone to express exactly what would make them feel loved!