The Languages of Love Expression and Variations in These Languages
The world often throws us unexpected curve balls and while seeming colder and darker than usual, making it hard to stay positive. This means there is always room to spread love and kindness around us whenever we can. It could be through something as simple as smiling at someone you walk by on the street, holding the door open for someone, or saying hello to a stranger as you go about your daily errands. The smallest gestures always seem to have the biggest influence on someone’s day or life. Sometimes we take our closest loved ones for granted by forgetting to express to them how much we value them.
Each person gives love and receives it in different ways. However, when your way of expressing love differs from that of your loved ones, your love expressions can go unrecognized. The book, 5 love languages, written by Gary Chapman determines five fundamental ways in which human beings express affection. Relationships are shown to benefit immensely when we understand all these languages and speak them fluently. Applying this simple idea can significantly influence the dynamic between two people.
These love languages fall into 5 categories namely:
- Verbal acknowledgement or words of affirmation
This involves words of encouragement and appreciation and compliments towards another person. This love language is not flattery that is supposed to manipulate the other party. This love language is meant to do something in favor of your loved one’s well-being and not to get what you want. Words of affirmation are genuine statements spoken from the heart. The need for appreciation is probably the deepest one and words of affirmation can meet this need in many.
- Companionship or quality time
The love language of quality time entails offering a loved one your total and complete attention. This is far from watching TV together because TV programs can capture your attention when it should all be directed towards the other person. Quality time means sitting together without any devices nearby and giving each other your complete attention. It could also entail going for a walk together, eating out while looking each other in the eyes and talking. Time is precious and because several things can demand our attention in a day, you need to make our time count by spending it with loved ones.
- Giving tokens of love or receiving gifts
The act of giving is often considered as the ultimate indication of deep love. the five love languages all call for us to give to our spouses but gift reception seems to resonate loudest with others. When someone holds a gift, they feel like you remembered them or you were thinking of them because a gift is a sign of this thought. It does not have to be something that you bought because the important thing is that you thought of them. The thought of someone not only matters but the thought that was expressed in looking at the gift once it is given is the indication of love.
- Having someone do something for you or Acts of Service
This love language calls upon you to do something your partner wants you to do and since you want to please the other person, you will express your love for them by doing things for them. Think about actions such as keeping the car in working condition, changing diapers, picking a prescription, vacuuming the carpet, emptying out the dishwasher, setting the table for a meal, or even cooking a meal. These all count as acts of service because they require you to invest energy and time to plan them. If you do these acts of service in a positive light then they will be expressions of your love for the other person. When you meet your loved one’s emotional needs there will be immense benefits for the relationship.
- Contact through the body or Physical touch
Another way to express emotional love is through physical touch. Studies have shown that holding, kissing, and stroking babies promotes the development of a healthy emotional life in comparison to babies who lack that kind of physical contact. Physical touch is quite effective in expressing love and embracing, kissing, and holding hands are ways of expressing emotional love to a spouse.
Expressions of Love in Various Cultures
For the longest time now, love seems to be the main theme that can improve the quality of human life. Different cultures spanning across the globe have their own way of expressing and defining love. Geographic location, as well as intellectual upbringing, seems to contribute towards the cultural understanding and expression of affection between people and their relationships.
The Senegalese are said to stand very close to people when holding a conversation. It is also quite natural to find two people, specifically men, holding hands as they walk down the street without necessarily being a homosexual couple. In America, this could be interpreted as a sign of homosexuality.
The French are known to have a tendency to exhibit communicative love gestures more openly when compared to other cultures. Eye contact is important and even though the French are somehow reserved, lovebirds and young people do not shy away from engaging in PDA or public displays of affection. The French symbol of love s classic and involves a man offering flowers to a woman then inviting her to a great restaurant where there are candies on the table. The French may have a stigma of flamboyant affection as evidenced by their kiss-kiss greeting, but they are less outspoken than the Italians are.
Japanese are not as enthusiastic about body language compared to other cultures. Touching during conversation is unwelcome particularly between a man and a woman. They consider gestures as an unnecessary mode of expression. Public affection in Japan is also not accepted but they express their affection in other understated ways. Young and old people are reserved in their demonstrations of affection in Japan.