Love Language #1: Words of Affirmation

by | Aug 24, 2009 | love, relationships

This is the second post in a series about The Five Love Languages. Read my Sunday, 8/23 post for more information, and click on the title above to visit The Five Love Languages website.

(Before I begin, you may be asking, what’s so important about these love languages? Learning a person’s love language can make your relationship with him or her much more intimate and fulfilling. You can connect in ways you never thought possible with that person. Your spouse, child, friend, whoever will feel more understood, and will feel more secure in your relationship. Trust me…it is worth it, with every relationship you are in…with your spouse, parents, children, siblings, co-workers, clients, friends, neighbors, etc! Learning this can benefit every part of your life and every relationship in it!)

I can usually tell when I’m in a conversation with someone who’s primary love language is Words of Affirmation…they are full of compliments, encouraging and kind words. People who desire words of affirmation to be spoken to them to feel appreciated and loved, will generally, and naturally speak in that way to you. Does this person build you up with his/her words? Does he/she compliment you often? Does this person send notes and cards to you? Does he/she speak kindly whenever possible to you? If so, his/her love language might be Words of Affirmation.

Try giving compliments back. Speak kindly to this person. Encourage this person whenever possible and see what happens. Appreciate this person for little and big things. If this person is your spouse or your child, you have tapped into one of the most important love sources in your relationship…WORDS!

The language of Words of Affirmation can involve many dialects, even more than what’s listed here…

Verbal compliments: “Sweetheart, you look so beautiful this evening. I’m proud to be by your side.”
Dr. Gary Chapman says, “The object of love is not getting something you want but doing something for the well-being of the one you love. It is a fact, however, that when we receive affirming words we are far more likely to be motivated to reciprocate and do something our spouse desires.”

Encouraging words: “I know you haven’t seen any results from your hard work yet, but don’t lose heart. I believe in you and in what you are doing. You are on your way to being the most successful man I know.”
Dr. Gary Chapman adds, “Encouragement requires empathy and seeing the world from your spouse’s perspective. We must first learn what is important to our spouse.” This can also be used with children or anyone else for that matter.

Kind words: “I love you!” (said with a smile)
“The same sentence can have two different meanings, depending on how you say it. Sometimes our words are saying one thing, but our tone of voice is saying another. We are sending double messages. Our spouse [or the person we are talking to] will usually interpret our message based on our tone of voice, not the words we use,” said Dr. Chapman.

Humble words: “Could we spend some time together this weekend, just the two of us?” instead of “If you don’t spend time with me this weekend, I’m not going to do your laundry anymore.”
“We cannot get emotional love by way of demand. My spouse may in fact comply with my demands, but it is not an expression of love. It is an act of fear or guilt or some other emotion, but not love. Thus a request creates the possibility for an expression of love, whereas a demand suffocates the possibility,” added Dr. Chapman.

As I mentioned yesterday, one of Bill’s love languages is Words. I can honestly say that I still struggle, even after all these years, with affirming him in all the ways I could. It does not come naturally for me. I really have to focus on it, and he knows that. He is consistently saying nice things to me such as, “You are so beautiful.” “I like your hair.” “That shirt looks so nice on you.” “This zuchini bread is really good.” “The house looks great.” “Thank you for all you do.” etc.

The thing I’ve learned is, even though Words is not a love language of mine, it really doesn’t matter because it’s a love language of Bill’s. If it’s important to Bill, then it’s important for me to say the things that will build him up and give him encouragement. Words aren’t as important to me as they are to him…it’s not that I don’t appreciate his words, they just aren’t what I need to feel loved.

How to communicate with someone whose love language is Words? Compliments, affirmations and kind words. What actions? Send notes and cards. What to avoid? Criticism.

My friend Jeanie is a Words of Affirmation person. To make her feel appreciated, I send her notes and cards often. I tell her how talented she is and what a great mom and wife she is. I build her up when I’m with her. The worst thing I could ever do would be to criticize her and belittle her. That would be so damaging to her heart.

Could your love language be Words of Affirmation? There is probably someone in your life whose language is Words. Do you know who? Begin today by speaking positive, uplifting, complimenting, affirming and kind words to him/her today and see what happens! Tomorrow I will share the second love language which is my primary one…Quality Time!
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