With Valentine’s Day coming up, you’ve probably been trying to think of inventive ways to show love to the special people in your life. You want it to be meaningful, as well as memorable.
All of us experience love a little differently, so what makes you feel warm and fuzzy might not connect with someone else. So many factors play into our view of love. A lot of it begins in childhood—how our parents showed us love, or what we missed growing up that left our hearts depleted and hungry.
Gary Chapman wrote The Five Love Languages in 1995 and revolutionized the way we view love. He pointed out our best efforts often miss their mark, if we speak a different love language than our loved one. First, we need to ask and observe what their two highest love languages are, then focus our energies on filling those needs.
The five languages are: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Meaningful Touch. With these in mind, I’d like to offer 50 ways to say I love you, giving 10 suggestions for each love language. I’m sure my list will give you ideas of your own. I hope you have fun as you plan to bless and surprise the ones you love.
Words of Affirmation: Encourage With a Stamp of Approval
This love language is for people who treasure the spoken or written word, especially from the people they care about. You can tell if this is a person’s love language simply by their response to cards or a personal note, and how they lean in for compliments.
- Praise the work they’ve done on a recent project. Tell them specifically what you like about it.
- Tell them how much you love a certain quality of their personality—their cheerful attitude, how well they adjust to changes, how organized they are. Again, be specific.
- Send a note for no reason at all and say what you love about them—texting is good, but a card is better. They will savor this and read it again and again when their soul is hungry. Our kitchen wasn’t finished yet when we were first married. My husband and I wrote love notes and scripture encouragements all over the plywood counter top. It still makes me smile to remember all the sweet messages hidden beneath the tile.
- Ask if their ears were burning today, because you were telling people how wonderful they are. Then let them know the nice things others added in response.
- When they have a good idea, praise their insight, even if you wish you’d thought of it first.
- Refer back to something they’ve told you in a previous conversation that has helped you in some way. This not only proves you were listening, but that you value their knowledge.
- Notice growth in an area that’s difficult for them. For instance if they’re trying to eat right and get in shape, comment on their muscle tone, self-control, or consistent exercise, especially when it’s been hard to keep it up.
- Let your first comments be positive, even if you notice flaws in their presentation, project, or wording. Be generous.
- Tell them what you like about the way they look, without expecting to get anything back. For instance: that you like the way their nose crinkles when they smile; you like the changing flecks of color in their eyes depending on the light; you like the texture of their hair; you like the way they look over their shoulder and give you that smile that’s just for you.
- Compliment their interaction with others—the way they show compassion or help others; the way they share their knowledge without condescension; the way they get down and play with kids; the way they take the lead and get things done.
Tomorrow we’ll take a look at another 20 ways to say I love you, using the next two love languages: Acts of Service and Gifts.