Learn how to recognize what makes your partner feel appreciated
5. Physical touch
The fifth love language is demonstrated when you affectionately touch someone to show your love. Communicating through physical touch involves small gestures of affection, such as holding someone’s hand, putting your arm around a person, or giving a hug. Providing physical comfort when someone is upset, crying, or in crisis is especially important in love communication. These little signs of love will be felt more deeply when you initiate them. Reaching out to hold someone’s hand when you are walking through the parking lot at church is a great way to show your desire to love through affectionate touch.
Let’s go back to Amy. After reading about the five love languages, Amy learned that her husband’s primary love language was words of affirmation. So, while Amy continued to provide acts of service for her husband, mainly because it made her feel good about herself, she also began speaking encouraging words to him. She often thanked him for all he did for her. She began saying “I love you” before he left for work each day and again when he returned home. She made a point of complimenting his strong work ethic, his accomplishments at work, and his performance when serving others. Her husband started thanking Amy for the many tasks she performed for him and stopped asking if she really loved him. In fact, he began to feel more confident and secure in himself. He felt so good about himself and their marriage that he also learned about the love languages so that he could show Amy his intense love for her.
Loving others, not only in the love language we understand best but also in the love languages they appreciate, is important. The five love languages can be applied to any relationship, not just marriage. When people feel loved, they become more secure and confident, and their desire to love others increases.
The next time you are feeling as though someone does not appreciate your loving gestures, stop to consider how he or she might want to be loved. See if expressing your love in a different love language gets a different response and strengthens your relationship. No matter which love language you choose to use, let your love be genuine, and let it shine like the sun.
* If you are interested in learning more about the five love languages, read Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts, and check out this video.
* If you find yourself thinking that it is difficult to express love for others in any of these “languages,” or you find it difficult to allow yourself to be truly loved, Hiding from Love: How to Change the Withdrawal Patterns That Isolate and Imprison You by John Townsend can be a helpful book. This book shows people how to leave behind the patterns of isolation that make it difficult to express and feel love.
Dr. Lisa Klewickiis a licensed clinical psychologist with degrees in clinical psychology and theology. She has appeared as a guest on Relevant Radio’s On Call program. She maintains a psychotherapy practice in Falls Church, Virginia. This article was published in Catholic Digest and is reprinted here with permission.
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