If 10 individuals of different social and economical backgrounds, races and gender were to be asked what does love, valentine’s day and relationships mean to them, it is safe to say that no two of them will be able to provide the same answer. Some, who have yet to have the chance to experience it or believe in it might not even be able to give meaning to it yet. The definition of love may vary from individual to individual but one thing is for sure, no one is in control of the who, when and how it happens. Be it because of the golden arrow of Cupid or even through DNA tests like in the novel ‘The One’ by John Marrs, most of us tend to yearn for the day to finally meet the perfect one, or as some would call it – Destined Soulmate. When that happens, it just does and it tends to ‘feel right’. As John Green, the author of ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ would put it, “I fell in love the way you fall asleep: Slowly, and then all at once.”
While the existence of love is something that most of us has come to accept without any doubt in mind, it is hard to prove its existence or even pinpoint an exact definition of it; since all of us experience and give love in different ways. The 3 words, 8 letters,1 meaning phrase is by far the most common way that one may use to express it but the thing with love is what works for one person might not work for the other. Therefore, it is crucial to learn the Love Language of your friends, family and significant others.
The concept of love languages was first developed by Gary Chapman, Ph. D in his book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that lasts. Throughout the book, Gary describes the five unique styles of communicating love. In simple terms, a love language is a way a person gives and receives love. Here is an overview of the 5 various forms of love languages:
- Words of Affirmation
Individuals whose love language is words of affirmation are said to value verbal acknowledgements of affection. These people, value frequent “I love you’s”, words of encouragement, appreciation and oftentimes digital communication. These positive words and phrases are able to uplift them and brighten their day.
- Acts of Service
The best way to describe this love language is by doing something for them that you know they would like. Some examples of acts of service include: checking in on them during a stressful day at work, making them a cup of coffee in the morning or even taking care of them when they are sick. The psychology behind this language is something we can all relate to – the warm, fuzzy feeling that one gets from performing a selfless act. Such individuals value the tactile, palpable steps that are taken in order to simplify their life and make it a little easier. When this happens, they are then able to fully show up and reciprocate love from a place of abundance. For some people, the important thing about it might not be the act itself but more of the attitude behind it.
- Receiving Gifts
Perhaps, this is the love language that relates the most to Valentine’s Day. From the bouquet of red roses to the box of heart-shaped chocolates or even candy hearts, the list goes on. As Gary Chapman would put it, individuals whose love language is receiving gifts feel love when people give them “visual symbols of love”. Experts have pointed out that it begins from the process of thoughtfully and carefully handpicking a gift that symbolises the relationship to actually giving it an elicit feeling of affection towards another person. While a thoughtful gift is able to show them how important they are, a generic gift or forgotten special events have the opposite effect. The key is to give them something that is meaningful to them and not to you.
- Quality Time
Certainly, we can all agree that there have been many occasions where we wished we had more time to create memories with those who are closest and dearest to us. It is definitely true to say, time flies when we are with the people we love. As Edward Cullen, the immortal vampire would put it, “No measure of time with you would be long enough. But let’s start with forever.” This love language centres around togetherness and is mostly about love and affection through undivided attention. For individuals whose love language is quality time, they feel the most adored when they are spending time with people they love. Active listening and eye contact are important to these people. They actively want to spend time with their significant other and have meaningful conversations.
Unfortunately,the presence of technology has made quality time with others become more and more scarce. Even when we are together, we are all seemingly in our own world – either cyberspace or in our own thoughts. Being in close proximity with one another itself does not constitute quality time. Instead, it is being present, staying in the moment and actively listening to them that constitutes it.
- Physical Touch
Five feet apart. Imagine having to always stay five feet apart and never being able to physically touch, hold hands or even kiss those with love. Not being able to do so might just seem like hell for those whose love language is in fact physical touch. For them, physical signs of affection serve as a powerful emotional connector.
We are each responsible for how we make people feel when we walk away. So, if you love someone, tell them. Waiting for tomorrow might seem like a plan but tomorrow is not promised. So, do it today. It is without a doubt that there ought to be the fear of rejection or causing problems but even then, say it, tell them how you actually feel and go from there. Take the leap of faith and hope, muster up the courage and confess to your crush. Why be ordinary apart when you can be extraordinary together right?
While Valentine’s day has become so commercialised with flowers and fancy fine dining dinners, it does not always have to be that way. If you really love someone, every day should be Valentine’s day and it should be more about who you are spending it with and how you are feeling in that instant. It should be an opportunity for one to create memories with those they love.
Regardless of how you choose to express your love or who you choose to love, all kinds of love should be celebrated. There is no right or wrong as to what a relationship or being in love should feel like. Oftentimes we might imagine love to be all about compromise but the reality is that in a healthy relationship, both parties should make each other want to become a better version of themselves each day and grow together, not stagnant.
What’s your love language? Let’s find out!
- 5 Different Love Languages
- The 5 Love languages explained
- Words of Affirmation
- Quality Time Love Language
- Acts of Service Love Language
- Psychology Behind the love languages
Written by: Sumitra Cheong
Edited by: Jamie