If I say to you, ‘Te Amo mucho!’ you might be wondering what’s wrong with me … that’s unless you speak a little Spanish. In Spanish, ‘Te Amo mucho’ means, “I love you very much!” As you can see, these words only have meaning if the person I am speaking to understands the language I am using.
As we develop relational intelligence, it’s very important that we let the people in our world know that we love them. But how do you say ‘I love you’ in a way that people understand and sense our love?
In many ways, love is like a language and there are a variety of love languages that we can use to communicate the love that’s in our heart for someone special.
Here are five common love languages:
- Encouraging words. Words have a powerful way of communicating love. People can’t read our minds but when we tell them how we think and feel about them, it communicates the love and appreciation we have for them.
- Helping someone. Simply doing something for someone else is a practical way to show love. It could be helping them move house, or setting up a new app on their computer, or writing a resume. Anything we DO to help others, communicates love.
- Giving a gift. When we buy a gift, even something small, we communicate care and appreciation for the other person. After all, it takes thought, time, effort, and money.
- Spending time with someone. In our busy, frenetically-paced lives, the gift of time is often one of the most valuable of all.
- Use appropriate physical touch – depending on the type of relationship, of course.
It is important for us to realise that each of us gives and receives love using one or more of these languages.
So for example, if your friend’s love language is encouraging words and yours is giving gifts … they may not be feeling your love, despite all the things you BUY for them. And saying, “I told you I loved you 5 years ago – if anything changes, I’ll let you know!” simply won’t work for them. They need to hear those words regularly if that is their love language.
If your partner’s love language is quality time and yours is helping, again they may not be feeling your love, even though you may be spending hours doing all sorts of things for them.
Take the time to understand and learn the love language of those around you (your family and friends) and then endeavour to communicate love to them in a language that they really understand. In doing so, they’ll sense the love that is in your heart for them.
And be sure to let other people know what your love language is too! This has been Soul Food with Mark Conner. See you next week!
You can watch a video of this episode on the Soul Food YouTube Channel.