As a child, I was never the most enthusiastic of readers and as a consequence, I could never later on as an adult engage in conversations about meaningful childhood books. However, things changed dramatically after the age of 19, when I discovered that books were indeed a powerful “weapon” of the mind; I had no other choice than to agree with Huxley and Kipling, when they said that: “Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly — they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.”…and my all-time favourite, “Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”
But what does this have to do with love languages? Well, everything, if you speak in “Words of Affirmation”! Let’s start from the premises that we all feel loved in different ways and that everybody likes hearing nice things. Although that might be true for most, some people find verbal affirmation more important and meaningful than the rest. That doesn’t mean they’re fishing for compliments or that they’re the most insecure people on the planet. Far from it! It just means their primary love language is “Words of Affirmation”.
Such individuals feel the need to hear their partners communicate their thoughts loudly and/or in writing. For a person who desires and thrives when they hear a compliment, taking out the trash or a hug won’t cut it. For those who speak this love language, it’s important to receive the following: praise, compliments and support in the form of verbal reassurance.
Before I go any further, I’d like to make a significant distinction: generally speaking, women need vocal recognition for who they are, which translates into compliments, whereas men prefer getting acknowledged for what they do, in other words, praise.
OK, so we’ve covered this aspect. The next step here is to give specific examples. For a woman, it’s not enough to say “Honey, thank you for doing the laundry”, but rather “This dress brings out your eyes/compliments your figure/etc”. And a man doesn’t necessarily want to hear the typical “I love you”, but more something like “You’re such a caring and loving father/husband” or “I’m grateful you provide for our family”.
Now that you know you should customize your “words of affirmation”, let’s move on to other three things you can do in order to synchronize with your partner’s love language.
Firstly, minimize the bad and maximize the good. Ask yourself: What were the things that made me fall in love with him/her in the first place? Identify those aspects and use them to pleasantly surprise your partner; send a text message, leave a sticker on the fridge, or if you’re the romantical type, why not, write a card or a letter.
Have you verbally recognized your loved one’s worth? Excellent! Another recommendation to you is to make he/she feel special in public. Of course, I’m not advocating you shout on the street, nor am I encouraging you to write “I love you” on the sky… No. What I’m suggesting is that you show you value your lover or spouse when you’re going out with friends or at a party, for instance. Drop compliments or words of appreciation and see how their face will light up the room!
The third thing on the menu is how to react when your partner is down or feels insecure. It’s plain to guess this person doesn’t need patronizing or sarcasm, so remarks like “I told you not to push for that raise! Now look what happened!” have no business here. For one whose love language is “Words of Affirmation”, they’ll need honest reassurance, a positive attitude on your part and see that you’re drawing attention on his/her area of competence, rather than incompetence.
Below you’ll see a list of useful comments you can use so that you can tap into your partner’s love language and thus, be on the same page!
- You are Beautiful (in a world that is telling woman so many things about their appearance, this one is my absolute favorite).
- Look how much our kids love you!
- You are doing a fantastic job!
- I love your smile!
- How are you so creative?
- You never cease to amaze me!
- You look really good in that!
- I’ll never stop loving you!
- You are so smart!
- You are FUN!
- You are incredible!
- I love the way you…
- I LOVE you!
- Thank you for your support!
- I thought about you today when…
- There’s my man!
- You are wonderful!
- Thank you for listening!
- I trust you completely!
- Thanks for fixing that!
- How can I help?
- I love to watch you be a dad!
- What a gentleman you are!
- Thanks for all your help around the house!
- I trust you with everything!
- You are incredible!
- I love being with you!
- You are an amazing husband
- I’m lucky to have you!
- You know exactly what I need!
Hearing sweet words sure is nice, isn’t it? But how do you react to them? Are you equally nice and vocal? Here are some tips on how to accept affirmation such as praise, encouragement, or compliments so that the person giving them is comfortable to give more in the near future!
- Say “Ah, thank you” and smile or wink.
- Give him/her a kiss.
- Say “You make me feel special. Thank you.”.
- Or “I’m really pleased you notice – thank you”.
- Or “That’s very encouraging – thank you”.
- Give a hug as you thank them.