Being Fluent in Love Languages

JMB Living Love Languages

As the holidays draw nearer, I’m sure many of us are looking for gifts for our friends and family members. The holidays can be so busy that finding gifts for others can feel like an obligation that you need to get out of the way. This added pressure can detract from the joy and meaning of the holidays and sharing a gift with a loved one. I try to remember that giving someone a gift during a holiday is an opportunity to convey your love for them as you come together to celebrate an occasion. Incorporating mindfulness into gift giving is not as inconvenient as it may seem, and it can even make searching for gifts more enjoyable! Knowing and understanding your own love language and those of the people you give gifts to can make your gifts more impactful and meaningful; utilizing love languages more deeply conveys your care for others and can help you effectively celebrate the holidays.

Giving a tangible present is not the only way to give a gift during the holidays. There are five different love languages: words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, quality time, and gift giving. The love languages are a great tool for reflection in both platonic and romantic relationships. Look back on your relationships and try to recognize patterns of what you do to show someone you care about them. This is your external love language. I found “acts of service” is my internal love language (my favorite way to receive) by taking a test online, but you could also evaluate it yourself through introspection by asking yourself which one you find the most fulfilling in a relationship. You can then use this knowledge to be intentional by asking yourself how you can use your love language and that of another person. Understanding love languages can be used to strengthen relationships by communicating needs and knowing what to ask for when someone wants to do something to show they care. 

If you’re new to love languages or if you need some ideas on how to use them for the holidays, I wanted to share some ideas for incorporating them into your gift giving!

Words of Affirmation

words of affirmation

The words of affirmation love language is all about verbal validation. People whose primary love language is words of affirmation best understand that you care about them when you make sure to articulate your feelings about them and the things you love about them. For the words of affirmation lover in your life, you cannot say things like “I love you” or “I’m proud of you” enough.

This can be translated into a holiday gift by making something that details:

  • what you appreciate and love about someone

  • what they do well that amazes you

  • things they’re good at

  • why you love them

  • things you think and feel about someone, but do not often say, etc.

You can do this by writing a letter or making a scrapbook, photobook, or notebook full of memories and sentiments.

Physical Touch

Physical Touch Love Language

It is likely that if someone’s love language is physical touch, you are already aware of it. This language manifests as many small instances of physical contact, such as hand holding, an arm around a shoulder, hugs filled with emotion (and sometimes a good squeeze), the gentle touch of a hand, and more. Each touch is an effort to be closer and convey how much this person cares.

Although it may seem difficult to “give” physical touch (other than just a hug), there are a few ways to go about recognizing the physical touch love language in a gift:

  • Giving a weighted blanket

  • A gift certificate for a massage

  • Planning a date night that includes

    • cuddling up with a movie

    • dance lessons

    • going out dancing

    • Any activity that intentionally plans an effort to engage in physical touch

Acts of Service

Acts of Service Love Language

The acts of service love language is fairly encompassing. Many acts of service can produce a physical gift, such as any kind of handmade gift. Someone whose love language is acts of service will love any tangible gift that takes time and effort to make. While to some people acts of service just seem like what you would do for anybody, when someone’s love language is acts of service, they see the thought, effort, and time that someone dedicated to help them or do something kind. 

Some acts of service that I would offer someone in my life are:

  • A handmade candle or mala that is related to their preferences

  • Making their favorite meal or a recipe they might like

  • Cleaning their space

  • Organizing a closet

  • Getting their groceries one week

  • Doing yoga together

Quality Time

spending quality time

Everybody enjoys spending time with their loved ones, but when someone’s love language is quality time it is immeasurably more fulfilling. These people do not care what they are doing when they are with someone they care about, they just love being around them and spending time together.

This is surprisingly easy to translate into a gift, as it can be anything that allows for intentional time alone together where you are devoting your attention to the other person, or planning anything that allows for conversation such as:

  • Planning a road trip

  • Going to a museum together

  • Taking them to dinner (or cooking it together)

  • Making something together (art, a craft, building a piece of IKEA furniture for their space, etc.)

  • A gift basket for a night in with a blanket, a movie, popcorn, and hot chocolate

Gift Giving

Gift Giving Love Language

If your external love language is gift giving, it’s likely that you have a natural inclination on how to turn aspects of a loved one’s personality and their interests into the perfect gift. When someone’s internal love language is gift giving, it matters less about the gift and more about the sentiment that you took time to consider this person, what they care about, what they might need, and spent money and time to give them something.

While this seems broad, you can give an impactful gift by evaluating:

  • Things they need for their home

  • Clothes they like or might need

  • Gifts inspired by their favorite music, tv show, movies, or books in the form of

    • Clothes

    • Art prints

    • Physical copies (hardcover books, DVDs, vinyls/CDs)

    • Stickers

    • Candles, incense

I hope this helps you and serves as inspiration in your gift giving and holiday journey as you set out to celebrate the ones you love. The end of the year is such a wonderful time for reflecting on and celebrating relationships. I’d love to hear what your love languages are and the best gifts you’ve given or received so that we all might further inspire each other!

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