My (former) partner is not a person of many words (INFJ <3). He said something that made me feel very appreciated and special. He said, "I choose to be with you." It made me smile the biggest smile, and I felt warm all over. Those were his words, and in my mind I thought:
"Out of seven billion people, my heart chose yours, and for as long as my time on Earth will allow, I will continue to love you to the best of my abilities. I will love you, cherish you, and part of that includes reminding you how important you are in my life on a continual basis because it's important to you to be treated special every day."
So what is it about these words? Why do they have so much magic over me? I think it has to do with one of my predominant love languages, words of affirmation, and my definitions of affection. To me, words mean more than gifts. I have never been much of a gift person, but if someone makes time to help me with chores or tell me genuine words of appreciation, I feel very loved.
Do you know your love languages? Sometimes how we give may not always be the same as how we want to receive. When I love someone, I will show affection by cleaning for them. It's not only because I dislike dust or the accumulation of dirt and germs. I genuinely care for the other person too. It's a win/win!
5 Love Languages:
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch
This website can help determine one's love languages, but making a thorough list (20 items+) can also individualize what is important. For example, when making a list, think of an important relationship in your life. List all (big or small) things this person does to show care. Categorize each item with its corresponding love language (some may belong to 2 or 3 categories). Tally and see which language is the most important to you.
- helps wash dishes (acts of service)
- holds my hand (physical touch)
- says he appreciates me (words of affirmation)
- watches movies with me (quality time/physical touch)
- encourages me to pursue my dreams (words of affirmation)
Try it out!
Go over the completed list with your partner/loved one. It can help encourage him or her to continue showing care how you want and like to be cared for. Going over the list can help open a dialogue about which displays of affection matter to one another most, and how to maintain a stronger connection together.
Maintaining open communication about wants for affection are important because many of us have this notion of, "Isn't it given that I care?" Well, yes and no. Relationships are like gardens to maintain, and with that time, energy, and commitment are required. Have you ever tried to keep a garden green? Oh my goodness, it takes a lot of commitment! Relationships and gardens get weeds sometimes, and need constant tending. People pay for gardeners to feed and weed their gardens, sometimes couples need to pay psychotherapists or couple's counselors to help feed and weed their relationships.
Continuous appreciation and open communication is the water for your love garden. If you forget to water it long enough, it's going to wither. Then the leaves with fall off, and the flowers will blossom less often. Maybe you won't get any fruit for a while. Maybe the fruit will stop. Might as well water the garden continuously so you won't have to start from the beginning. The lesson learned? Water your love garden every day!
Reference: Gary Chapman - 5 Love Languages
Additional Reading & Image Source: How to Speak Your Partner's Love Language