According to the best-selling book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts there are five different ways in which people like to give and receive affection towards their loved ones. Problems arise in relationships when we don’t realize that people have these different ways of giving love. One person may feel unloved if their partner doesn’t tell them explicitly about their feelings every day while another could never hear “I love you” but be totally blissful as long as they spend hours together watching Netflix every week. If you or your partner’s love language is words of affirmation, here are some things to keep in mind.
1. “Show, don’t tell” doesn’t apply to this person. You may think you’re doing more than enough by demonstrating time and time again that you love your partner, but unless they hear it in explicit words from you, they won’t feel loved in the way you want them too.
2. This isn’t an insecurity, remember that everyone experiences love differently. Hearing you put your feelings into words is how a “words of affirmation’ person needs to experience yours.
3. There’s no such thing as “too many” compliments.
4. Consider writing your words down for special occasions. A heartfelt card or letter that contains a few sentences about why you love them is something they will cherish for years and reread hundreds of times. To a words person, this gift will be much more meaningful than something expensive.
5. If you’re not a “words” person, know that what you say to your partner doesn’t have to be flowery. They love you, they chose you. They want to hear what you think, in your own words, even if they aren’t so eloquent.
6. Take time to praise your partner daily in the things that matter to them. If they are a writer, tell them what you like about their writing. If they take time to clean the house, praise them for their efforts. If you notice that they look extra attractive that day, tell them. Get in the habit of thinking out loud whenever your thinking about them is positive.
7. Try not to miss an opportunity to express how you feel on special occasions. If you use store bought cards, don’t simply rely on the pre-packaged words — add a few of your own.
8. Keep your relationship healthy and happy by sending them an unexpected message a few times a week letting them know they’re on your mind — or just that you love them. If it seems silly, think about how you wish your partner would communicate to you in your love language unprompted throughout the week.
9. Affirm your partner when they’re down. Listen to what they say without interrupting, let them feel heard. Then support them by reminding them about all the good qualities they possess that will get them through this difficult time.
10. Remember that no relationship ever failed because someone said “I love you” too often.
11. Don’t lie. Words of affirmation people need kind words from their partner, but this doesn’t mean they want fake ones. These insincere words can often be worse than none at all. Remember that your words don’t have to be grand, they just have to be true. “Your arms make me feel safe and I love being hugged by them” is so much more satisfying to hear than “you’re the most handsome man in the world” — when they know it isn’t true.