Do you want help with your relationship with family members and friends? Are you struggling to make connections and it seems the other person is speaking a foreign language? By this, I do not mean that you’re speaking English and the other person is speaking Spanish. I’m talking about the five languages of love described in Dr. Gary Chapman’s “The 5 Love Languages”.
For this blog post, I’ll be focusing on “Words of Affirmation”. It’s not just about a kind word or two. After reading the related chapter, I can see there’s a lot more to it. I’d like to share my own perspective on what I learned in Dr. Gary Chapman’s “The 5 Love Languages“. I’ll be doing the same thing for the other four love languages. Before we continue, let’s start with the obvious question.
What is a “love language”? The idea of a love language comes from Dr. Gary Chapman’s book, “The 5 Love Languages”. If you don’t know, Dr. Gary Chapman is an experienced marriage counselor and has been married for at least 45 years. Dr. Chapman developed the idea of love languages after 20 years as a marriage counselor.
Why should you care about love languages? It’s not just for married couples. The 5 Love Languages can easily be applied to any relationship. For each person receives and expresses love in five general categories. Each person receives and expresses love in five general categories.
I encountered this concept some years ago. Over time, I have seen it come up in different places. Because I do have an interest in inner healing, I have found the 5 Love Languages to be quite interesting. Yet, I need to give a caveat, here.
In truth, we speak in all five of these languages. So, you will benefit from learning about each love languages. What are they? The 5 Love Languages that Dr. Chapman describes are “Words of Affirmation”, “Quality Time”, “Act of Service”, “Gift” and “Touch”. Yet, we have one or two primary love languages. Would you like to discover your love language? Go here and take the quiz at 5LoveLanguages.com.
As Dr. Gary Chapman and others have pointed out, every human being’s desires to be appreciated and a kind word can go a long way. In some ways, we all speak the language of “Words of Affirmation”. Yet, it is the primary language for one group of individuals. Have you ever heard of this quote from Proverbs 18:21?
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.Proverbs 18:21 NASB
If you or your spouse’s love language is “Word of Affirmation” then a kind word will have a much greater impact than someone with a different love language. I have to thank Tyler and Michelle of Crated Love for providing some additional insight on this language. You can read “Words of Affirmation Explained” on their site. Here’s what I learned.
If your partner’s love language is Word of Affirmation then you need to repeatedly say words of appreciation. You can’t just say “I love you”, once or twice. They need to hear words of appreciation, words of encouragement and kind words. They need to hear it on a consistent basis. They need it a lot more than someone whose love language is “Quality Time” or any other love language.
Here’s another thought for you to ponder. It needs to be authentic and not false flattery. It doesn’t work. If exposed, the result could be quite nasty. My love language is not Words of Affirmation and I do know what it means to walk around guarding your heart for fear of being hurt. “Can I trust what you’re saying?” was my thoughts. For the Affirmation type, I imagine the pain is a lot deeper.
If the above paragraph describes you then I encourage you to not hold on to bitterness or the pains of past hurts. I am aware that you may feel the pain a lot deeper than me because you thrive on affirmation. I can tell you about how God helped me. Years ago, I suffered nasty abuse at my summer job. A couple of years later, I felt a need to forgive my tormentors. It is really Jesus who helped me, to forgive them.
God is no respecter of person. He’s able to help you with forgiving that person. With God’s help, I was able to move on. The same thing can be true for you. Be not afraid to talk with God, the Father about it. You can definitely trust Jesus
Here is another aspect of this love language called “Words of Affirmation”. How do I talk with such a person about a problem? You simply tell the person the truth. It needs to be done with humility, gentleness and kindness. The key is the tone of voice and the words you speak. Here are some great tips from Proverbs.
15 A gentle answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.Proverbs 15:1 NASB
15 By forbearance a ruler may be persuaded,
And a soft tongue breaks the bone.Proverbs 25:15 NASB
20 He who gives attention to the word will find good,
And blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.
21 The wise in heart will be called understanding,
And sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.
22 Understanding is a fountain of life to one who has it,
But the discipline of fools is folly.
23 The heart of the wise instructs his mouth
And adds persuasiveness to his lips.
24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb,
Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.Proverbs 16:20-24 NASB
I think that you get the idea. Harsh words accomplish nothing but anger and resentment. It also does not help by nagging the individual. In Dr. Chapman’s book, Gary shares the story of a woman who is frustrated with her husband. She kept nagging him about painting the bedroom. Dr. Chapman gave her a piece of advice and it seems to work. I’ll let you figure it out. I already gave you a hint.
In my research on this topic, I came across a good piece of advice found on a site called Verily. In an article called “The Best Way to Speak to a Partner Whose Love Language Is Words of Affirmation“, Krizia Liquido points out that It’s not just letters, text messages or phone calls, here and there. It’s both “What you say” and “How you say”. She’s right.
Here’s another thought for you. If you’re a Word of Affirmation person then you might think that everyone should be speaking your love language. After all, everyone likes to receive a word of encouragement or a kind word. There is just one problem with this theory. We do not all naturally speak the same love language.
That’s right. Our love language is simply how we communicate our love and receive love. Yet, no two people are exactly the same. Your spouse may be a “Quality Times” person and you are a “Word of Affirmation” person. She is going to show and receive love differently than you.
She probably prefers that you spend some quality time with her and show some evidence of interest in her. Words won’t cut it. By the way, “Quality Times” is going to be the next blog post. So, you can expect some more details. I am definitely going to have fun learning more about my own language.
What are some examples of Words of Affirmation that I learned about? The first one is Encouragement. Words of Encouragement aren’t just a kind word or two. It’s about lifting up the person and imparting courage to the individual. “It may not look like it; however, you do have the ability to be a capable writer. Don’t be afraid to develop your skills. You can do it.” is a good example of giving encouragement.
Kind words are another form of affirmation. “You look good in that outfit” is one example. It’s simply a compliment or a kind word given to someone. It’s best done with sincerity. Another form of affirmation is a word of appreciation. People do like hearing that; even if it is a little late. Unfortunately, there is always someone who needs a push in the right direction.
Here is the last one. Dr. Chapman calls it, Words of Humility. In that chapter, he does go into details on what he’s talking about. A friend once told me, “Which is better? Is it worth being right at the expense of your relationship?” If you say “relationship” then words of humility are your friends. It simply means that you value your relationship more than being right.
I would like to thank you for reading this blog post and I’m looking forward to writing the next one. If you have any comments, please leave it in the comment section, below.