Several years ago I wrote a post talking about the seven types of words that help a relationship… well, it’s changed. The good news is this is proof that I do my best to adapt and grow my ideas just as I encourage others to do. Since I did that post I’ve been using it with clients in my therapy office and they’ve helped me adapt it to a list of ten, which leads to a bonus lesson today: We need to be open to other people’s ideas in order to be at our best. Unfortunately, many people get stuck on proving their own ideas. Even therapists are guilty of this. For instance, I contacted the author of The Five Love Languages, a bestselling marriage book that inspired today’s exercise. I contacted his company in order to point out that I have three new love languages, but they didn’t care. I’m sure others have given suggestions like I did, but they continue to be stuck on the five. Not only is this foolish on their part because it limits the overall benefit of the exercise, adding on love languages gives a whole new book option on which they can sell and make money. Instead, they choose to be stuck in their old mindset, which is the opposite of what a healthy role model should be doing.
The Five Love Languages teaches that there are different ways we can share love with someone. Using my own words to summarize the languages, they are (this is a bonus exercise):
- Quality Time: Fifteen minutes that’s very focused on each other
- Touch: Things like hugs, cuddling, and hand holding help the person feel loved
- Gifts: Symbols that show we are remembered and understood
- Actions: Actions speak louder than words
- Words: We’ll look at this below
- Physical Presence: Being in the same room or house as someone gives you comfort or when you plan an event people showing up means a lot to you
- Fun: Doing things together where the focus is more on the activity and spending time together like sports or walking around a fair
- Independence: Not feeling controlled
Everyone needs these eight categories in some capacity in order to feel loved. This order can vary depending on the relationship. For instance, how you experience love with your sister can be different than how you experience love with your wife… hopefully there’s some difference. There can also be variations in the order depending on the time in relationship. For instance, when my wife and I were dating she was obsessed with cuddling, but after getting married and living together this decreased, and then since having a baby she doesn’t really care at all. She gets all the touch she needs from the baby and would rather actions: (me) “Do you want me to cuddle you or get up with the baby in the morning?” (wife) “It’s cute that you need to ask.”
Today’s exercise takes the category of “Words” and breaks it down into ten categories. Like the love languages, we will have a list of the most to least important with this changing depending on who we are with and the period we are in with the person. What you want to do with this list is to figure out what your list looks like and then your partner’s (order the lists most to least important) and consider how you can do more of what each other needs.
10 Types of Words to Help you Feel Loved
- Appreciation: There are different ways to show appreciation, so it’s wise to know what helps you feel this.
- Apology/Ask Forgiveness: Apologizing it recognizing the other person was hurt and NOT necessarily that you did anything wrong. How it’s done can vary from “I’m sorry,” “Please forgive me,” “I’m sorry and this is how it won’t happen again,” to “I’m sorry this is what I should’ve done.”
- Dreaming/Imagining Words: This all about imagining a different kind of world like “If we were to get married, what would you want the wedding to be like?” “If we could afford to go anywhere in the world where would it be?” and “What would you do if I died?”
- Encouraging Words: These are words that offer support and… encouragement.
- Engaging Words: These are words that start and continue a conversation that can go beyond surface conversation.
- Fact and Story Sharing: This shares things that are learned or have happened to us.
- Fun and Joking Words: This is about being silly and/or clever as a way to bond.
- Greeting/Goodbye/Good night: How we leave and return can make a big difference for how the rest of the day goes.
- I love you: Some people need this like a good bye or more on special occasions
- Praise & Compliments: These are words that bring up our strengths.
May this be the start of sharing love in a stronger way.
Rev Chad David, www.ChadDavid.ca, Learning to love dumb people