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The 5 Love Languages: Words of Affirmation

October 1st, 2009 photos by WeddingsInWinnipeg.ca
 
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Everyone has a specific way in which they communicate "I love you." Gary Chapman, author of the best-selling Five Love Languages series and the director of Marriage and Family Life Consultants, Inc. has travelled the world teaching people how to communicate love effectively. The five primary love languages that Chapman has found are words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. This month we are going to dive deeper into the love language words of affirmation.

Verbal Compliments
Mark Twain once said, "I can live for two months on a good compliment." Although that technically means he would only need six compliments a year, he was trying to emphasize the importance of expressing love through words that build up. King Solomn said in the Bible that "the tongue has the power of life and death." Both men were trying to paint the same picture, that our words are important tools and that they are very powerful.

Chapman explains that "verbal compliments are powerful communicators of love" Compliments are expressed in simple statements like "You look great in that suit!" "Wow that dress looks fabulous on you!" "You make the best chocolate cake in the world!" "I really appreciate you doing the laundry." Although you may not use the exact words "I love you", compliments communicate love in an even more powerful way for someone who's primary love language is words of affirmation. As someone who's primary love language is words, I know first-hand that the smallest compliments can become the most motivating and inspiring words. The more my husband notices and shares verbally that he loves my cooking or appreciates me doing the dishes, the more I want to do those things and can even find joy in the tasks. However, it is important to note that the object of love is never to manipulate and use words to get something that you want done but for the benefit of the one you love.

Encouraging Words
Just as there are many dialects in one language, there are also many dialects in each love languages. Verbal compliments is one way to communicate love and encouraging words is another. Encouraging words means to "inspire courage." All of us contain some unlocked potential because we simply lack the courage to accomplish it. Encouraging words are often a key to unlocking that potential and your spouse should be the primary encourager in your life. Take some time to think about that, what hidden potential do you see in your spouse? You have the ability to help them reach that potential simply by encouraging them in that area on a regular basis.

In my own life, I never would have dreamed that I'd be publishing a successful magazine on a monthly basis and producing a great wedding show, especially while raising a very active two year old, running a household and being a supportive wife. In fact, when we decided to start a magazine, I told my husband that there was no way I could do it every month but his encouraging words have been a great strength in this endeavour. That's not to say that I've got it all together but I am realizing everyday the power of a supportive and encouraging husband. Encouragement is so vital in a relationship because it shows that you care and that you want to help.

Kind Words
A third dialect in words of affirmation is kind words. It is a very simple concept but you must use kind words in order to communicate love verbally. "How you say your words adds tremendous weight to their meaning. I love! or I love you? That question mark totally changes things" explains Chapman.

According to the psychologist William James "The deepest human need is to feel appreciated". If you know that your spouse's love language is words and of affirmation and it's not something that comes naturally for you, here are few things that you can do to learn to speak their love languague:

-Set a goal to give your spouse a different compliment every day for one month.
-Write down every compliment you give your spouse and review it at the end of the week to see how well you are doing.
-As you go about your day look for examples of words of affirmation and write them down in a notebook (TV, magazines, newspaper, books etc.)
-Write a love letter to your spouse
-Write a poem to your spouse
-Compliment your spouse's strengths
Based on The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
 

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