Ah, the spoken and written language of love. The speakers of this love language long to hear and read that they are loved. This doesn’t mean that they need to hear those three little words time and time again (although, I’m sure they won’t turn it down). Instead, they’re looking for words in everything that you say to them, around them, and about them.
For those of us who aren’t as vocally expressive, it can be very difficult to provide the love our affirmation partners are searching for. After several million “I love you’s”, they begin to wonder if you really mean it anymore. We, on the other hand, just aren’t sure of any other way to creatively express ourselves outside of those three words. And if you’re anything like me and inherited a more quiet, not-so-complimentary disposition, it can be extremely painful to come up with one new way to affirm your partner a day, let alone the other 364 days. This struggle is actually what inspired me to write this blog.
In order to really reach the Words of Affirmation individual, you have to put time and thought behind your actions and words. You can’t just choose a random phrase that you hear and share it with them. They’re attentive listeners and will want to know more about why you said that or how you came up with the particular thought. No, it’s not to grill you – they just want to understand the love that’s going on behind the scenes. So take it from me – if you’re going to use a line you read in a book because it sounded wonderful, be sure you actually mean it. They’ll know if you’re being fake.
Instead of ripping off one-liners from shows, movies, and books, we should actually pay attention to our partners and *gasp* observe them. Pay attention to what books and shows they’re drawn to – what kind of language goes on between the characters. Listen to how your partner interacts with others – do they compliment or build other people up? Re-read notes, letters, emails, and texts that they’ve sent you – what are some common themes? Really study them (no don’t stare) as you have conversations with them. Notice how they interact with you verbally. This is usually a good indication of how they want to be spoken to because they’re always communicating in their own love language.
So now, how do we express our love to our partners?
If you’re really struggling to come up with ideas of what to say or where to begin, Dr. Chapman recommends keeping a Words of Affirmation journal. As you hear things that your partner says, your friends say about their partners, or if you hear something elsewhere, jot it down. In this day and age, you could easily record these on the memo/notepad app on your smartphone. If you’re not sure what to say somedays, this can be a handy reference… just don’t bring it out in front of your partner! That kills the whole romance part of it.
At the same time, you need to be sure that you are being sincere. Your partner is very in tune with their feelings and if they get the sense that you’re just saying things because you think they need to hear something (not because you truly mean it), this will anger them. If your partner is having a rough time at work, focusing on that aspect and building them up in that area would be the most loving thing you could do or say. I can’t stress this enough: you must mean what you say. Otherwise, you’re better off keeping your mouth shut and not saying anything at all.
One final thing I do want to mention, and then we’ll get to the fun ideas! Be aware of your partner’s moods and view of themselves. I have found that often times, people who speak the affirmation love language actually suffer from low levels of self-love. They look outwards for gratification, affirmation – anything to prove that they are accepted and loved. They may be very critical of themselves, which only deepens their need for words of affirmation. If they seem very low or talking down about themselves, be sure to speak up and squash that fallacy. Be the voice of reason for them and that will demonstrate your love for them in a far greater way than you can imagine.
Final word of caution: Start off SLOW. Don’t overdue it in the first week (or day) and overload your partner with so much. I say this for two reasons.
- If this is totally out of character for you, they may question your sincerity if you go overboard.
- They may LOVE it and expect this same level of affirmation everyday. So unless you plan on keeping it up to that intensity, it’s better to start slow and not let them down.
Ok….here we go!!!
20 Ways For You to Start Speaking the Language
- Leave a note inside of their favorite food item. For example, if you live with the Cookie Monster, leaving a note on their Oreos or Chips Ahoy! You can also hide a note on the inside of their favorite breakfast cereal. Or, leave a note in their lunch box. Do you remember how excited you would get to see what note your parents wrote for you everyday? Well, this practice isn’t just for little kids! Everyone likes surprises. Really, just hide notes anywhere!
- Praise your partner when others are around or even when they aren’t around. Instead of venting or complaining, make it a point to highlight something that they’ve done. Even though it’s not said to them, hearing that you are talking positively about them will build them up!
- Create a display of love notes, sharing the reasons why you love your partner!
- When the two of you go out of town, even if it’s just for the weekend, mail your partner a postcard so they’ll have mail waiting when they come home. Bonus: share how much you enjoyed the time you spent together.
- Or, write them a love letter and mail it to them. Even if you live together, take the letter to the post office and mail it to them. Everyone loves receiving mail!
- Write them a thank you or gratitude note, thanking them for something that they’ve done that touched you.
- Make a video clip telling your partner why you fell in love with them! Or, use the 1 Second Video app to make a montage of videos!!
- While your partner is showering, leave them a love note on the mirror.
- Write a poem for your partner. Or, if you’re not that clever, find one that speaks to your heart and share it with them.
- Before you fall asleep at night, or as you wake up in the morning, tell them how grateful you are to have another day with them.
- If your partner is an avid reader or studying for a big exam, make them a bookmark that has an encouraging quote on it!
- Take a set of Post-It Notes and write down one thing you love about your partner on every note. When completed, leave it somewhere they’ll eventually come across it and watch the look of surprise on their face!
- If you know they’ve got an especially tough day ahead of them, call their office and leave a voicemail so you’re the first message they hear before starting their day.
- Send a text or an email, not to ask for them to do something, but just to say “I love you”, “I miss you”, or “I can’t wait to see you again.”
- Hide Post-It Notes in their wallet/purse or somewhere they’ll eventually find them.
- Create a scrapbook of memories!
- Collect compliments and create a compliments scrapbook for your partner.
- Create a “Top 20 Reasons” list for why you love them or why they’re awesome. Bonus: laminate or frame it!
- Write “open when” letters and give them to your partner to be used at a later time. Each enveloped states when the letter should be opened. For example: Open when you’re sad. Open when you want to hold my hand. Open when you’re halfway through deployment.
- Make a coupon book that can be redeemed for “let me tell you….”
In addition to gifts, you can also learn to build your speaking skills by taking the time to really delve into your partner’s love language. This article by Verily Mag shares some fantastic information on how to build a stronger dialogue between you and your partner. One of the rituals they describe is called the “Three Things”. Every night, they tell each other one thing that they regret doing/not doing, what they are thankful for, and how they know that their partner is “the one” for them. I know for a fact that the last one would make my partner’s heart soar if I shared that on a daily basis!
Bonus printable: Words of Affirmation
I hope you found a few cute ideas to use with your affirmation seeking partner. Be sure to share with us your favorite ways to express love through words of affirmation!! See you next week!! ❤️