Congratulations, everyone. The ooey-gooey, lovey-dovey holiday has come and gone yet again. Want to know something great about Valentine's Day, though? It's not the only time of the year when love is relevant. There are 364 other days in the year; how cool is that? That adds up to 365 whole days of love being a vital aspect of life.
In order to further understand the one thing that makes the world go 'round, it's important to understand that everyone is different. There's this fun little thing called a love language, which essentially explains how people feel loved. Knowing your personal love language and the love language of the important people in your life can and will do wonders in improving relationships. Dr. Gary Chapman, relationship counselor and author of "The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate," created a (free) test that assesses and teaches people about their own personal ways of showing and feeling love.
So, without further ado, here's a look at the five love languages:
1. Quality Time
What it means: You feel loved when time and attention are devoted to you.
How to love these people: Mute the TV, put down your phone, look them in the eye and just listen. When they're having a bad day, cancel your plans so you can spend time with them. If you both have work to get done, let them, at least, be in your presence while you both do it. Stop what you're doing, dedicate your time and focus on them and watch as they get happier and happier.
2. Words of Affirmation
What it means: You feel loved when reassuring (and affirming) words are spoken to you.
How to love these people: Realize that in this case, actions don't actually speak louder than words. Formulate compliments that you can shower them with. Tell them you're proud of them. Tell them they mean the world to you. Be nice, be upbeat, be encouraging. Suck it up and tell them you love them.
3. Acts of Service
What it means: You feel loved when tasks are handled and favors are done for you.
How to love these people: In contrast to the previous love language, these people believe that actions speak louder than words. Go ahead and take out the trash before they ask you to. Sweep the floors or cook dinner when they've had a stressful day, give them a foot rub after they've been on their feet for a while. Do anything you can to serve them and help them out with their list of responsibilities.
4. Physical Touch
What it means: You feel loved when you're being held or touched.
How to love these people: Disclaimer: Physical touch does not necessarily mean actions like the ones that take place on the honeymoon. This person just wants you to be touchy. Hold their hand. Cuddle them while you watch that movie together. Kiss them every now and then. Hug them tight when they're upset. Pat them on the back when you're proud of them. Hold their cheek when you compliment them; it's the little things for these people.
What it means: You feel loved when you're given something thoughtful.
How to love these people: Think thoroughly about something special they might need, or even something special they might just want. Go out and get them that something special. This can be something as big as tickets to one of Beyoncé's upcoming concerts or something even as small as a bouquet of flowers. This isn't about the greediness of materialism; this is purely about the thought behind gift giving. You'll make them feel extra loved if you're observant enough to remember the things they mention needing or wanting.
So, all of you lovebirds out there, I would strongly recommend taking Dr. Chapman's test and figuring out how you, your partner and even your family can show each other love. Don't just take this test once and forget about it, though. My boyfriend and I took this at the very beginning of our relationship and practiced showing each other love in the necessary ways, and we've repeated that process at least once every year since.
It's important to know that as humans, we change (as do our maturity levels, our preferences and conveniently, our love languages). We change and it's important to know how to adapt to that change, so make it a habit to practice showing each other love in the most efficient way and being open about feeling love.
So, in short: Take the test, internalize the results then love, love, love.