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5 mins

Know Your Love Language: Learn to Speak Words of Affirmation

The ways we convey and receive love vary from person-to-person. Learn how to identify and express the most verbal of the five love languages.
by Michael Benninger | Sep 27 2019

If you’re in a committed relationship, odds are that you and your partner speak the same language. After all, communication plays a key role in the compatibility of any couple. But when it comes to the language of love, it’s not at all uncommon for two partners to desire different forms of affection or express their emotions in different ways.

Some people, for instance, value time together above all else, while others prefer physical touch. Likewise, gifts represent romance to some, whereas acts of service mean everything to others.

And then there are those who equate words with the essence of love.

For such individuals, verbal expressions of love hold the key to unlocking their hearts. Whether it’s a romantic quote scrawled on a sticky note, or a simple “I love you” uttered before bed, impassioned words resonate with some people much more than they do for others.

If you or your partner primarily perceive love through written or spoken sentiments, “words of affirmation” is likely your love language. And if you want to become fluent in this form of communication, here’s what you need to know.

What Are the Five Love Languages?

In his book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, pastor and marriage counselor Gary Chapman explains how people chiefly convey love through one of five ways: gifts, physical touch, quality time, acts of service, and words of affirmation. He further notes how individuals in relationships can only keep their partner’s “love tank” full when partners learn to communicate in each other’s preferred language.

When two people know how to express themselves in each other’s love language, they’re more likely to enjoy a strong, happy relationship. On the other hand, misunderstandings are more apt to occur when partners let each other’s love tanks run dry. So by putting in the effort to speak each other’s language, couples can unlock increasingly profound levels of love.

Is Words of Affirmation Your Love Language?

Although people generally know what makes them happy in a relationship, not everyone is aware of their love language. If you’re unsure about your heart’s preferred parlance, the simplest way to identify it is to consider what forms of expression give you the greatest joy. And for many people, the warm fuzzies often arise in the wake of sincere, heartfelt words of affirmation.

Most people appreciate verbal praise to some extent, but for those who equate love with words of affirmation, written and spoken expressions matter more than any other demonstration of love. If the following rings true for you, words of affirmation could be your love language:

  • You get a thrill from receiving compliments and unexpected praise
  • You like when others say they care about you or appreciate having you in their lives
  • You love feeling understood and receiving recognition for a job well done

Communicating with Words of Affirmation

Words of affirmation is the only love language that revolves around verbal expression, but that doesn’t mean anyone with the gift of gab is automatically fluent in it. Rather, our hearts use a different vocabulary than our minds, and communicating in this love language requires an alternate approach to expression.

When two partners know how to speak each other’s love language, it’s increasingly likely that they’ll be together for the long haul. At the other end of the spectrum, the lack of such fluency can mean a relationship’s failure. Fortunately, it’s easy to speak your partner’s love language by adding words of affirmation to your life.

How to Express Love Using Words of Affirmation

If words of affirmation isn’t your native love language — but it is your partner’s primary way of experiencing romance — you can keep your other half’s love tank full by incorporating these gestures into your daily habits.

  • Be Encouraging and Empathetic: Consistently share sentiments of support and understanding for your partner’s successes and their struggles.
  • Express Your Admiration: Simple, straightforward compliments — especially when given in public — are an easy way to top-off your partner’s love tank.
  • Leave Love Notes: Written reminders of love can go a long way when you use a pen and paper, although modern text messages are also effective.
  • Create a Custom Playlist: If writing isn’t your strong suit, consider creating (and sharing) a modern-day mixtape with songs that remind you of your lover.
  • Be Vocal in Bed: Expressing your pleasures and desires during intimate relations lets your partner know how good they make you feel, helping them feel more loved.

Tips for Communicating with Words of Affirmation

Here are a couple of additional tips to help you master words of affirmation.

  • Listen and List: If finding the right phrase doesn’t come easy to you, broaden your vocabulary by listening for affirming words during your daily life. Use an app or notepad to store complimentary terms you hear, then work them into your own love language.
  • Compliment, Don’t Criticize: There’s a fine line between words of affirmation that are intended as suggestions and those that are interpreted as demands. Be sure to always offer guidance and never issue ultimatums.

Many of the problems couples face arise because people feel and express love in different ways. But by learning the grammar of the different love languages, individuals in relationships can improve their communication and increase the odds that they’ll stay together for the long haul.

Uplifting words of affirmation can be an incredibly effective way to express emotions. However, this is only one of the ways in which people perceive love. If you’d like to discover the other ways our hearts communicate, learn how to speak all five love languages now, or launch the Blinkist app for an in-depth look at The Five Love Languages or the numerous other books about romantic relationships in our always-expanding library.

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