At the weekend, I attended a birthday party of one of my friends’. He was turning thirty the next day and, just so he wouldn’t suspect anything, his wife called up some of his closest friends to come together the night before and surprised him with a birthday dinner at a very fancy restaurant.
It was a great night. He loved it! Good food, good music, lots of laughter and interesting conversations.
At my end of the very long table, the conversation was particularly interesting. It was about using the line ‘I love you’. It went from “is it okay for a guy to say it to his close friend – another guy?” to someone actually asking me how frequently I say the words ‘I love you’ to people.
It was a shocking revelation to my friends that night as they came to discover that I don’t say ‘I love you’ to friends, my parents, my siblings, or people I don’t really know for that matter.
They asked me “So, what about in church when the preacher asks you to tell your neighbor that you love them?” I responded that I don’t remember any preacher ever saying that. Then I joked that if they ever did, then I would say to my neighbor: “Hey, Jesus loves you, and He lives inside of me so do the math!”
They laughed. But this was still a serious matter to them. I could tell.
I remember one of them, who’s pregnant, asking “Not even to your mum who carried you in her womb for nine months??”
Well, no. Not even to my mum.
As they got to find out, in the course of our conversation, my mum hasn’t even said ‘I love you’ to me. But I know that she does love me. I know this because she shows me that she loves me.
She did, and still does, a lot of things for me in her wonderful Acts of Service.
She celebrates my achievements with me and tells me how proud of me she is, with her uplifting Words of Affirmation.
She always threw birthday parties for me, growing up, and invited all my little friends and made sure they all had little gifts for me on that day because she knew how much I loved Receiving Gifts.
She carried me around – on her back too – even when I was big enough to walk. She probably over-pampered me with too much Physical Touch.
I remember staying up at some nights, waiting for her to return home, then falling asleep on the couch before she did. But she would wake me up; we would eat her dinner together while chatting about our day to each other, spending Quality Time together.
She spoke all the love languages to me. She spoke them through her actions. She didn’t need those words ‘I love you’ to convince me. She showed it. Her actions spoke way louder, and did the job.
‘I love you’ is not a line I throw around carelessly. When my previous dating relationship came to an end, one of the first questions my ex-girlfriend asked me was “what happened to all those ‘I love you’ you said to me?”
So, not surprisingly, in my current relationship it took a very long while before I first said ‘I love you’ to my girlfriend. And I say it so infrequently that she’s actually admitted that it means a whole lot to her whenever I do. It carries a lot more weight because she knows I’m not just saying it. I mean it.
We both read the book The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman in January. It was our ‘book for the month’. It helped us to figure out what our primary love languages are, so that we can better show love to each other; more by acting it out than by merely saying it.
My friend’s wife certainly knew that her husband’s primary love language was Receiving Gifts. So, she gifted him a surprise birthday dinner with his closest friends in attendance. And in the middle of dinner, she pulled out yet another surprise: A huge box, wrapped in a very classy-looking wrapping paper. He gleefully unwrapped it to reveal the Play Station 4 console inside. His night was made.
We all felt the love in the air, just being around them. And I thought to myself… if just the birthday is like this then I wonder what they’ll both do for each other on Valentine’s Day.
But that’s for them to decide. So, what about you? What are you and your significant other doing for Valentine’s? How would you both say ‘I love you’ to each other without speaking the words? What are the things you can do that would communicate to the other that you love them dearly?
It starts with understanding your significant other. It starts with asking them the right questions. Questions that would lead to answers that can help you show your love to them better. And one of such questions is…
What love language do you speak?
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