Ignore the marketing hype. Learn the Language of Love.
Someone once said that Valentine’s Day was invented by Hallmark and I’m inclined to agree. Just before February 14th of every year, florists, hotels, airlines and online retailers go into overdrive. The price of a dozen red roses shoots up. We’re suddenly bombarded with images of exotic vacations, luxurious staycations, jewelry and candlelit dinners in fine restaurants.
Everywhere it seems, is the subtle message that we must spoil our partner with shiny new objects. We must buy them stuff to keep Love and Romance alive. Or else. We are not expressing our love. We don’t feel loved. Something is missing in our relationship.
Valentine’s Day has therefore become a day of transactions. The more extravagant the gift, the more we can prove that we are worthy and capable of giving and receiving love. But do we really need to swallow every bit of that marketing hype? The answer is a resounding “No”!
What’s Your Love Language?
According to author Gary Chapman in his bestselling book, The Five Love Languages, there are five ways to express your love. All (but one) do not require spending a single cent. They only require you. Yes, imagine you are your partner’s Valentine present. It involves your giving of time, care and attention to your partner’s needs and concerns. Plus something else.
Chapman believes that all of us hold a primary Love Language — a preference about how we want to love and be loved. It is your sensitivity to your partner’s primary Love Language that keeps your love strong – not Valentine’s Day. Here’s how you can use the Five Love Languages to connect with your partner in a more thoughtful and meaningful way:
Love Language #1 – Words of Affirmation
Is your partner working on a major project, running a marathon or facing a crisis? Words of affirmation like “I know you’ll get through this, I’m here with you and I’m proud of you” go a long way to encourage your partner and make them feel loved and supported.
Love Language – #2 Gifts
The giving and receiving of gifts could be the primary love language of your partner. Don’t begrudge them this pleasure! Not just on Valentine’s Day but on a regular basis, surprise them with small but thoughtful gifts. These gifts should not be extravagant and put you into debt. Give gifts that express your appreciation and understanding of your loved one’s personality, their interests and hobbies.
Love Language #3 – Acts of Service
Lighten the daily chores of your spouse. How about staying home with the kids while she hangs out with her girlfriends? On Valentine’s Day, cook his favourite dish rather than dine out at a pricey restaurant. Offer to empty the trash, walk the dog, fix the leaky faucet, do your share of housework – all acts of service that tell your partner that you care enough to take some load off their shoulders so that they can kick back and relax.
Love Language #4 Quality Time
Express your love by spending quality time with your partner without constantly checking your cell phone! Give your spouse your full attention by practicing active listening as they talk about their concerns. Quality time also means scheduling activities that you both enjoy. For example, going for a walk and planning weekly date and movie nights.
Love Language #5 Physical Touch
If your partner’s primary Love Language is Physical Touch, you will be completely missing the mark if you merely buy them an expensive Valentine’s Day gift and then rush off to your next appointment without touching, kissing or hugging them. Physical touch, affectionate cuddling and lovemaking deepen the intimacy and connection between a couple. If this is missing in your marriage and relationship, no amount of money or extravagant gifts can ever compensate for its loss.
Ultimately, Chapman’s Five Love Languages prove one thing: It takes more than just Valentine’s Day and consumerism to keep love alive. If we can all devote ourselves to mastering these love languages and more crucially, to understanding our partner’s primary love language, there would be fewer divorces and broken relationships. And we wouldn’t burn a hole in our pockets falling for marketing hype and cheap romance.
If you want to learn how to improve your relationship with your loved one and keep a cool head when making money decisions as a couple, sign up for my Money Mastery workshop here.