06 February 2012

How to Love | Words of Affirmation

"One way to express love emotionally is to use words that build up." --Gary Chapman in The Five Love Languages

So. Today wasn't the easiest day in history to focus on loving my husband. I had a very tired, clingy and easily-exasperated two-year-old. From bath time to reading to playing games to mommy's-taking-a-break-now he was whiny, unhappy and explosive.

But I managed to send a few texts during the afternoon, expressing specific appreciation for my dear husband. And I sent an email to my mother-in-law too {because indirect affirmation can get back to your significant other and make them feel special too}.

  • {12:15pm} mentioned in a letter to my MIL that I love her son's decision making abilities
  • {12:50pm} sent my husband a text message which read "thank you for being such a good listener. i love that." 
  • {2:58pm} another text saying "so glad you're the best night-time parent"
  • {3:06pm} and another text telling him that I'm proud of him for carving out exercise time even though I snagged the coveted time slot {early morning}

One positive element of affirmation is that it points out ways a person has made great choices and serves as encouragement for them to continue on that path toward their goal {ie. good job making time to exercise}.

Tonight, after the kids were happily asleep in their beds, I typed out Ten Things I Love About You and emailed it off to him. Hopefully he'll get it before he goes to bed.

Why go to all this effort on a crazy, emotionally-draining day? Because I love him. Because I want him to feel secure in my love. Because I think he is significant and worth the attention.

Read this by author of The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman:
"The need for significance is the emotional force behind much of our behavior. [...] Feeling loved by a spouse enhances our sense of significance. [...] When my spouse lovingly invests time, energy and effort in me, I believe that I am significant. I am more secure in my self-worth and can now turn my efforts outward instead of being obsessed with my own needs. True love always liberates. [...] Two people who are different can learn to live together in harmony. We discover how to bring out the best in each other. Those are the rewards of love."
That, folks, is totally worth my time.

So, if your spouse just glows after hearing a complement or two, shower him or her with words of affirmation. Don't hold back! Genuinely tell your spouse what you love about them! Big things. Little things. Every day.

"I can live for two months on a good complement." Mark Twain