Have you ever taken inventory of all the ways there are to show someone love? I recently attended a 5 Love Languages event where the author, Gary Chapman, expounded on each of the love languages and their importance. Did you know that we can be active in genuinely loving someone without them ever feeling loved? How can that be?
When we love, we have a tendency to give it our way — the way we’ve been loved, or the only way we know how. Even more often, the way we desire to be loved is the way we show it. If you do any of those and your love recipient doesn’t have your same love language, they may be silently screaming, ‘You don’t love me!’
One of the most exciting times of love is when it’s new. Yet, ‘new love’ isn’t the definition of love, nor its best testimony. If you expect the tangible effects of new love to remain after time passes, you’re likely to be disappointed. Also, if you base your motivation to love on “feelings” of love, or wait for feelings to fuel your loving behavior, then the people you love are going to be disappointed. (Ask me how I know!) We all must make the decision to love unselfishly in the long term.
How can we do that? What are some practical ways to show love, beyond the norms? Particularly now that Valentine’s Day is over and we aren’t being graded on our love expressions by those watching, we must be intentional and hopefully, creative.
In the song “One Hundred Ways,” James Ingram suggests ways to love a woman well and ensure that someone else doesn’t steal her away. Here are a few suggestions highlighted in the song, plus a few of my own. Any of these look familiar? More importantly, are you doing any of them?
10 Practical Ways to show love AFTER Valentine’s Day:
- Compliment him/her
- Send flowers just because
- Play his/her favorite song when they come in or get in the car
- Be vulnerable and communicate plainly how you feel
- Be observant and keep finding new things they like
- Share your innermost thoughts & dreams (builds trust!)
- Learn their love language
- Be their friend (and when possible, get to know their friends)
- Spend time just listening to them talk without interrupting
- Pray for them
Sure, some of those seem obvious and maybe even cliché, but that’s the beauty of the K.I.S.S. method, right? (Keep it simple, Sammy/Sally!) There are books to help you with #7, and there’s also a quick quiz to help you know your own love language. Click here to get started.
Let’s talk #8 and #10.
#8 – Be their friend and when possible, get to know their friends. Why is this important? When going through a rough break-up, I began to wonder why my male friends seemed to “get” me and appreciate our relationship more than my love interests. After reflection and some deep conversations, I realized that I’d entered relationships with love interests, not with friends. There are things someone who no longer “feels” love for you anymore will do, that your friend — even of the opposite sex — never will. There’s a different connection there; a depth that is intimate, though not sexual. The first part of Proverbs 17:17 says,
A friend loves at all times.
Therefore, choose to prioritize friendship so that when the honeymoon is over, your relationship isn’t!
#10 – Pray for them! Why is this important? Because the more you pray for them, you can begin trusting God with the good and bad parts of them. When we are getting to know someone, we are prone to love everything they do. When we get frustrated, we’re likely to be annoyed by everything they do. But if we’ve been engaging in prayer for them in the good and bad times, we are further removed from making emotional decisions during that frustrating time. Your relationship may not always outlast the bad times, but prayer can help keep bad times from getting ugly.
What are some ways that you show love year-round? Please feel free to share in the comments!