Are you delving into the different love languages as written about by Dr. Gary Chapman?
If so, you (and your partner) may have already taken the quiz to see which of the languages you tend to lean toward when expressing and receiving love.
One of the five love languages is “words of affirmation,” which is exactly what it sounds like: love and affection expressed in words, whether verbal or written.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you/your partner don’t express and appreciate the other languages, such as acts of service, physical touch, quality time, and receiving/giving gifts.
It just means that of all those languages, expression in words is either the most natural to you/them, or the one you/they appreciate most.
What Does It Mean If Words Of Affirmation Is My Love Language?
Chances are that you’d already be aware if this was your primary love language.
Few things make you happier than when your partner tells you that they love you, or writes a letter to let you know that they’re thinking of you.
When they tell you that you’re attractive, or that they’re proud of you, you feel confident and appreciated.
People who use and appreciate words of affirmation tend to be rather wordy types in general.
They generally love to read, and like to write as well. They likely have all kinds of journals full of thoughts, dreams, quotes, and bits of poetry, and an overflowing stationery drawer.
If you use words of affirmation to show how much you care, then you’re probably the type who tucks surprise notes of encouragement into your kids’ lunches, and texts friends and family just to say hello.
You might even write emails to your employees to let them know you’ve noticed when they’ve done a great job, and that you appreciate having them on your team.
You’ve probably kept bundles of old letters from friends, former lovers, and family members, and maybe even some notes your high school friends tucked into your locker.
Words mean everything to you, and you can spot the difference when someone is being genuine, or when they’re putting on a facade.
You may notice subtle word choices in communications, and receiving words of praise and appreciation from others makes you feel seen, and valued.
This appreciation of sincerity is why it likely devastates you when and if someone lies to you.
Similarly, insults, scathing comments, and other negative verbal expressions may cut you far more deeply than they would someone whose primary language is physical.
If you find that you’re being hurt by your partner’s actions (or lack thereof), it’s important to try to communicate that to them.
For instance, if you wrote them a long, heartfelt letter, and they just gave it a cursory glance before pushing it away or discarding it, you may feel that your words – and by extension, your feelings – aren’t important to them.
If they use certain phrases that are hurtful to you, even in jest, it’s important to explain to them why those words bother or hurt you.
If those types of comments don’t bother them at all, it might not even occur to them that they could be hurtful to someone else.
This is why communication is so vital. We’re not mind readers, and we can’t truly understand what’s going on in someone else’s head unless they tell us.
As an additional note, it’s also really important to let them know how much you appreciate their efforts when they take the time to offer you words of affirmation.
If they’ve said something that really made you feel good about yourself, or loved, or appreciated, then let them know!
“Hey, it really meant a lot to me that you told me how proud you are of me,” etc.
This gives them positive feedback about their efforts, which means that they’ll feel appreciated in turn, and that glorious circle of positive, affirming love keeps spinning.
How To Express Care If This Is Your Partner’s Love Language
It’s easy to express care if our partner’s love language matches our own, but it can be a bit challenging if it’s the polar opposite of ours.
For example, if your love language is acts of service, and theirs is words of affirmation, they might not realize that the little actions you take are meant to show care.
Efforts like surprising them with a special meal you cooked, or making them something by hand, might be kind of lost on them.
This could be really disheartening, or it could be used as a learning experience.
You might catch yourself only listening half-heartedly when they’re expressing love in words, or accidentally crumple a letter that they wrote you, and realize that you’ve hurt them.
We’re human, and we mess up. Just be honest and forthright about it, and let them know that their efforts are appreciated. (In words.)
Think of this like… you’re from different countries and are putting in the work so you can communicate in one another’s native tongue.
It might be a bit awkward at times, and the learning curve might be difficult to navigate at first, but fluency comes with practice, right?
When we recognize that someone else’s love language is different than ours, we can adapt by expressing care for them in a way that they understand.
Basically, we mirror their efforts, and express our love to them the way they express theirs to us.
*Note: if your love language is different from your partner’s, and you feel like they’re not expressing care the way you need to receive it, then it’s important to let them know. Just as you’re putting in the effort to speak their language, they’ll undoubtedly do the same for you in turn.
Examples Of Words Of Affirmation
When it comes to effective examples of words of affirmation, you’ve likely heard (or said) them countless times over the course of your life.
Any time that you or someone you care about has expressed their love, gratitude, emotional support, encouragement, or other positive emotions in words – be that verbally, or written – they have done so in this love language.
The sentiments listed below are just a few that are commonly used to express care and appreciation.
If you’re learning your partner’s love language and would like to tell them how you feel, by all means use these as a stepping stone, but be sure to adjust them so they suit your partner as an individual.
Sincerity is of the utmost importance to a words of affirmation person. As such, when you’re expressing how you feel about them, choose your words with care.
Instead of just saying “I’m proud of you,” make sure they know exactly what you’re proud of.
Did they achieve a goal? Work through a difficult personal matter with grace? Did they create something gorgeous?
Cite specific examples, with details that show them that you’re paying attention and not just phoning it in.
Below are some examples that you can use as inspiration – just make them your own.
You can say them aloud, write them on sticky notes, or even send as random, unexpected texts during the day:
“I love you.”
“I appreciate you and everything you do for our family.”
“It means a lot that you take the time to talk to me even when you’re busy.”
“I’m proud of you for ____.”
“I love how much I’ve grown because of you.”
“You’ve taught me so much about ____.”
“I’m so grateful to have finally found you.”
“You’re the partner of my dreams.”
“Remember the time we went to _____ together, and ______ happened? Thinking about that always makes me smile.”
“I just wanted to let you know that I’m thinking of you.”
“You’re gorgeous, and you mean the world to me.”
“I know that you’ve been going through a rough time because of _____, and I just wanted to let you know how much I admire your strength.”
“I’m here for you.”
“Thank you for helping me with ______. It means the world to me to know that I can trust you and depend on you.”
“You’re the love of my life.”
Try To Communicate Your Thoughts And Feelings, Even When It’s Difficult
Especially when it’s difficult.
As mentioned earlier, words of affirmation people really appreciate sincerity, so it means more than you can imagine when you talk to them about how you’re feeling.
They value honesty and openness when it comes to communication, and recognize that expressing things in words can be challenging for some people.
Many people find it difficult to talk about their feelings, fears, and vulnerabilities verbally, especially if they’ve dealt with trauma in the past.
And that’s absolutely okay.
Remember that words of affirmation don’t have to be spoken: they can be written, emailed, or even texted.
In fact, sometimes it means a lot more if things are expressed on paper, as that means that the other person really took the time to think about and explain what it is they’re feeling.
Better yet, written letters can be read several times over, which means there’s no room for miscommunication.
Ways For Wordy Folks To Deepen Connections
If you and your partner both have words of affirmation as one of your top love languages, then there are some wonderful ways for you to deepen your loving connection with one another.
For instance, you can play a game together that requires positive verbal discussion.
A great example of this kind of bonding game is Cards to the Heart.
It’s a deck of cards full of interesting questions to ask one another, all geared toward encouraging openness and vulnerability.
Since this happens via meaningful conversations, you word lovers (see what we did there?) are sure to enjoy the process, as well as the growth that will ensue!
There are also fun list-type guided journals that are full of interesting questions that you can answer together, like Questions for Couples Journal.
These books are full of questions ranging from your favorite foods, to what you wanted to be when you were a child, what makes you happy/sad, where you’d like to travel, etc.
It covers general topics as well as romance and sex, and in filling it out together, you may discover some fabulous new things about the one you love.
We even have a list of our own on this website: 115 Questions To Ask Your Significant Other To Start A Conversation
A Sweet Gift Idea For Your Wordy Beloved
Here’s a little surprise gift idea that’s sure to inspire smiles (and probably some happy tears) in your partner:
Get yourself a clean Mason jar with a lid on it, some gorgeous stationery, a bunch of pens, and a pair of scissors.
Cut the paper into strips or squares, and write something heartfelt and lovely on each of them.
You can choose from some of the examples listed earlier in this article, and add to them with your own unique catchphrases, expressions, favorite song lyrics… whatever you know will make them smile.
Fold up each paper as you finish writing on it, and pop it into the jar. Hopefully you’ll be able to pack it quite thoroughly!
Once it’s full, you can tie a ribbon around it or give it a sweet label, and keep it in the closet until you feel that your lover could use a pick-me-up.
Then give it to them with the instruction that they take out one of the folded pieces every time they’re feeling down.
The beautiful things you’ve written will mean so much to them, you can’t even imagine.
As an aside, this is something you can do for anyone in your life: not just a romantic partner.
If your sibling, parent, child, friend, or even a cherished coworker seems to have words of affirmation as a main love language, they’d undoubtedly appreciate this too.
Just adapt the sentiments so you can express your thoughts in the right voice, and know that they’ll light up with joy every time they pull out one of those notes.
Because they’re from you.
More in this series:
- Acts Of Service Love Language
- Receiving Gifts Love Language
- Quality Time Love Language
- Physical Touch Love Language