It is true, everyone has different ways of showing love. I like the book “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman*. Some people really need words of affirmation to feel loved. However, sometimes people say nice things, but never really back those words up with any nice actions. Words don’t carry a lot of weight if you don’t really mean what you say. It may be time to put your money where your mouth is and back up those words with some actions of love this holiday season.
Even if you aren’t someone who really needs words to feel loved, you may be getting caught in the trap of listening to words instead of looking at your girlfriend or boyfriend’s actions. How many of you have been in a relationship where your partner showed up late for dates or sometimes didn’t show up at all, neglected text messages and then texted back hours or days later only to pretend everything was fine, or just continued to lie to you? Now, how many of you have forgiven the same partner when they finally showed up or texted back and told you a bunch of crap about how great you are and how you get them in a way that no one else does?
Words are easy to say…and some people are even better at knowing WHAT to say in those tense moments to make you smile again. In black and white it seems so easy to realize that this person really doesn’t mean what they are saying. Their words don’t really make sense in light of their actions. However, when you really love someone, you want to believe the best of them. You want things to work out. You can’t imagine not having this person in your life.
Trust me, I’ve been there. I realize how much you want to trust those words your partner is telling you. To believe and hope they love you as much as they say they do. Sometimes the longing for love is so strong that it is easy to forget all the bad things when you hear the simple words, “I love you”. You can see the potential and know some where deep inside is the really good person you fell in love with. That little spark of hope is all most people need to hold on. So you believe their BS about how much they love you and how you’re the only one who is really there for them. Your partner then realizes the moment of crisis has passed and they go on to do whatever the hell they want again.
Words without actions to back them up are empty. In time, it will become obvious whether this person truly loves you. People who love you want to be there for you, even when it may not be convenient for them. They make efforts to put you first. They follow through on what they say they are going to do. They include you in their life, and want you to be around their family and friends. They are respectful to you in private and around others. They want to hang out with you even when you aren’t having sex.
When those words are too often backed up with lies, disrespect, anger and neglect, you need to be courageous enough to see it. Not everyone is ready to truly love another person. Not everyone is selfless enough to make those kind of sacrifices. Your partner may not be in the right place or time to give you what you need. You deserve someone who remembers you, shows up, initiates, is respectful.
The first step is to first learn to love yourself. Start to believe that you are lovable and have so much to offer someone in a relationship. The second step is realize that you deserve someone to love you in the ways you need. You don’t have to settle for less. The third step is to wait for that person to arrive. We can’t always make love happen when and where we want it to. Learning to be alone, even when it is hard is a valuable lesson. The forth step is love with all your heart when you do find that person, even if that means you risk getting hurt in the end. Every person we let into our lives has something to offer. Even if it doesn’t work out, that person can teach you something so you’ll be smarter the next time. Don’t give up!!
*Here is a little background on the Five Love Languages in case you’ve never read the book. It is based on the premise that there are five different ways to show love. Each person likes to receive and give love differently and usually prefers one or two types most often. It is a good idea to know what your partner’s love language is so you can back those words of love up with actions. Here the the five different types: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service & Physical Touch.