Has your definition of love changed over the years?
I know mine has.
As a little girl and even into young adulthood (embarrassingly enough!), I had the most backwards ideas about what love is and what it means to be loved by another person.
I was swept up into the promises of happily ever after tales or the over-dramatized and often unrealistic examples of the Disney Princesses. I thought love was about the mushy, romantic feelings and sadly, more about how I felt when I was with the other person.
Fast forward about ten or fifteen year later. Thankfully, I no longer believe any of those things. I have grown up and matured in many ways.
Love, or charity is known as one of the three Theological Virtues (Faith, Hope, and Love). Love is something we all desire and need in life and relationships.
But if we do not have a healthy understanding of what love is and is not, it can actually negatively affect our many relationships in life.
You need to learn about your love language(s)
One important thing I think we all need to know about love is what our love language (s) are on an individual level. This will help us as a single person understand how we most feel loved, which will be a helpful tool later on in serious dating relationships.
Based on a well-known book by Dr. Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages, teaches how different people with different personalities express and receive love in different ways.
How you may express and feel most loved in a relationship may be radically different from your partner.
The author notes in serious relationships it is important to know how to best love your partner, even if their love languages are very different from you.
The love languages are:
- Words of affirmation
- Acts of service
- Receiving gifts
- Quality time
- Physical touch.
Each individual has at least a primary love language they prefer or is strongest in their personality, but it is possible to have a secondary love language as well.
I highly recommend reading the book as a great initial step to learn more for yourself, as well as get a sense of what your primary and secondary love languages may be. If you are curious to learn more right away, take the FREE quiz to determine your love languages.
Now you might be thinking, This is a great and nice thing to talk about, Patty. But what the heck does this matter to me as a single person right now?
Well friend, I am glad you asked!
The love languages can help you heal as a Catholic single
Well before we enter a serious relationship we as an individual need to be as whole and healed as possible. We need to be self-aware and have done our own healing work. One of these things to be included is to have a better understanding of how we express and receive love.
When we know how we feel most loved, it allows us to express this in a healthy way in a relationship. When we know how to show love to someone whose love language is different than ours, it stretches us to see outside ourselves.
Start building your emotional health toolbox now
Love takes time, patience, and effort. We don’t magically wake up one day and arrive at knowing how to love others well. It takes our willful participation and action.
We know (or at least have a pretty good idea) how we most feel loved in life and relationships. How we feel most loved may not be the way our partner feels most loved, though.
An important piece in healthy relationships is knowing how to make your partner feel seen, known, and loved. But you also have to be able to articulate your own needs and wants for the same things.
There are lots of important things to know about yourself as you date and begin a serious relationship. Some of them you figure out and navigate as the relationship develops. You cannot figure it all out at once.
Knowledge is power.
Figuring out your love language(s) as a single person has positive benefits for your future relationship. Think of it as one more tool in your emotional health toolbox.
The more good tools we have, the stronger and better relationships we will have.
Do you know your own love language(s)? If you have a significant other, do you see these principles at work in your relationship together?