Information Possibly Outdated
The information presented on this page was originally released on January 25, 1999. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
Communicate Feelings Using Love Languages
By Lani Jefcoat
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Couples celebrate Valentine's Day by expressing love and affection, but people should know how to convey love throughout the year. While it is traditionally for lovers, Valentine's also can be a time to communicate and develop love within the family.
Dr. Louise Davis, Mississippi State University Extension Service child and family development specialist, said children and adults need to be reminded that they are loved all the time and not just on Valentine's Day.
Davis said there are different ways to convey love because every person has a language of love. People respond to showing, telling or touching, and everyone must learn effective ways to send their messages of love.
"There are many ways to show love to others, but it is important to send the correct message," Davis said. "For example, the message may not come across if you tell someone you love them, but your actions don't show it, or if you do things, but never say you love them."
While today's technology allows new, quick ways to send messages of love through the Internet and electronic mail with flowers, cards or a short note, there are more personal ways like meeting for lunch or coffee.
"A creative idea is to make a special coupon book designed to appeal to the recipient whether it is a child, parent, friend or spouse," Davis said. "A child may enjoy time with the parent to work on a craft or hobby, bike ride, go the park or library, or just sit and talk while adults may appreciate a lunch date, a special dinner or a night out for two."
Davis also recommended taking time every day to do something for yourself. Take time to exercise, read a book, take a bubble bath or any activity that makes you feel good about yourself.
"Holidays are easy ways to begin traditions, and traditions create memories for your family and loved ones," Davis said. "When people are given good memories, it gives them a feeling of belonging and security and creates a feeling of self-worth."
Davis said one way to feel togetherness within the family is to start traditions that carry on throughout the year and make each family member feel important and valued. Recognize the needs of family members and what they view as love.
"Parents should find a way to express love to their children every day," Davis said. "It can be simple things like sending notes in lunches, asking about their day, letting them help cook dinner, or reading a story of their choice at bedtime."
Valentine's Day activities can help children grow and develop skills while enjoying being with their parents. Encourage reading, writing and creative skills by helping children write and design their own Valentine's cards to send friends, long-distance relatives and pen pals.
"Valentine's Day becomes more than buying candy and flowers when you find a way to make it special for your family," Davis said. "Let the children help create a special candlelight dinner for the family and dress up to make it special."
Davis said creating traditions with the ones you love and making special family time make great memories and send messages of love that children and adults will always remember.