The language of love
“I love you more than words can wield the matter. Dearer than eyesight, space and liberty.” King Lear
Shakespeare often springs to mind when considering the language of love, but the big question is: does it do it for you?
Less commonly associated with the language of love might be mowing the lawn, being given an unexpected lie-in, a stroke of the cheek or being bought a bag of your favourite sweets. While these might appear like small, simple gestures, they actually show how we like to be loved and, therefore, what our love language is.
Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages, suggests there are five ways to express and experience love: receiving gifts, quality time, acts of service, words of affirmation and physical touch. I only became aware of Dr Chapman’s book when I googled ‘the language of love’ and links to said book dominated the first four pages of search results.
Move aside, Shakespeare…
Suitably intrigued, I clicked the 5lovelanguages.com website, took one look at the cover and immediately dismissed its worth due to the rather naff Jilly Cooper/self-help cover design. Sorry, Gary. But reading a little further I discovered it’s been on The New York Times bestseller list since 2009 and has sold 11 million copies since its release two decades ago. Who knew?! Well, apparently over 15 million people to be precise – the number of people who have improved their relationships by working out their love language. That’s put me in my place then!
The essence of Chapman’s idea is that we instinctively give love in the way we prefer to receive love, but better relationships can be achieved when you love someone in the love language they understand.
Patrick Wanis, a human behaviour and relationship expert, proffers that “when two people have common languages of love, they will experience more love and there will be less emptiness in the relationship.”
Love your reader
The same is true of the relationship between author and reader. Understanding your audience and what they want is essential to writing successful copy.
If you negate to write with your reader in mind, your copy will never reach its potential. Your writing style should be wholly determined by identifying your reader’s (love) language and what they need out of the relationship with what they’re reading – whether it’s to inform or to sell.
Before penning a single word your first question should always be: “Who is my reader and how do they want and need to be loved?” And then adapt your content and writing style accordingly to create effective copy that gets results.
So, avoid that empty relationship; love your intended audience in the way they need to be loved and they will love you in return, but don’t assume it will be the same language as yours.