Words of affirmation is probably the easiest love language to speak in a long-distance relationship.
However, if it’s not your native language, it’s easy to become confused about what differentiates words of affirmation from words in general.
According to Merriam-Webster, to affirm means to “validate” or “confirm.” It also means “to state positively.”
If your long-distance boyfriend has the words of affirmation love language, you can validate conversations by letting him know you’re listening. You can confirm your love for him by telling him often and explaining why. And you can state truth positively when he is discouraged.
Let’s break each of those definitions down with examples for a long-distance relationship.
1. Validate conversations
For better or worse, people with a words of affirmation love language draw conclusions based on the words you do and don’t say. They need you to say things explicitly, or they will assume the worst.
For example, you and your boyfriend might get into an argument over Skype. If you’re a nonverbal processor, you might want to sit in silence for a while or hang up so you can gather your thoughts.
Thinking before you speak is a wise response (James 1:19). However, your boyfriend can easily misinterpret your silence if you don’t let him know that you’re thinking.
A loving way to respond is by validating the fact that a conflict has occurred and that you want to fix it. Say something like, “I want to talk about this with you, but I need some time to think first.” Or, “I’m hearing you and I understand your concerns, and I want space to process them. Can we talk about this at ___?” and give a specific time.
Even if he’s disappointed that you can’t resolve the conflict now, he’ll appreciate that you explained your silence to him. A few timely words will communicate that you listened, you understood, and you cared.
2. Confirm your love
Words like “I love you” demonstrate love powerfully to someone who values words of affirmation.
Most people recognize this, but they don’t realize how frequently they need to repeat these declarations. Setting a reminder on your phone can help you remember if the repetition isn’t natural for you.
As a words of affirmation person, I must admit that I never get tired of hearing my husband say that he loves me. I also enjoy when he expresses his love in different ways. You can say things like:
- “You mean a lot to me”
- “I appreciate you”
- “You’re precious to me”
- “I care about you a lot”
However, as the Five Love Languages website explains, “Hearing the words, ‘I love you,’ are important – hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward.” It’s the “why” that proves you mean the words you say.
The best way to confirm your care for your long-distance boyfriend is to follow a statement with supporting evidence. Say something like “I appreciate you because you encourage me to follow Christ,” or “I love talking with you because you understand me really well.”
3. State truth positively
If your boyfriend values words of affirmation, one of the most loving things you can do is affirm him with God’s Word.
Sometimes, this will mean reminding him of his identity in Christ and what that means, drawing on passages like Romans 8.
Other times, he’ll be wrestling with a difficult decision and seek your opinion. This is an opportunity to encourage him by pointing out parts of his thought process that are aligning with Biblical wisdom.
Your boyfriend also needs to hear truth from God’s Word that isn’t positive, though. Don’t be afraid to say difficult and important things. As long as you are always directing him back to the grace of Christ, his soul will receive the affirmation he needs.
In the process, however, it helps to reassure him that your goal isn’t to tear him down. Say something like, “I’m telling you this because I really care you about you, and I want what’s best for you,” and mean it.
More to the story
The Words of Affirmation love language doesn’t operate in isolation. Your long-distance boyfriend can also likely speak and receive love in any of these languages:
For more tips on how to love your long-distance boyfriend in these ways, click on the applicable link above.