Skip to main content

Article by Mark Susnow July 22, 2016

The Language of Love

When you feel good inside, you see the good in others. It is also true that when you feel loving, you see others as loving. Unfortunately too many of us are looking to find love outside of ourselves--itâs an inside job that has its own language.

The Language of Love

We live in a relational world. Successful relationships transform our families, schools, institutions, governments and the world we live in. In the process we’re able to experience more joy and happiness in our lives. Most of us would agree that there is ample opportunity for us to express more love in our lives. But we don’t always do it. Love is such a powerful emotion that we celebrate a special day, Valentines Day, that glorifies this spirit. Traditionally, it has been a time to demonstrate our love for another. On this day, in some way, we acknowledge our beloved.

But how do we do this? And what if we don’t have that special person in our life? Collectively we are and have been in different phases of the relationship cycle. While some of us are not currently in a relationship, some are in a new relationship, and others in long-term relationships. On this day, no matter what phase of the cycle we are in, we feel an expectation to make and receive the appropriate acknowledgment.

What would our lives be like if we transformed the significance of this day? Instead of feelings of expectation or judgment, we celebrate it as an inspiration; an inspiration to open ourselves more to love and loving, love of others and of course, ourselves.

Rather than looking for love in another person, we become the love we are seeking. When we come from love, we experience it in whomever we meet.

One thing is certain; when you feel good inside, you see the good in others. It is also true that when you feel loving, you see others as loving. Unfortunately too many of us are looking to find love outside of ourselves--it’s an inside job that has its own language. The ultimate relationship is with yourself.

The language of love is the most powerful language on the planet. When I was single, I used the words I love you sparingly because I didn’t want to mislead my partner into thinking that I felt differently than I did. What I didn’t realize at the time was that those words would always be difficult for me to express. Even when I tell my wife, Annie, that I love her, those words still seem charged, as they do when I say those words to my children.

So what I do, like many of you, is use variations of those words. When signing a letter it is natural for me to sign it with love as opposed to I love you. I’ve noticed that some friends use the phrase love ya, while others, occasionally end the conversation with I love you. When they do, I usually pause and reply, I love you, too. I am sure that we all hear our share of I love you too. When referring to a movie or a book, I might say, I loved it.

In the English language, some of our deepest feelings can’t be expressed in words. We can look to the Greeks for wisdom in this regard.

Two friends touch each other’s souls but are not lovers. The Greeks refer to this love between friends as Philos.

The special love that we share for our family is different than any other love we experience. The Greeks refer to this love of family as Storge.

Spiritual love, or the love that is God is referred to as Agape.

The physical love, when lovers embrace, is referred to as Eros.

The language of love is an acknowledgment of a person’s essence and their inner beauty. If we are not comfortable with the more accepted language of love, it is important to create our own language; a language that acknowledges others, their greatness, their gifts and their blessings. By becoming more comfortable with this language, we open the doors to deeper intimacy. Perhaps you have your own language and way of expressing it. Perhaps it’s with your eyes or your smile. After 9/11, I vowed to express my love and gratitude to my family and others, as much as possible. I keep finding new ways in which to do that.

Take a few minutes out of your busy day as you think about the following:


  1. To whom and in what ways can you express more love?

  2. Who would you have to become to have a great relationship?

  3. What would you really like to tell your partner?

  4. How difficult is it for you to say, “I’m sorry”?

  5. How can you nurture yourself more?

  6. With this one, just look in the mirror at yourself, smile and say, “I love you.”


As always, please feel free to share this article with those in your circle. And be sure to let me know what’s going on with you.