Many years ago David and I got our hands on a book that revolutionized our understanding of how we individually give and receive love. That book was The Five Love Languages by, author, Gary Chapman. Chapman’s premise is that people primarily experience love through one, sometimes two, of five basic “love languages.”
The 5 Love Languages:
Time is one of the most precious resources we have. Showing someone who’s primary love language is Quality Time how much you care is done by giving them your undivided attention. Doing things for them instead of being with them will never communicate you care regardless of how much effort or money is spent. Putting all other distractions on the back burner for a bit of special connection speaks volumes about how much you value them.
Words of Affirmation
The old saying “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me” couldn’t be further from the truth for someone whose principal love language is Words of Affirmation. Words carry weight for this person in a way that they don’t for others. Articulating what you appreciate and admire about them through a thoughtful note or a kind word will impact them to the core and can give them the confidence that you are in their corner. On the flip side, an unkind comment can injure them deeply.
For the person who’s leading love language is Physical Touch, a pat on the back or hug when you greet them communicates connection. For a child that might mean tickle fights, playful wrestling, rubbing their eyebrows or morning cuddles, but if you’re married to someone with this love language don’t misunderstand this to mean that the bedroom is the primary place to connect with them. Holding hands, sitting close, and other nonsexual forms of tender touch and affection reveal you care.
Acts of Service
Easing the burden of chores and obligations speaks volumes to someone who’s primary love language is Acts of Service. Paying the bills, folding the laundry, washing the car, or cleaning the floors is like shouting “I’m with you, I appreciate all that you do, I love you!” No matter how much you try to persuade them with your words, for them, the proof is in your willingness to lend them a hand or lighten their load.
Don’t confuse this love language with greed. The person who feels loved through Receiving Gifts perceives your devotion to them through the thoughtful effort and care you put into gifting them with something that made you think of them or you know they’ll appreciate. The price of the gift is not as significant as the time and consideration that when into making the offering meaningful.
David and I don’t share a single primary or secondary love language … go figure! David’s leading love language is Words of Affirmation, with acts of service not far behind, whereas my top two are Physical Touch and Quality Time.
Because we give and receive love differently we have had to become multilingual over the years — though we can speak each other’s language we are far from being fluent.
One of the things we’re most excited about in the months ahead is discovering and sharing creative ways to communicate to each of the Five Love Language Types. I hope you’ll join us in the effort to learn how to quickly identify which love language someone is and then speak fluently to them in a way they can understand. Let’s become multilingual together!