The 5 Love Languages
Are you aware of your “love language?” What is the love language of your significant other?
What happens if they are not the same? Is that a signal of doom for the relationship?
I was introduced to “The 5 Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman a few years ago, in my work with Three Dimensional Therapy. It was intriguing to think that there were five ‘languages’. Most of us will relate well and deeply to one or two that have the most meaning for us. The problem can begin when we think that everyone else speaks the same “love language” that we do! Its normal to assume that we all speak the same language, and we are often challenged in relationships when we don’t.
I am fortunate with my husband. He “speaks” several love languages and is always making me feel very loved and blessed. He likes to hold my hand in the car and walking in public. He brings home flowers from time to time to grace our home. He frequently tells me how much he loves me. He wants my undivided attention and is willing to give me his. He does many things that make me feel cared for. He is very thoughtful.
This is not to make you feel bad. I had a lot to learn when during the early years of our relationship. I did not ‘speak’ all these ‘love languages’ as easily as it seemed to come to my husband. I had to work at learning what was important to him, and what would make him feel the love I had for him. Many things were not “natural” to me. It took my effort and time. The bonus is a satisfying marriage!
Have you felt unloved, uncared for? Do misunderstandings happen easily?
Maybe an underlying reason is that you and your significant other have different love languages and ascribe different meanings to aspects of your relationship. Let’s look at the five different languages people use to express love.
1. Words of Affirmation
This love language may be important to you if:
- You are elated when receiving compliments and unexpected praise.
- You like when others say they care about you or appreciate having you in their lives.
- You love feeling understood and receiving recognition for a job well done.
Words can have a profound impact on us. Every word carries an energetic frequency, some are uplifting, others bring us down. The words that we speak to each other are important. People with this love language need regular positive encouragement, validation, and reinforcement that they are valued and loved. Sincerely stated affirmations have this effect.
2. Quality Time
Undivided attention. This is a hallmark of quality time that many people crave. Focused attention on each other.
We may go out to a movie, curl up and watch TV together. We may feel we are giving each other our time, but the distractions we can get caught up in can take away from deeper meaningfulness the blessing of our time can bestow.
I once had a few hours after a conference in a distant city to visit my brother, for the first time in many years. His wife suggested we go to a play nearby. Quality time? I was hungry to catch up with them, and only by giving undivided attention to each other over a meal and a walk, would that hunger be satisfied. And it was!
3. Receiving Gifts
For people ‘speaking’ this love language gifts are visual symbols that remind the receiver of the thought and love shared with them. Gifts can be simple or more. It’s not about the money, because a gift can be handmade and still carry great meaning. It’s so much more about the thought and effort that goes into the gift.
Some of the greatest gifts I felt I have received have not cost much, but I have felt understood and cared for by the giver.
4. Acts of Service
Many people feel they ‘show’ their love in all the things they do for their loved one, day in, day out. Working, taking care of the house, putting food on the table.
If we have a partner who feels “Actions speak louder than words,” and we take time to do the things that are most important to them, these acts of service make them feel loved. If this is important to you or your partner it is of value to have a dialogue about what are meaningful acts of service in your mind.
5. Physical Touch
Touch can help us feel connected to others. However, not all of us grow up in a ‘touchy-feely’ family. The type of touch, the intention behind the touch are important when this is part of someone’s love language. Without some physical contact, they may feel unloved.
When I met my husband it was very important to him that we held hands whenever we could. He loved the fact that his parents used to hold hands when he was young.
While I enjoyed holding hands, I realized that this meant more to him in a meaningful way.
What is your primary love language?
Each love language is important and expresses love in its own way. Learning your partner’s and your own primary love language will help you create a stronger bond in your relationship. Let’s become multilingual!
Take a quiz to find out your love language. Share with your loved ones to find out theirs!
This can be the beginning of an increased understanding of our own needs and those of our partner, and a first step on the road to a more fulfilling relationship.
Next time we will look at ideas to improve fluency in each love language and applying it in your relationships!
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