The concept of Love Languages comes from a book by Gary Chapman called “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts”. It states that each one of us has our own unique style of giving and receiving love. Much like you won’t be able to get very far in a relationship where you are speaking Spanish and your partner speaks Japanese, it’s important for you and your partner to learn each other’s love languages in order to be able to communicate and understand each other. The 5 love languages described are as follows:
Quality time: Devoting uninterrupted, special time to our loved ones.
Gifts: Lavishing our loved ones with gifts as tokens of our affection.
Physical touch: Hugging, kissing, caressing, and being physically affectionate.
Word of affirmation: Telling the people we love how much they matter to us; verbalizing our love and appreciation.
Acts of service: Doing kind things for our loved ones; using our actions to show others that we care about them.
Why does this matter? It’s important to know what your love language is so that you can let your partner know the ways in which you like to receive love. Similarly, it’s important to know your partner’s love language so that you can show them love in the way that they most like to receive it.
Here is an example from my personal life. My husband Angelo & I had been having frequent arguments. Our daughter is going through a stage where she is constantly testing her limits and trying to get our attention. This was particularly difficult this past Sunday night, when Angelo and I were trying to prepare for the week ahead and get dinner ready when June started fussing. My immediate response when she cries is to run to her, pick her up, and rock and snuggle her until she feels better. My husband’s attitude is that he is going to carry on getting ready for the week in order to keep our household functioning properly. I couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t want to drop everything he was doing to help me hold June until she felt better. He couldn’t understand why I was taking time to hold the baby when our dinner was cooking on the stove.
Then I remembered the 5 Love Languages. My love language is Physical Touch. I show people I love them by being physically affectionate. Angelo’s love language is Acts of Service. He shows his love by taking on responsibilities and chores to care for our family. Both are great ways to show love, but they can also lead to us clashing. In the Sunday night scenario I described above, neither one of us was getting our needs met, because we were not responding to each other’s love language.
Now that I’ve remembered that Angelo’s love language is Acts of Service, I can make different choices to help him feel loved. I can help clean the kitchen, keep our bills from piling up on the table, and set a nightly routine for preparing dinner. By doing these acts of service, I am showing my husband that I love him, and it is easy for him to receive my love since I am giving it in the way that is most natural for him to recognize.
I can also honor my own love language of Physical Touch by asking Angelo to give me extra hugs and making sure that we go to bed at the same time every night so that we can have some extra time to snuggle.
The interesting thing about love languages is that every one has one, and they don’t only apply to our romantic relationships. As our children get older, they start to develop their own love language, and we can make a note of what that is in order to make sure that they go through life knowing and feeling how much we love them.
So, what is your love language? Take some time to go through each one and see which resonates for you. If you want to dive deeper into this, there is an online quiz that you can take here: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/.
I hope you find this helpful in your relationships.
Have a love-filled week!