According to best-selling author and successful psychologist, Gary Chapman, people give and receive love in different primary love languages. Just as we speak and understand verbal communication in our primary spoken language, we understand love more fluently in our primary love language. Therefore, when a loved one more readily speaks our love language, our “love tank” gets filled. Vice versa, when we speak someone’s primary love language, their “love tank” begins to fill up and they naturally respond in a positive manner because they feel loved. Chapman suggests that the greatest emotional need we have is to be loved; so, discovering your primary love language and those of loved ones may be one of the most valuable investments you can make with your time. The Five Love Languages are:
- Words of Affirmation: These people communicate love through affirming words. A person who primarily speaks this love language feels the most loved through receiving sincere compliments. To really make their heart leap make the compliment very specific. Mark Twain said he could live two months on a good compliment! Speaking positive words is so powerful in general but to these people it fuels their passion. Put it to the test: If you are married to a words of affirmation guy and you have nagged him for months to do a certain task that is still left undone try praising him for anything and everything that he does do for thirty days and do not mention (don’t breath a single hint of it;)) that specific task and see if it mysteriously gets done!
- Acts of Service: To these people actions speak louder than words. If your spouse or loved one speaks this primary love language, look for creative ways to serve them and do things for them. Some examples may be cooking a favorite meal of theirs or keeping a clean and peaceful home, or ironing and steaming their business clothes. Acts of service is certainly not limited to domestic actions, and often will be appreciated more when one thinks outside the box and carefully studies that person’s affections to provoke ideas. Acts of Service may be as simple as fixing their plate or coffee, taking their vehicle through the car wash, or filling up the gas tank. You truly learn to love those you serve. In addition, you will learn a lot about them through this journey of searching for meaningful acts of service as well as the observation of their reactions !
- Quality Time: To these people, your undivided attention is everything. The people who speak “Quality Time” as their primary love language will give it away by always asking you to engage in activities with them that they enjoy. Some examples of loving a person through Quality Time may be taking a walk, going to the movies and discussing it afterwards, playing tennis together, or even going hunting and fishing together. A person who favors this love language feels especially loved when you choose to engage in a favorite activity of theirs, even though you may not particularly enjoy it. It is not always simply the time that speaks volumes, but also quality conversation, and quality interaction and engagement during that time.
- Giving & Receiving Gifts: These people feel loved through receiving gifts and they show love most prevalently through giving gifts. If you are attempting to love someone through this love language, look for creative ways to fill their love tank with unique gifts. The gifts don’t have to be expensive but should showcase the time, effort, and thought process behind the scenes and should correlate to that person’s affections. Think Win Win….if you discover your love language to be quality time and your husband’s is gifts, surprise him with movie tickets in an envelope sealed with a kiss!
- Physical Touch: These people communicate love through physical gestures such as hugging, holding hands, sitting in close proximity, or simply tapping or squeezing someone’s shoulder or hand while talking to them. These people feel most loved when these actions are reciprocated. Often when men first learn of the concept of the five love languages they automatically presume themselves to be physical touch for the obvious reason of sex being such an important need in a man’s life. However, this love language is based more on the premise of communicating emotional love through the realm of appropriate touch. On the same token, a man whose primary love language is physical touch may feel the most loved through physical intimacy.
Put yourself to the test: think about which act of love would speak louder to your heart:
- I spent time with a loved one while engaging in an activity I enjoy
- I receive a positive loving note or text for no special reason
- I came home from Saturday grocery shopping and the laundry was done
- During my lunch break I discover my favorite candy bar in my purse
- On the way to the football game we hold hands in the car
These examples represent a few examples of the Five Love Languages. Often people discover that they have a primary and a secondary love language. Certainly, it is beneficial to become fluent in all of the love languages. To find out your love language, the love languages of your loved ones, and to have more success in your personal relationships using these principles check out the Five Love Languages books: http://www.lifeleadership.com/Shopping/tabid/63/ProdID/12/thefivelovelanguages.aspx#.VBCTFfldWys
Having relationships and building relationships with specifc intent and purpose are two totally different concepts. We will always feel more fulfilled and joyful when we are working to increase the value of the relationships in our life. I encourage you to discover your love language and the love language of others and embark on your own journey of being bi-lingual in the world of love.