Almost midway through the month devoted to love, Valentine’s Day is imminent! It couldn’t be a better time to determine and speak the love languages of those about whom you care deeply. It is also a great time to discover your own love language and share it so that those who love you can love you even more clearly. What is a love language, you ask? Let’s talk about that first!
What are Love Languages?
The author of The Five Love Languages, Dr. Gary Chapman, found that “everyone he had ever counseled had a love language, a primary way of expressing and interpreting love.” He also discovered that, for whatever reason, people are usually drawn to those who speak a different love language than their own. Speaking another person’s primary love language communicates love incredibly clearly – like cupid’s arrow, right to the heart. Dr. Chapman defined the five love languages as physical touch, receiving gifts, words of affirmation, quality time or acts of service. Reading his book and visiting his website, www.5lovelanguages.com, are terrific ways to gain a full understanding of the impact of love languages and how to determine them. We’ll talk about how you can do that here, too. When you speak someone else’s love language and they speak yours, you both feel deeply loved.
Everyone expresses and receives love through one of the five different love languages, and your love language may not be the same as that of your child, spouse, father, or mother.
We often express love through our own love language. For instance, mine is gifts, so I love giving others gifts. Receiving a gift does speak love, and if it is the recipient’s love language, bingo! You have spoken love clearly to them. If your spouse fixes your car – an act of service – and gifts are your love language, his expression of love isn’t translating as powerfully as it could. If your child’s love language is time, the hugs you are giving aren’t translating into “love” as clearly as they could be. That is why it is so valuable to know a dear one’s love language so that you can communicate love powerfully and clearly.
What are the Five Love Languages?
If your love language is physical touch, hugs and kisses, back rubs, and holding hands strongly speak love to you. You may really enjoy getting a massage or having your hair done.
Words of affirmation, such as I love you or you are incredible, mean love to those with this love language. It could be written or spoken words, letters or cards, poems, or a loving phone call. Small lunchbox notes mean a lot to a child with this love language. Let those who cherish words of affirmation know how helpful, special, and valuable they are.
Time spent together is another love language. If time is the love language of your child or spouse, spend time together as often as possible. If this is your love language, schedule time with those you love on a regular basis.
If gifts are your loved one’s love language, bring back mementos from business trips and understand why souvenirs are so meaningful to them. Know that birthdays and holidays where gifts are exchanged mean even more to those with gifts as their love language.
Acts of service – such as preparing a special breakfast, fixing some that is broken, or helping with a project – are also a love language. Companionship in activities is important to those with service as their primary love language.
How Do You Determine a Love Language?
Here are some easy ways to explore your love language and that of those you love:
· What you request is a key in determining your love language. If you ask others to hang out with you, yours may be time. If your child asks for hugs, his may be physical touch.
· Another clue is in what you tend to do. If you love to give gifts, gifts are probably your love language. If you love to give hugs, physical touch may be yours. Observe how your loved ones express love to you and to others. That is probably their love language.
· Ask the person you love how they know they are loved. If your son knows that his teacher loves him because she gave him a cool pencil, gifts might be his primary love language.
· Notice what your child, spouse, family member, or friend complains that they do not receive enough of. If your child says, “You never play with me,” time is probably their primary love language. If your spouse says, “I wish I received flowers unexpectedly,” gifts may be theirs.
· Give someone a choice between two options. Would they rather have a back rub or have a special dessert that you whip up? Their choice will be a clue between physical touch and acts of service.
Enjoy discovering your love language and the languages of those you love. Speak them often, and delight in the difference it will make in your relationships!