The Language(s) of Love
We all want to be wanted. It feels good. But any time you have two humans together, there is room for confusion, miscommunication and stress. Gary Chapman has developed a system called the “5 Love Languages” that outline the different ways that people show and receive Love. This has been my favourite way of understanding the emotional interactions in relationships because it is simple, tangible, and has clear ways of improving the quality of our relationship. The 5 Love Languages include: Words of Affirmation (We want to hear them say they care for us), Acts of Service (We like it when they do things to help us out), Physical Touch (We crave physical contact and intimacy), Quality Time (We like to spend time just being with each other) and Receiving Gifts (Big or small, we like gifts). Mr. Chapman has resources available on his website (5LoveLanguages.com) that you and your partner can use to find out what your love language is and many books and resources on how these work and how to use them for your relationship but for our purposes, it is this idea that we show and receive love in different ways that is key.
On reading over the different Love Languages, you probably have an idea of which one is your main language. But what about your partner? Family members? Friends? Many times when couples run into difficulties, it is due to miscommunication and misunderstandings. We are talking or sharing but not really hearing the other one. The Love Languages is a great way to get a better understanding of how best we can love each other to ensure that both persons feel loved, respected and cared for. For example, a woman who is Quality Time and a man who is Receiving Gifts may end up in trouble because he doesn’t understand why “she doesn’t appreciate anything” he buys for her and she gets fed up that he “keeps throwing money” at her but won’t spend time. Hope you’re getting a visual. While differences in Love Languages can be frustrating, once we are aware of them, if we care, then we can work to increase the love and sharing within the relationship by speaking the Love Language of our partner to ensure that they receive the love we have for them. And hopefully vice versa. Talk to each other to find out what each of you would like to have more (and less) of in the relationship. Be specific. For example, “I would like a Date Night (Quality Time) once per week;” “I would love a massage (Physical Touch);” or, “I would appreciate it if you would help me with the dishes in the evenings (Acts of Service).” This may take time but with some patience and care, the Love Languages can help both partners be more satisfied within the relationship, providing a solid foundation for the future and whatever it may hold. Also, importantly, when your partner does do something discussed or agreed on, let them know you see them speaking your Language. 😉
If you are not in a relationship, or just want some more self-love, then identifying your Love Language can help you best show (and receive) Love for yourself. For example, Daily Affirmations if you are “Words of Affirmation,” preparing healthy meals for “Acts of Service” or lotion up with some new essential oils for your skin, mind and body if you are “Physical Touch.” For more ideas on how to apply the 5 Love Languages to Self-Love checkout this post by Joyce Marter. What’s your Love Language?
Ready. Set. Breathe.