The 5 Love Languages
This post is part of The Awakened Heart Project
Week 38: The 5 Love Languages
“All of us blossom when we feel loved and wither when we do not feel loved.”
― Dr. Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages for Singles
How Do You Speak Love
Love is a universal way humans speak to one another. From a very early age, we show and receive love from the people in our lives. The love we receive (or lack there of) and how it is expressed helps to shape us into the people we become as adults. Individuals that grow up without love and security typically grow up to have serious mental health, behavioral, interpersonal, and/or personality issues later in life. Love, truly is one of the most important aspects of a healthy, happy, life.
Although we know love is critical, we don’t always know how to express it. Further, we don’t always know how to express it in a way that the person receiving it, knows that our intentions stem from a place of love. Some of the conflict with this too is due to the fact that we, ourselves, don’t always know what makes us feel most loved and/or how others can show us love. Expressing and receiving love is another form of communication in itself. We all respond to different forms of communication differently. What works for some, may not work for others. Thankfully, Dr. Gary Chapman has developed The Five Love Languages an easy way to breakdown how we each can communicate love to one another in a language that the receiver can understand. For more on Dr. Chapman, CLICK HERE.
The 5 Love Languages
Dr. Chapman believes that there are 5 Love Languages which people understand in the expression in love. Each individual will have a preference as to which language they understand the easiest. This may or may not be the language they find as easy to express however. For intance, a person may need to hear “Words of Affirmation” in order to feel loved, however, they may struggle to use “Words of Affirmation” with loved ones. Nonetheless, Dr. Chapman argues that each of us has a preference of love language. Much like a hierarachy, we will likely rank each of the five languages from least important to most important. However, it is not uncommon for two languages to be ranked equally. Nonetheless, there is typically one that ranks above all other, even if by just a point of two. To discover your Love Language, CLICK HERE and take the quiz.
Words of Affirmation
For this person, hearing encouraging words and compliments from those they love means the world to them. Hearing, “I love you” or “I appreciate you for all that you do”, means the world to them. In contrast, negative words, criticism, and insults can leave them feeling broken and hurt.
For some, nothing shows love more than quality time with others. This includes showing full and undivided attention from outside activities such as T.V. chores, or other tasks. This is about being fully present with one another. As Gary Chapman states, “Distractions, postponed activities, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. Whether its spending uninterrupted time talking with someone else or doing activities together, you deepen your connection with others through sharing time.”
This love language is often mistaken as simply being materialistic, but it is not. “Gifts” don’t have to be expensive or something bought with money. Rather a simple gift that simply tells the person you’ve been thinking about them is what makes them feel loved. It’s the effort, the thoughtfulness, and the gesture in it self that make them feel deeply loved and cared for. Forgetting a birthday or anniversary or receiving a thoughtless gift will make this person feel neglected and unloved. Gifts are symbols of love and affection.
Acts of Service
Acts of service are typically the little things that you can do to help ease the burden of responsibility from someone else. For instance, if your spouses love language is Acts of Service, and he/she is overwhelmed with this weeks work/life schedule, offering to pick the kids up from school, doing the grocery shopping, cooking dinner, or drawing them a bath are all “Acts of Service” which you can do to help them feel loved. Asking them, “What can I do to help” or “Let me do that for you” are all ways you can express this love language for them. For people who score high in this language, laziness, broken commitments, lack of follow through, lack of desire to help, or making more work for them, tell them that their feelings don’t matter. On the flip side, when others do things or them out of pure love, not obligation, they feel loved, valued, and appreciated. This is about doing things for others out of the simple goodness of your heart. This is where actions speak louder than words comes into play.
A person whose primary love language is Physical Touch loves to give and receive hugs and loves feel physically close to those they love. This person will not only hug others, but will also enjoy holding hands, making love, will gently pat you on the back and touch your arm while communicating. Further, they will feel loved when others express the same type of appropriate physical touch with them. Appropriate touch will communicate feelings of warmth, love, and safety. In contrast, physical abuse or the lack of receiving physical touch will leave them feeling unloved, and unsafe.
Why is This Important
You may be wondering, why is this important? This is important in ALL relationship, not just romantic ones, because it allows you to understand the people in your life on a deeper level. Knowing how they best receive love allows you to actively show them without have to guess or make assumptions. Further, you’re more aware of the type of actions they won’t perceive as love. We know that we’ve intended to do something or say something to make someone happy and then feel bad when they don’t perceive our actions as wonderfully as we expected. We then feel like a shmuck and may even feel betrayed all because we made the assumption we knew what was best for them. But when you can understand these different ways of expressing love, both romantically and through friendship, the doors for open communication and deeper emotional connections widen, the door of assumptions gets smaller.
If you’re in a relationship, understanding your partners love language can enhance communication, and love for one another. Understanding your partners love language may also heal a relationship that was headed towards separation, resentment, and withdrawal.
“Love is the fundamental building block of all human relationships. It will greatly impact our values and morals. Love is the important ingredient in one’s search for meaning.”
-Dr. Gary Chapman
- Take The 5 Love Languages Quiz
- What did you learn? How do you rank you 5 Love Languages?
- If you’re in a relationship, have your partner complete the quiz. How does your partner rank? Are your languages similar or different?
- Were you surprised by how you ranked? What past experiences or family values may have shaped a preference for one language over another?
- How can people express love to you better now that you know your love language?
- Are there languages that you may have a hard to expressing yourself? Where may this difficult stem from?
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