The Five Love Languages
Do you sometimes feel unloved by the people who say they love you the most, or do you want to show someone that you truly love them? Keep reading, the Five Love Languages will help you to figure out how you can feel more loved and how to show love to others. You may have already heard of the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, if not it is a great read. In the book Chapman discusses various ways that we can show that we love someone, these 'ways' he compares to Languages. There are five types of ways we can show love - and before I tell you what they are, no one way is superior or inferior to the other. The Five Love Languages are words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. The book discusses how we each have a metaphorical 'love tank' and it fills up when others speak our love language to us. A lack of our love language being spoken leads to a broken relationship and the person with the empty love tank feeling unloved. Someone who receives love by physical touch may be receiving plenty of gifts from their spouse or friend but still feel unloved as they are not receiving the type that they understand. Chapman refers to these types of Love as Languages for just like someone speaking Maori to someone who only speaks French would not understand and feel frustrated, so too do people speaking different Love Languages. Your emotional love language and the language of your spouse, friend, child could be as different as Maori from French. No matter how much you try to express in Maori, your loved one who only speaks French will never understand. At the end of this article I will give you links so that you can figure out what love language is your primary language. We often have more than one, but most people have a single dominant love language. Words of Affirmation One way to show love emotionally is by using words to build up. Words of compliments and appreciation are powerful communicators of love. To carry on the language metaphor there are different 'dialects' of each language. Dialects of words of affirmation include as I mentioned words of encouragement and appreciation these are focused on the efforts of the one you love. Kind words and words of affection are another dialect that are focused on the actual person rather than their efforts (e.g you look so beautiful in that dress). For a person whose love language is words of affirmation a kind word can make their week, but at the same time this also works in the negative. An unkind word or a word that tears down instead of encourages can be like a knife to the heart to them. Quality Time Quality time is a love language which seeks attention or time from the loved one. Although there are different dialects, quality time in the basic sense is giving someone your undivided attention. Listening or watching a sermon together is not undivided attention as your attention is on the one giving the sermon. Undivided attention includes sitting and talking to one another, taking a walk together or doing something with the focus on the other person. Someone who is texting or on watsapp while their loved one tries to talk to them is not giving them quality time. Quality time is focused attention. A dialect of quality time is quality conversation. This is where two people are sharing their experiences, thoughts and feelings in a friendly, uninterrupted context. Quality time is quite different to the first love language. Words of affirmation focus on what we are saying, whereas quality time focuses on what we are hearing. If you are showing love through quality time you will focus on drawing the other person out and listening sympathetically. You will ask questions with a genuine desire to understand their thoughts and feelings and hopes. Sometimes we are too busy giving 'advice' that we never try and understand the person which is what they are seeking. Ideas for quality conversation: - Maintain eye contact when they are talking to you. - Don't listen to your loved one and do something else at the same time. If you are doing something you can't turn from immediately tell them the truth. You could say something such as "I know you're trying to talk to me and I'm interested, but I want to give you my full attention and I can't do that right now, but if you will give me 10minutes to finish this, I'll sit down and listen to you." - listen for feelings. Ask yourself "what emotion is my loved one feeling." You can also clarify this to show you are listening e.g "it sounds like you're feeling angry because _______." - Observe body language. - Refuse to interrupt. Quality activities is another dialect of quality time. Quality activities could be anything which one or both of you have an interest in. The emphasis is not on what you are doing but why you are doing it. Receiving Gifts Gifts are visual symbols of love. A gift is something you can hold in your hand and say, "look he was thinking of me," or "She remembered me." You must be thinking of someone to give them a gift. The gift itself is a symbol of that thought. It doesn't matter whether it costs money. What is important is that you thought of them. To the individual whose primary love language is receiving gifts, the cost of the gift will matter little, unless it is greatly out of line with what you can afford (e.g a millionaire constantly giving dollar gifts could have someone question their love, whereas a family member who is limited in funds these would be accepted happily). Physical presence or the gift of self especially in times of crisis is often one of the most powerful gifts you can give if your loved ones primary language is receiving gifts. If gift giving is your loved ones primary language, try keeping a gift idea notebook. When you hear them say "I really like that" write it down. Acts of Service Acts of service is doing things your loved one would like you to do. You seek to please them by serving them. Chapman said concerning this that, "If this is your spouse’s primary love language, nothing speaks as loudly as these acts of service. You may give him or her words of affirmation, but they are thinking, “Cut the talk. If you loved me, you would do something around here.” For them, actions truly speak louder than words." He goes on to speak of how Jesus himself demonstrated this love language to us when He washed His disciples feet. However, acts of service must be freely given. A slave has no freedom and so cannot freely show love. If acts of service are to be acts of love they must be given freely. Requests direct the flow of love, demands stop it. Don't be afraid to tell your loved one about the acts of service you did for them today, they won't feel like you are bragging but feel loved. Sometimes it is good to do things without telling your loved ones, but by letting them know it also lets them know you care about them. Physical Touch For some people physical touch is their primary love language, without it they don't feel loved. Physical touch can communicate hate or love. It can destroy a relationship or build one up. Like all Love Languages they can work in the negative, so where saying hurtful word to someone whose language is words of affirmation would severely hurt them, so too would a push to a child or loved one whose love language is physical touch. With the physical touch we need to learn to speak the dialect our loved one speaks not what we think they would like. The best way to find this out is to ask. If our loved one's primary love language is physical touch we should try and think of ways that we can show them love through touch. It requires little time but much thought especially if this is not your primary language. An example of physical touch could be as simple as sitting close to each other while watching or listening to a sermon. So these are the primary love languages, we next need to discover what our own and loved ones Love Languages are so that we can keep each other's love tanks full.
We can ask ourselves or loved ones questions to try and figure this out such as: - What makes you feel most loved by your spouse/parent/friend? - What do you desire above all else? - What does your loved one do or say or fail to do or say that hurts you deeply? (e.g if your loved ones critical words hurt you most you may be words of affirmation). - How do you show love to others? - You can do the tests at the end of this article to confirm your primary love language Love is a choice. We need to intentionally choose to speak our loved ones love language. Love does not need to depend on whether we are receiving or feeling loved ourselves, we can choose to love regardless. Although we have a primary love language, we need all the Love Languages. If your loved one's primary language is physical touch, neglecting words of affirmation and all the other languages will not make them feel fulfilled. Sometimes our primary love languages can change and be masked by another language that is being neglected. Once you are aware of Love Languages you can begin to actively communicate with your loved one in a way they understand. Remember, love is a choice. To do the Love Languages test for married couples click here. To do the Love Languages test as a single click here. This can also be good for married couples if they want to see if their love language shifts with a friend relationship rather than a romantic relationship. To do the Love Language test for children click here or for teenagers click here. For a younger child you could read the questions out to them and ask them to tell you which ones they pick.
Alternatively you can go straight to the Five Love Languages website and do the tests online (They will email you your results).
If you want to learn more about the love languages for children you can watch this video below where Gary Chapman specifically speaks about the languages and your child.