“We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.”
Recently, I had an argument with my special friend, Jay. It was so trite; it’s not worth discussing. Even so, I got my feathers ruffled and went upstairs to “try” to be productive. All I really wanted was for him to follow me, give me a hug and tell me he loved me. No such luck! After about 30 minutes, I went downstairs and he was gone. My first thought was that he had gone to buy dinner to bring home for us, but after waiting about 20 minutes and honestly, allowing my mind to think quite a few negative thoughts, I decided to make my own dinner. Right after I sat down and began to eat, he walked in with our dinners from a restaurant he knew I wanted to experience. His comment after he saw that I had made my dinner was “You must not know me very well.”
Later on that night, I remembered reading The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Also, a friend I had recently visited had mentioned how much this book had helped her.
The 5 Love Languages are:
1. Words of Affirmation:
Unsolicited compliments mean the world to someone who has this as their love language.
Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important.
2. Acts of Service:
Anything to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person speaks volumes. Actions speak louder than words.
“Let me do that for you,” are words they most want to hear.
3. Receiving Gifts:
Love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift speak volumes. This has nothing to do with materialism.
Gifts are seen as visual representations of love and are treasured greatly.
4. Quality Time:
Full, undivided attention says “I love you.”
Sharing quality conversation and quality activities are important also.
5. Physical Touch:
Hugs, holding hands and thoughtful touches show concern, care and love.
This fosters a sense of security and belonging in all relationships.
Chapman, an internationally respected marriage and family life expert, theorizes that we usually have 2 main Love Languages. All people are different, and what makes one person feel loved will not necessarily make another person feel loved. By nature, we tend to express love to others in the way we wish they would express love to us. When our spouse or loved one doesn’t respond positively to our way of expressing love, we get frustrated. The problem is that we are speaking the wrong love language and fail to communicate. We miss seeing the signs of Love!
An important point he also makes is that the way we feel love best is also the way we can be hurt the easiest. A parent who works too much and ignores a child to work at the computer would be particularly painful to a child whose love language is Quality Time. The same would pertain to a spouse. And hurtful criticisms would be especially damaging to a child or adult whose love language is Words of Affirmation. How have any of the lack or misuse of the 5 languages affected you in your life?
My top 2 love languages are Physical Touch and Words of Affirmation. (Remember that all I wanted was for Jay to hug me and say “I love you.”) Thinking about it, I realized his 1st love language was Acts of Service….going out and bringing in dinner. Then I remembered all of the Acts of Service he continuously has done that I have taken for granted!
I invite you to take the test at www.5lovelanguages.com to determine your top 2 love languages. Jay kindly took the test for me and so did my two daughters when they were in town last weekend. The idea is for you to give your loved ones love in their main languages, and they do the same for you in your main love languages. Now, I know this exchange won’t solve all of our relationship challenges, yet it certainly does focus on the importance of Love, a tremendously essential human need. When we genuinely feel loved, we certainly feel more secure to better deal with other issues that may arise.
If someone in your family has resistance in taking the test, pay attention to how they show love. Many times how someone shows love is how they best receive it. Also, what they complain about may give you some hints. An example might be “Can you just empty the trash?” All you have heard before is “Nag, nag, nag!” Could an Act of Service be important for them to feel loved? Or “When is the last time you bought me something from one of your trips?” This may mean Receiving Gifts could be their way of feeling loved.
How much stronger and happier our families would be if we were more intentional in using each other’s love language. And what a wonderful way to get to know and understand yourself and your loved ones just a little bit better!
Cheers to YOU,