After reading this article on Yahoo! about terrible Mother’s Day gifts, I thought this would be a great time to post about the 5 Love Languages–in case you need to run back to the store before Sunday!
The 5 Love Languages is a book by Dr. Gary Chapman which I highly, highly recommend. However, if you really, really, really aren’t a reader (and I know some of you, my dear friends and readers, who aren’t…Mr. Fix-it included) the website is pretty cool too.
His website sums it up like this…
After many years of counseling, Dr. Chapman noticed a pattern: 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.
The five languages are:
Words of Affirmation––Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.
Quality Time–In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.
Receiving Gifts–Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.
Acts of Service–Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.
Physical Touch–This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.
The website even includes a quiz you can take to determine what your love language is.
As imperfect humans, we tend to express love in our own primary language (because we understand it) and get hurt if it’s not received the way we expect. But no matter how nice or how loving you try to be to someone, if you’re not speaking their love language then it’s not going to have as much meaning to them. You need to speak their language to express love to them.
It’s an eye-opener. After reading the book, I realized a lot of things about my relationships. I connect well with Rachel, my crafting buddy, partly because we both “speak” in Gift Receiving. That’s probably partly why I like crafting so much to begin with (since I’m certainly not finding release for my soul-consuming artistic passions because I’m not artistic at all). There’s something about giving away your heart-blood in a homemade, handmade gift that speaks to my soul–that’s not surprising if you know my primary love languages are Gift Receiving and Acts of Service. However, my gift giving efforts with Mr. Fix-it often fell flat because his primary language is Words of Affirmation. He didn’t see buying double chocolate, mint oreo cookies as a love offering. He saw it as grocery shopping.