Dr. Gary Chapman has outlined five ways people give and receive love in his book The 5 Love Languages. Take the quiz at 5lovelanguages.com to discover yours!
What is your love language? How does that affect your approach to romantic relationships, family relationships, and friendships? How do you give and receive love with people who have different love languages?
Whew! I am just under the wire with this post. The link-up closes in just a few hours. I am so glad to have Rachel as my co-host!
I initially suggested the topic of love languages for NAS because I find it fascinating how much sense they make. As I mentioned last week, a friend of mine is highly skeptical of the love languages because he sees them as too limiting. (Interestingly, I often remind him not to put me in a box; he doesn’t know me as well as he thinks he does. We really are friends, I promise.) On the contrary, I find them useful for understanding the different ways people show and feel love.
The key to the love languages is understanding that some people will not feel loved if you don’t speak their love language, and understanding in tandem that you might feel that someone doesn’t love you because that person is not speaking your love language. For years, I met people who would say, “I’m just a huggy person” and think them certifiably insane and kind of mean for invading my personal space with such clear joy. I am not “a huggy person,” and I didn’t think that was really a thing until I encountered love languages. Now, I get it.
I have a different friend whose love language is definitely Physical Touch. He is a huggy person. If we were out somewhere together and he didn’t shake my hand, clap me on the back (not hard), or put his arm around me, I would think he was mad at me. He’s married; he’s not into me. That is just how he shows the love of friendship. I have always struggled with physical touch in general, but I get now that some people are just inclined to touch the people they love. I understand that they show me that they love me by hugging me.
My love languages are Quality Time and Words of Affirmation. In preparation for this post, I dug up my first Love Languages profile, from back in June 2012. (I keep things. I’m that girl.) I scored equally in those two languages. I took it again before I started writing this post, and Quality Time came in higher by just a few points. If you’d asked me to guess, I would have predicted that result.
Words of Affirmation used to be my “thing.” I still well up with tears of joy thinking that, not only do I know my parents are proud of me, but I also know specific instances when they’ve told other people how proud they are of me. I know they love me.
These days, I build intentional friendships. I invite people I care about to spend time with me. I make the effort to see them, to talk to them. When my friends check their phones while we are having a conversation, I feel hurt. It makes me feel like they don’t care even though they do care. Doing chores is never going to make me feel as loved and appreciated as Quality Time does.
But this is not just a post explaining my love language(s). It’s about how I relate to people based on love languages. I have never been big on gifts. I like presents; everybody likes presents. But I would rather spend significant time (preferably pre-planned, but spontaneous is okay) with someone I love than get a token. However, I have learned to see the love behind the gifts. I can carry my own suitcase, but my dad likes to carry it for me, so I let him (and I don’t begrudge him if he’s carrying something else, so I have to do it). I can open my own doors, but it makes gentlemen feel like they’re being polite and manly and good people when I let them open doors for me. They are showing their love for me through Receiving Gifts and Acts of Service even though I don’t feel as clearly loved that way.
My takeaway from knowing what little I do about the love languages is how important it is to know someone’s love language and to speak it, even if it is not your love language. Looking at all five, you could probably guess yours. But could you guess the dominant love language of each of your family members? Your significant other or spouse? Your best friend? Can you think of ways to speak every love language? Imagine how much richer your relationships could be if you knew that mowing the lawn would be a much better gift than a tennis bracelet, or a birthday phone call would be met with more joy than a card, or kisses hello and goodbye speak much louder than texts throughout the day.
Now we just have to make love languages an even bigger “thing” so people will start sharing theirs the way they’ll share MBTIs and learning styles.
Next week’s topic: Dating
What is a date? How do you define “going on a date” with a man versus “hanging out” with him or “talking” with him?
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Link up with Rachel at Keeping It Real… um, in the next two hours. I will be on time for my first hosting post next week, I promise.