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By now, I am sure you have heard of Gary Chapman’s relationship-changing book THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES. If you have read the book, great! If not, I would highly recommend it. It is a game-changer folks. A total relationship game-changer.
If you are single, married, dating, parenting kids, a devoted friend, a boss, a coworker . . . the Five Love Languages can help you foster healthier more meaningful relationships.
The idea behind the Five Love Languages is that we each feel loved in a different way. Love does not come in a one size fits all package. Unhappiness in a relationship often has a simple root cause: we speak different love languages, believes Dr. Gary Chapman.
In a friendly, often humorous style, Chapman unpacks each one. Some men or women may crave focused attention; another needs regular praise. Gifts are highly important to one person, while another sees fixing a leaky faucet, ironing a shirt, or cooking a meal as making them feel loved. Some partners might find physical touch makes them feel valued: holding hands, and giving back rubs. Chapman illustrates each love language with real-life examples from his thirty years of counseling.
According to Mr. Chapman, there are five love languages that makes us feel loved and cared for:
- Words of Affirmation
- Quality Time
- Receiving Gifts
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
This post is NOT meant to be a replacement for the book. There is a wealth of knowledge and inspiration in Mr. Chapman’s book that is necessary for understanding the Five Love Languages and how to speak them. This post is meant to give you some solid examples of how to speak your loved one’s love language.
WHAT IS YOUR LOVE LANGUAGE?
CLICK HERE to take the quiz. Click on “Learn Your Love Language” and answer the questions. ANSWER HONESTLY. When you are done come back. I’ll be right here waiting. :)
. . . . (insert Jeopardy Theme Song) . . . .
Oh good! You're Back! So you have your Love Language. What are you? The whole idea of Love Languages fascinates me and has changed so many of my relationships for the better. Comment below and let me know!
I am a Words of Affirmation by FAR . . . BY FAR! My next closest is Physical Touch. But Words of Affirmation is number one for me. That doesn’t mean the other Love Languages don’t apply to me. It’s just that Words of Affirmation rank the highest.
Next, if you are in a relationship, have your spouse or boyfriend take the quiz. Have your parents take the quiz. If you are a parent, have your adult children take the quiz. If you are single, take the quiz.
The Five Love Languages are NOT just for people in relationships. Mr. Chapman has a book for singles, a book specifically designed for men, a book about the love languages of children, and a book about the love languages of Teenagers. There is even a five-love language for military families and the five languages of appreciation at the Workplace.
So again . . . this isn’t just about Embracing Love in a romantic relationship. It’s about Embracing Love, Feeling Loved, and Giving Love. . . PERIOD.
My boyfriend Steven and I made a date night and took the quiz together. It was a great cheap date, and we had so much fun talking about our love languages.
WHAT DO THEY MEAN?
The five ways we feel love each manifest differently. Each one requires practice to be able to speak fluently. Let me give you a few examples from my own life to demonstrate each language.
WORDS OF AFFIRMATION
This is my primary love language. I run a non-profit community theater in my offline life. When you run a business, you very rarely feel appreciated. You get the complaints, you fight fires, you encourage everyone around you, you handle arguments, you stress over finances, you keep the doors open, but you rarely get encouraged or thanked. For someone whose primary love language is Words of Affirmation, this often leaves me feeling extremely empty in my work.
I am always the one giving out the “You are amazing”, “You’re performance was awesome”, “I am so proud of you”, and believe it or not, I never get any of that in return.
Currently, I am playing the role of M’Lynn in our production of Steel Magnolias. Last night, the lady playing Truvy quietly came up to me and said, “Erika, you are the most amazing M’Lynn. I can feel your emotion in every word you speak.”
I felt like I was flying. That one compliment filled my “love tank” (you’ve got to read the book!) It filled my heart. A million dollars wouldn’t have given me the love that our sweet “Truvy” gave me last night.
If the person you love is a Words of Affirmation they need:
- Kind Words
- A Listening Ear
If the person you love is a Words of Affirmation what they don’t need:
- Assumption that they know how loved they are.
- Assumption that they know how good they are.
- Assumption that they know you are proud of them.
- Non-constructive criticism
- Not appreciating or recognizing their efforts
- Emotionally harsh words.
How do you speak Words of Affirmation in a practical way? Download the Guide at the end of the post.
My friend's husbands primary Love Language is QUALITY TIME. He asked her to sit with him to watch the football game. She agreed she would because she wanted to practice quality time. So she sat for the football game . . . with her phone . . . and a book . . . and some knitting.
After the game she told her husband that they enjoyed their time together. He said, “What time? You were on your phone the whole time and when you weren’t on your phone you were reading. I wanted to experience the game WITH you. Not just have a warm body next to me.”
She learned her lesson, and although she loathes football, for the next game, she sat with her honey. She didn’t bring the phone. She listened to him describe the game to her, and they laughed together and had a great night.
If the person you love is needs QUALITY TIME they need:
- Uninterrupted and focused conversations.
- One-on-One time.
- Time together even if it is just running errands.
- Face-to-Face conversation.
- Your whole attention.
If the person you love is QUALITY TIME, this is what they don’t need:
- Long periods of being apart.
- Distracted conversations
- Spending time with anyone but each other.
- Long stints without one-on-one time.
Physical touch is my secondary love language. Physical touch is most often confused with “sex”. While intimacy is a part of it, those who feel loved by physical touch can feel love with a simple hand hold.
My son is only seven, and I’m sure his love languages will change as he grows up. But physical touch is one of his. He cannot start his day until he gives me a hug and a kiss. He likes to cuddle on the couch to watch a movie. If he is playing for an extended period of time, he stops and comes over to give me a squeeze. I hope he never grows out of that Love Language.
If the person you love needs PHYSICAL TOUCH they need:
- Non-verbal body language to emphasize love.
- Non-sexual touch that reinforces your presence.
- Lots of simple hugs, hand-holding, and gentle touches.
If the person you love is PHYSICAL TOUCH this is what they don’t need:
- Long periods without intimacy
- Physical neglect
- Coldly giving affection
- Any sort of physical abuse
How do you speak PHYSICAL TOUCH in apractical way? Download the Guide at the end of the post.
Giving gifts is on the lowest rung of my love languages. I love getting gifts. It is a sweet thought from the giver, but I don’t necessarily need to get a gift to feel loved . . . like I need words of affirmation. Does that make sense?
My dad shows love through GIVING GIFTS. My Dad works in New York City. He was walking to work one day, and in the middle of the sidewalk on W57th Street, he found a small plastic dog bone; about the size of his finger. He picked it up, and put it in his pocket. It was dirty and scratched. Still, he picked it up.
When he got home, he gave this little gift to my mom and said, “Honey, you will always be “bone” of my bone and flesh of my flesh.” My mom broke down crying as if he gave her a diamond necklace. To this day, she keeps that dirty little bone in her jewelry box as one of her most prized possessions.
If your loved one feels love through RECEIVING GIFTS, they need:
- Making your spouse a priority.
- Gifts on Special Occasions.
- Small trinkets on just the average Tuesday to let your loved one know you are thinking of them.
If your loved one feels love through RECEIVING GIFTS, they don’t need:
- Forgetting special occasions.
- Dutiful, unenthusiastic gift giving.
- Materialism. Giving gifts is not about the most expensive things. A flower picked from a rose bush can mean everything in the world to someone who receives love through gifts.
ACTS OF SERVICE
Acts of Service is not my primary love language, but I still feel loved through acts of service. My life is so busy right now. I don’t get home much before 9:30/10 each night, and start working again when I get home.
My Steven sees how hard I work, and has helped me out when and where he can. He has taken on the bulk of one of my business’ so I can teach my son. He will clean the theater, take the garbages out, take phone calls, and intercept when someone wants to come and complain.
The other day, I was sick. He brought my son back home to me from the theater, and while he was there emptied the dishwasher for me, and took out my garbage before he left. That’s love to someone who is an Acts of Service.
If your loved one feels love through ACTS OF SERVICE, they need:
- Assisting with chores.
- Ongoing help with housework.
- Helpful partners who are with them no matter what.
- Someone who will go out of their way to elevate their workload.
If your loved one feels love through ACTS OF SERVICE, they don’t need:
- Lack of follow through.
- Making work more important that your loved one.
- Making someone else’s to-do’s more important than your loved one.
- Ignoring requests for help.
How do you speak Acts of Service in apractical way? Download the Guide at the end of the post.
These are the basics of the Five Love Languages. Again, to really dig deeper into each of these languages and how they work, read Gary Chapman’s Book.
If you are familiar with the Love Languages, I put together a little E-book with practical ways to speak your loved ones love language.
I am blessed that Steven and I speak the same love languages. It is fairly easy to show love to each other . . . whether we do it or not on a regular basis is a different story. It is always something that we are working on; putting each other before ourselves.
But if your spouse is a Quality Time, and you aren’t. You have to put them first every once in a while to show them love by spending uninterrupted time together. If your spouse feels love by Words of Affirmation, the last things they need to hear is “You know that I love. I married you!”.
I hope as you Embrace Love, you will see that the love from God is an unselfish love. (1 Corinthians 13) You will have to work at speaking your loved ones love language, and you know what, if we are called to love like Jesus, then we should willingly put in the effort to speak their language clearly.
To download your Fun and Practical ways to Speak the Five Love Languages, click here.