Want a a relatively easy thing to do relationship wise? Find out what your favorite “love language” is AND what your partners, friends or family members is/are.
I read Gary Chapman’s book called “The five love languages” about 10 years ago and I used it in my relationship at the time. It was really interesting to see that I was a “quality time” guy (see the 5 languages and definitions below) and my partner then, was “acts of service”. So, I liked to show and receive love by talking, fully present, with her and having her listen attentively. She was different in that she would clean the house or do things for me to show her love (acts of service). Interestingly we would get into fights because of this. I wanted her to stop cleaning, for example, and just “be present” with me and being present didn’t do anything for her, just like the cleaning didn’t make me feel like I was loved by her. After reading the book, we had a pretty big aha! We then talked about our love languages and asked each what we would like in daily “love gesture”. For me, I wanted a “two minute time out”, so we would take at least two minutes a day to visit, without doing anything else. For her, I made the bed daily. This may sound small but it was powerful for us.
Is one reason we attract relationships in our lives is to learn about expanding the way we love? I can say for me, that going through this I learned about a different way of loving that wasn’t my natural way of loving and in my growth my relationship grew. I find the 5 love language process simple, but powerful.
The 5 love languages below are from Gary Chapman’s website: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/. It has a lot of information and a free, short quiz if you want to test out what kind of love language is most important to you.
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.
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.
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.
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.