Five Love Language
+ Discovering Your Own
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Let me start from the beginning.. I read this book a while ago. It really opened my eyes up to love. Not like romantic love.. necessarily.. but, you know, all kinds of love. It’s called “The 5 Love Languages.”
This book is literally AMAZING. Growing up you’re always told to be kind to those around you. And regardless of how small that seems, it’s a pretty big deal. So.. what? Do we just say out loud that we love everyone and it’s done?
NO! I should hope not. That would mean life is easy, and we all know that’s not the case.
Seriously, if that was it we would all feel loved and we would all be happy. Life would be great. Roses, Daisies, Chocolate, Meadows of Four-Leaf Clover. There wouldn’t be so much divorce. There wouldn’t be so much division between parent and child. There wouldn’t be angry feelings towards friends. There wouldn’t be homeless people on the street. I mean, as a world, we would be a lot better off if it was THAT easy. So.. what is it?
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls of all ages: we are not speaking the same languages. Take me and my brother for example: YES, we both loved each other, but he was trying to tell me in Tagalog and I was trying to tell him in French. It just wasn’t catching on at all on either end.
GET READY, WRITE THIS DOWN NOW.
- 1. Receiving Gifts
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
- Quality Time
It’s that simple. You see, we can all respond to each of these languages, but each of us has a primary language and a secondary language and the rest don’t really make a difference. Actually, of course they make a difference, it’s just that we don’t necessarily respond to these things quite so easily.
We’ve got to fill our love tanks.
Let’s create a scenario.. my love tank is running on empty. Izaak, my gorgeous brother, gives me a bear hug (obvious form of physical touch.) My engine dies. Without a doubt, physical touch is NOT high on my list of languages. Instead, Izaak and I sit down and watch a movie together (quality time), BAM! 5 gallons added to my tank and I feel much better! In this thrill of a good attitude I rush over to Subway to buy my family dinner and pick up one of their delicious cookies for my brother Marcus, DING DING DING!!! Marcus’s love tank is full do to receiving a gift (a COOKIE!) Marcus feels so splendid that he turns to my dad and tells him his bald head is looking so wonderfully spherical and gorgeous and my dad’s face lights up with pure joy that someone noticed his new haircut! (Words of Affirmation!) In his good spirits he picks up all of our dishes and cleans them before my mom even gets a chance.. act of service? I think so. My mom is happy. My dad is happy. Marcus is happy. I am happy. I run and give Izaak a huge loving bear hug, Izaak is happy. We are a happy family. THE END.
Okay, so I may have slightly exaggerated it. But there it is. Who would’ve ever thought that gifts were not my thing? Yeah, I took the quiz and apparently gifts don’t fill up my tank. Quality time on the other hand is a huge boost to my good spirits. I feel loved.
How many times have you heard of that wife who makes dinner for her husband every night and makes sure the house is clean and tries to make him happy and it’s just not enough? Or the kid who doesn’t feel loved by his mother because she never played a game with him? It’s real. It makes sense.
So you love someone.
Love is an act.
What’re you going to DO about it?
Let’s discuss ways to show our love for someone with each love language!
There are many actions that we can do outside of just “getting large luxurious gifts” for our receiving gifts counterparts. One may have a tendency to assume that these individuals are simply materialistic gold diggers, but that has nothing to do with it. Even the smallest tokens of our affection can make a huge difference. For example: time. Giving your time to this loved one will make a huge difference and by recognized, and small gifts can go a long way. Bringing home a box of chocolates, or a lotion… mostly for me, I would just prefer food.
It is also important to express real gratitude when you are offered a gift from this person because to them, they are showing how much they love you through their thoughtful gift. If you simply blow it off, it can be a huge blow to their love tank.
In communication with a gift receiver it is important to give gifts in private. The gift giving is about them, and their feelings, not about showing it off to the world. Keep pleasant facial expressions as a habit, and be thoughtful in making your spouse a priority. They are the gift that keeps on giving.
Be careful not to give gifts unenthusiastically. The gift is important to them and they want it to be as important to you. It is the same for receiving a gift. Show real gratitude for the effort that was put into making, or coming up with, a gift for you.
Avoid materialism. Giving gifts isn’t about your spouse trying to “keep up with the Joneses,” it is about the relationship they share with you. They are not comparing their gifts with their neighbors property (they shouldn’t be) they are taking them for the value you have assigned them as a gift.
DO NOT forget special events. Birthdays, anniversaries, half-birthdays, holidays, unbirthdays, you name it. Heck, if you could come up with a holiday just to shower your spouse with a gift, they would love and appreciate you more for it.
Words of Affirmation
This love language is all about the spoken word and communication. Relatives and friends of this love language member supposed to speak encouraging words often, and please be genuine about it.
Other ways to show your love is through leaving written cards and letters to your spouse, or surprising them with an “I love you” text; however, be careful with the texting because if it is used in place of other methods, it can become lazy and like more of a cop-out to avoid putting in a real effort.
Encouraging words and compliments are central to this individual’s needs. They need to feel that their spouse is completely engaged and impressed with their efforts inside and outside of the home.
It helps to have an affirming spirit and to listen actively when sharing a conversation. This means you respond to what they say, instead of the “uh-huh” and “ok” go-to phrases that over-populate today’s conversations.
Avoid emotionally harsh words when dealing with these individuals. Just as kind and loving words build them up, hateful and rude words can tear them down. Remember the phrase that Thumper’s dad always taught him, “If you can’t say nothing nice, don’t say nothing at all.” That phrase holds true in this situation. We also should avoid undue criticism, if it is not constructive and building them up, then it shouldn’t be said.
Lastly, do not forget to recognize their efforts. If they generally wear pajamas all day and then miraculously decide one day to put on clothes and do their hair, SAY SOMETHING.
Acts of Service
Acts of service is a fun one. The basics of this love language include many opportunities for serving our spouses in very concrete ways by assisting with house chores or exchanging them, and giving ongoing acts of helpfulness. This may mean doing things that get on your nerves. They leave their clothes all over the floor, you pick them up so they don’t have to. Being proactive with these acts of service is key. If your spouse can come home to finished dishes, and clean laundry they will swoon.
Some service receivers may care less about those chores and more about others. Communication is key to this give and take relationship.
So how can you find what they would like? Ask what you can do for them, or make it clear that you will stop and get an item at the store, so they know you are doing it for them, not just because it is convenient. Let them know what you’ve done for them in their absence so that they recognize the work that has gone into the day for them.
And make checklists as a team so that you can each see the workload you are sharing.
DO NOT forget promises. If you promise to finish a task or do a chore, do not blow of the promise, no matter if it is big or small. Try your best not to ignore your spouses requests as well because a job seems like too much work.
Finally, avoid committing too much to others’ requests. Your spouse is your first priority, and if you commit to other peoples wants and needs in place of your spouses, it won’t go unnoticed.
This is probably one of the most straightforward of love languages. Good touch = good. Bad touch = bad. Hugs, pats, kisses, touches, sitting close, cuddling, you name it, they are all wonderful. It is important to make intimacy a priority for the sake of being close with your spouse.
There is not much in the form of communication because everything for this love language individual is primarily non-verbal. This means that pleasant facial expressions, and a good use of body language and touch can emphasize love in impressive ways.
It is important to remember that using physical abuse, threats, and neglect will have a huge impact. These things should never be practiced by any individual for any reason, but they will be far more detrimental to someone with a physical touch love language than to others.
We should always aim to give affection without a cold attitude, and we should not withhold affection without good reason or “as punishment.” For example: if you are sick and not feeling well, withholding intimacy is acceptable, but withholding for months because “you don’t feel like it” is not healthy for either party in the relationship.
Lastly we’ll discuss the quality time love language. This could include running errands together or taking trips. You could go on a walk in the park or simply sit at home and have a conversation.
For extra bonus points, plan something on your own. It makes a real difference when your spouse realizes that you made these plans with them in mind, and that the time you spend with them means enough that you went through the effort to plan an outing.
Good environments for quality time individuals include quiet places with little interruptions, and places where they can enjoy one-on-one conversations.
You should be giving your spouse undivided attention. Staring at your phone, then saying “I’m listening, I heard every word you said,” will not suffice, and will make your spouse feel unloved and under-appreciated.
Avoid spending too much time outside of the home with other friends or groups of people. Leaving your spouse in isolation will not feel loving.
You should not spend significant gaps of time away from your spouse. Month long fishing trips, probably not a good idea. Trips to Europe with your girlfriends, sounds like fun, but it will be hard on your quality time spouse.