Saturday, February 11, 2012

What Love Language Do You Speak?

We've all heard about the book "Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus." We're very different, and that's a good thing. However, the differences aren't simply male and female. Our personalities are also different, and the way that we "receive" love is different. Dr. Gary Chapman wrote a book a number of years ago called "The Five Love Languages" to explain this very reality. Understanding the differences between ourselves and others has saved many a home and helped many a family. It's a great book to have in your library.

So, what are the Five Love Languages? Here is the quick list.
  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Quality Time
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Physical Touch
Here's a quick synopsis of each. I've included, at the end of this article, a link to a free on-line assessment where you can figure out your love language. This would be a great exercise and discussion starter for you and your husband or wife on Valentine's Day.

Words of Affirmation. The person who has this as their primary love language has the need to hear their loved one say "I love you," "I'm proud of you," and other encouraging words, without being asked. They also are devastated by hurtful words.

Quality Time. This type of person needs the undivided attention of their loved one. Tardiness, forgetfulness or distraction will make this person feel that they are unloved.

Receiving Gifts. This person is not so much into materialism as they are into thoughtfulness. They love the feeling that the person they cared about took the time and the energy to think of them, even if it was a small gift. Not remembering big occasions for this person can result in big relationship challenges.

Acts of Service. For this person, small things like helping with the dishes or cleaning up make a big difference. They value the idea that the other person cares enough to help in tangible ways. Laziness and not following through will lead to problems.

Physical Touch. This person needs physical contact, lots of hugs, touches and holding of hands. Neglecting this need results in pain and isolation.

The point of this lesson is this, we need to understand the love language of those we love in order to more effectively communicate to them. We can be speaking our love language and thinking that all is well, while our partner is wondering why we don't care. It happens all the time. Relationships are complicated. Understanding the five love languages will give you another tool in your relationship toolbox.

Since publishing the first book, Chapman has also written "The Five Love Languages of Children," and "The Five Love Languages of Teenagers" among others. All are helpful in understanding the ones you love. 

Please check out the free on-line assessment and ask your loved ones to do the same.

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