We hear a lot of people mention their love language. It’s truly a form of communication—it’s how we express, expect, and receive love. Understanding what makes us tick in a relationship has the power to determine our needs and offerings.
Dr. Gary Chapman is the author of the best-selling book, The 5 Love Languages, and naturally, the premier expert on the subject. He broke them down in detail for those of us that need a refresher, because his first suggestion in applying this knowledge is to learn your own primary love language. And, don’t get too caught up in choosing just one. If you feel torn between two, Dr. Chapman assures us that we are simply bilingual, and we think that’s adorable.
Dr. Chapman encourages us to listen for these words or at least a rendition of them: “When your loved one says ‘I don’t feel loved,’ listen to what they ask for most often, or what they complain about when there is tension in the air. They are telling you how they want to be loved. For instance, ‘you never spend time with me’ is a desire for quality time. Or, ‘would you rub my shoulders’ is a request for physical touch. If you see a pattern, ask them questions about what things you can do to make them feel loved.”
After that, it’s vital that we communicate what we’ve learned about ourselves with the one we want most to love us. Dr. Chapman urges us to talk about specific ways to show how our partners and lovers can speak our love language, and listen to them give ideas on how you can begin to speak theirs. If it’s well received, Dr. Chapman assures that “it will improve the emotional climate of your relationship.” If not, it may be time to cut our losses. Study up on the languages below:
“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. You thrive on hearing kind and encouraging words that build you up.”
“Can helping with homework 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. Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter. When others serve you out of love (and not obligation), you feel truly valued and loved.”
“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.”
“In 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 phones and tasks on standby—makes this person feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed activities, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.”
A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, and thoughtful touches on the arm—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.”
If an ah-ha moment didn’t just occur to you scanning these descriptions by Dr. Chapman, try heading to his website for the quiz. It’ll help solidify any uncertainties and get you fluent in your own needs, stat.
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