Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What is Your Love Language?

I've been waiting until the month of LOVE to post about these amazing books. I was introduced to them a few years ago when my younger brother and his wife lent the first to my parents, who in turn told me I should pick it up. The name of this amazing book? "The Five Love Languages," by Gary Chapman, Ph.D.

What makes this book such a great find? For me, at least, I've had an extraordinary look into my relationship with my husband, and after 12 years of marriage why I've never doubted his love for me. It comes down to one simple fact: he speaks my love language.

Dr. Chapman is a marriage and family counselor. Over his many years of helping people he discovered something remarkable about the way people give and receive love - not everyone speaks the same love language.

According to Dr. Chapman, languages of love can be separated into five different areas:

Quality Time
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
Physical Touch

One of the most common complaints between couples who have been together for a long time is they don't know if their partner still loves them. "He never holds my hand anymore, or gives me hugs," she might say. "She never tells me she loves me anymore, and is often critical" he might say.

In the beginning of a relationship we tend to use all five love languages in wooing the person we're after. It covers all the bases. We like to hold hands, to spend time together, to say words of love, to do things for one another, and to give little gifts. Once the wooing is over, usually a year or two after marriage (after the honeymoon phase), we begin to slip into our own comfort zone of loving.

Unless we're fortunate enough to find someone who speaks the same primary love language, we will begin to wonder if the love is really still there. Think for a moment of a gas tank. When the tank is full, the car runs. When the tank is empty, the car stalls. Now imagine you have a love tank. When the tank is full we feel as though we can accomplish anything and everything! When it's not full, we begin to stall - in our relationships as well as in life.

Finding your significant other's love language isn't always easy, but the biggest key is to look for ways they try to show you love. Be aware that the lovely meal they just slaved all day at is a sign of love (acts of service). The little notes they tuck away for you to find shows love (words of affirmation). Sitting on the couch and cuddling while you watch a movie together shows love (physical touch). Bringing in a flower they picked especially for you shows love (gifts). Doing something they know you like shows love (quality time). Typcially people will love others in the same way they receive love.

Look for ways you give love, or the things that make you feel the most loved. If sitting down and having someone listen (really listen) makes you feel loved, quality time would be your language. If you enjoy it when someone plays with your hair, physical touch would be your language.

Keep in mind many people have a primary love language (the biggest way they give/receive love), and could have a very close secondary love language as well.

My primary love language is words of affirmation. I need to hear the words. I need to be told how great I am! I have treasured letters and notes from loved ones I received way back when I was a kid. Yet a very close second is acts of service. I love to serve others, and appreciate the kind words they give me in return. So my primary and secondary love languages go hand in hand.

Fortunately for me, my husband is much the same way, those we need to reverse the two. His primary language of love is to serve others, but he also so dearly appreciates kind words. I think that's one of the biggest reasons our relationship has been so smooth.

A note of warning. Typically the easiest way we receive love is also the easiest way to hurt us. Someone who craves positive physical touch will feel the most pain when physically abused. Someone who relies on spending quality time with those he/she loves will feel most unloved when ignored or avoided. The surest way to make me feel unloved is to say hateful or mean words. As you learn what language of love your partner has, be careful to keep the experiences positive. Not hurtful.

There are so many wonderful things enclosed within the covers of this book, which I highly recommend not only to those who may be struggling in their marriages, but even to those who feel they have a great relationship with their spouse.
Discovering your partner's love language may not be easy, but I'd highly encourage you to read the book for ways to search this out. We all deserve to feel loved and cherished, and I honestly believe so many marriages would be healthier if spouses were more aware of what the other needs to feel loved. Look for the book in your local library, or here's a link to "The Five Love Languages" on

Tomorrow I hope to talk a little more about how children and teens give and receive love. Believe it or not, there's a big difference.


LaurieW said...

And yes, in case you were wondering, I stole the picture from Amazon :)

Mel said...

I've never read the Love Languages books, but I've heard lots of people rave about them - especially "The Five Love Languages of Children".

BTW - if they didn't want their picture stolen they could keep you from doing it, so you're "borrowing" it. :)

Goldibug said...

These sound really interesting and helpful in any relationship. Thanks for sharing! I'll have to check them out.

Emily said...

It sounds like a great book! I'll have to check it out! :)

Greg and Talena said...

I have read the couples love languages and I really enjoyed them. Thanks for sharing more about the others.