The Language of Love

Image courtesy The 5 Love Languages Site
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Some years ago, I read The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.  While I realized we each love differently, I really hadn’t nailed down the specifics enough to put the realization to any effective use, for myself or others.  My watered down version of this theory was:

“If you loved me, you would put the toilet seat down and quit spraying toothpaste speckles all over the bathroom mirror.”

That request was, in fact, a telling sign of one of my Love Languages, Acts of Service.

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Courtesy of the official 5 Love Languages Website, here are the  Big 5:

“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. You thrive on hearing kind and encouraging words that build you up.

Acts of Service – 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. The words he or she most wants 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. When others serve you out of love (and not obligation), you feel truly valued and loved.

Receiving Gifts-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 or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures. Gifts are heartfelt symbols to you of someone else’s love and affection for you.

Quality Time -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 all chores and tasks on standby—makes you feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed activities, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. Whether itʼs spending uninterrupted time talking with someone else or doing activities together, you deepen your connection with others through sharing time.

Physical Touch -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. Appropriate and timely touches communicate warmth, safety, and love to you.”

They all sound grand, right?   But as I worked my way through the book I realized how often I failed to recognize the love shown me simply because it was in a Language I didn’t speak.

You can take the quiz too, if you’d like

Five years ago, my Love Language priority list looked like this:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Acts of Service
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Physical Touch

This list also tells you how I chose to love then.  I complimented, requested frequently in-depth conversations to get to know one another better and nearly killed myself trying to be a decent Betty Homemaker (not my natural talent).

Turns out, Hubby’s Top Language was “Physical Touch” – I failed to truly hear the message beneath his observation,

“You know, we never just lay together on the couch and watch tv anymore.”

I’m also sad to report I often impatiently waved him off when he tried to give me hug while I was turning the kitchen into a wasteland, trying to prepare some fantabulous dinner to show him how much I loved him – hey!  I’m engaged in an Act of Service I really suck at – back off – I need to focus…

If only I had known better…

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So why am I sharing this with you?  Because an incident yesterday reminded me of my Words of Affirmation love language.   About how insults, perceived or real devastate me.  I had to ponder whether a recent reaction I had was ego run amok, or my shriveled little heart crying out for the love it had denied itself, in an effort to be ‘unattached to the opinions of others.”

Word to the wise, the more theories you read about what promotes peace and joy, the more chances there are to adopt multiple strategies that sometimes conflict with each other.

All the previous was just the back story to tell you, I received love via Act of Service (listening in form of reading comment), Quality Time (exchanged comments while I worked through my reaction) and Words of Affirmation (she said I made her laugh) from a fellow blogger who took the time to shower me with Love.

This morning, I re-took the test:

  • Acts of Service
  • Quality Time
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Physical Touch

Amazing, right?  Someone who has never met me in the flesh, who really had nothing to gain or lose,  gave me the gift of Love,  in my language and in perfect order – – and wrapped it up in a big, bright, pink bow.

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There are  times I haven’t felt loved, even when those around me were loving me the best way they knew how.

There are times where I failed to love others in their preferred language – maybe they didn’t feel so loved by me.

Our Love Languages change in priority as we grow – we become more balanced in both the ways we love and the ways we perceive the love shown to us.

At least, I hope so – – otherwise my whopping score of 11 for Acts of Service means I’m really just a petty tyrant looking for free labor for landscaping projects…and my Physical Touch score of 1 may indicate Ice Queen status…

But I am getting much better at receiving and appreciating those random Acts of Love that occur every day – if you just know what to look for…

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9 thoughts on “The Language of Love”

  1. I tell my kids about the language of love in relationships and i know them but I have never actually read the book or taken the test. Guess what? My language is words spoken, read, written and my lowest is touch!!! My husbands lowest is telling me he loves me. AND he craves touch.. very interesting.

    I do not think we are suppose to match up; it is all a divine PLOT to force us to grow in love.

    ps. you pull things together really well

    Like

  2. I don’t know what it is about your personality behind your words but by the time I got to big pink bow, I was not just smiling, not just chuckling but a huge boistrous laugh started mid chest area, rose up and BURST out into loud rolls of laughter

    Like

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