What’s your love language? It may be Valentine’s Day today, however any day is a good day to ask ourselves this question. In his book titled “The Five Love Languages”, author Gary Chapman takes an in depth look at how we express and like to receive love from others in our lives. Gary shares that the “in love” experience temporarily meets the emotional need for love, but it is a quick fix and has a limited and predictable life span. After we come down from the high of the “in love” obsession, the emotional need for love resurfaces because it is fundamental to our nature. We needed love before we “fell in love” and we will need it as long as we live.
Could it be that deep inside the hurting couples exists an invisible “emotional love tank” with its gauge on empty? Could the misbehaviour, withdrawal, harsh words or critical spirit occur because of that empty love tank? If we could find a way to fill it, could the marriage/relationship be reborn? With a full tank would couples be able to create an emotional climate where it is possible to discuss differences and resolve conflicts? Could that tank be the key that makes marriages work?
According to Gary Chapman and the work he has experienced with his seminars on the five love languages, the answer very frequently is yes! I have shared this work in relationship seminars over the past few years and found it to be a beautiful companion to the Enneagram, a personality system which identifies the core motivation for our thoughts, emotions and actions. Relationships can provide the perfect arena for life long learning about ourselves. Let me share the Five Love Languages according to Gary.
#1 Words of Affirmation
It is a fact that when we receive affirming words we are far more likely to be motivated to reciprocate.
- Verbal compliments or words of appreciation are powerful communicators of love.
- Encouraging words can be used to inspire courage in areas where we feel insecure. If we lack courage in an area it often hinders us from accomplishing the positive things we would like to do. Encouragement requires empathy and seeing the world from your partner’s perspective. We must first learn what is important to them. Then you can communicate, I know, I care, I am with you, How can I help?
- Love is kind. The manner in which we speak is very important.
#2 Quality Time
Definition: giving someone your undivided attention. It is a powerful emotional communicator of love. A central aspect of quality time is togetherness. Not proximity…togetherness has to do with focused attention.
Quality conversation – the focus is on what we are hearing from the other. If I am sharing my love for you by means of quality time and we are going to spend that time in conversation, it means I will focus on drawing you out, listening sympathetically to what you have to say. I will ask you questions, not in a badgering manner but with a genuine desire to understand your thoughts, feelings and desires. Many of us are trained to analyze problems and create solutions. We forget partnership is a relationship, not a project to be completed or a problem to solve.
- Maintain eye contact
- Don’t listen to your spouse and do something else at the same time
- Listen for feelings
- Observe body language
- Refuse to interrupt
#3 Receiving Gifts
Gifts are visual symbols of love. Gifts can be big planned gifts at typically learned times or can be small everyday tokens of love and attention. You can get creative with this and have fun. If this is so out of your realm, then ask close friends or family members for suggestions. Everyone loves to support acts of kindness that make people happy. Don’t forget the gift of self – being there when your spouse really needs you speaks loudly to the one whose primary love language is receiving gifts.
#4 Acts of Service
Acts of service are doing things that you know your partner would like you to do. You seek to please by serving and express your love by doing things for the other. They require thought, planning, time effort and energy. If done with a positive spirit, they are indeed expressions of love.
#5 Physical Touch
We have long known that physical touch is a way of communicating emotional love. For some individuals, physical touch is their primary love language. With it, their emotional tank is filled, and they feel secure in the love of their spouse. This area includes all 5 senses. Physical touch can make or break a relationship. It can communicate hate or love. In marriage, the touch of love may take many forms. Since touch receptors are located throughout the body, lovingly touching your spouse almost anywhere can be an expression of love.
Once you discover that physical touch is the primary love language of your spouse, you are limited only by your imagination on ways to express love.
Discovering your Primary Love Language
What is your Primary Love language? There are few questions that you can ask yourself to assist in this discovery.
1. What does your spouse do or fail to do that hurts you most deeply? The opposite of what hurts you most is probably your love language.
2. What have you most often requested or your spouse? The thing you have most often requested is likely the thing that would make you feel most loved.
3. In what way do you regularly express love to your spouse? Your method of expressing love may be an indication that would also make you feel loved.
So – have some fun this Valentine’s Day exploring what your love language is. We rarely choose a partner who has the same language and that’s where the fun begins. My husband now knows that my main language is Quality Time so he can forgo the flowers and chocolate and come home early from work to spend the evening together doing something we both enjoy!
“The quality of your life is the quality of your relationships.” Anthony Robbins
“The purpose of a relationship is not to have another who might complete you; but to have another with whom you might share your completeness.” Neale Donald Walsch
“At the heart of mankind’s existence is the desire to be intimate and to be loved by another. “ Gary Chapman
I’d love your feedback! And here on my blog, you’ll get commentluv. Not just today but all the time! This is a great opportunity to leave a link back to your own blog.
Until next time,