Many times, a relationship can have problems because of miscommunication, but particularly, a miscommunication in love. I am fascinated to meet couples on a regular basis, that feel that they are “incompatible” when really, they are just speaking different love languages. Luckily, just like any other language, the languages of love can be learnt.
In Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages, he explains that we all speak in 5 languages when it comes to love, but there is one dominant (and a secondary) that is our main mode of expressing and receiving love. To find out someone’s love language, there are a bunch of online quizes which I would encourage you to do but you can also learn a lot by observing the person to see how they best show love. Because that is how they also receive (read: feel the most love). This is great for couple relationships but also for parent-child relationships or friends, or any relationship really! All kinds of problems can arise when you are speaking different love languages.
The languages (in no particular order) are:
Acts of service
This is actually my primary way of showing and receiving love. I show love through helping others and I also feel most loved when others take time out to do something for me. These are usually practical things, like cleaning my car or cooking me dinner or doing a task for one of my children so that I can relax. So helpful for someone who tends to get very busy “doing” things for others. These are the “action speaks louder than words” types.
Many people misunderstand this sensual language. It is not just about what happens in the bedroom (though it definitely can be!), it is for those people who are generally more affectionate, showing love through a hug or a massage. The types that like to hold hands. Physical touch can take on so many forms but for someone who enjoys this, they can also feel that you are not interested if you don’t give them some form of affection. For these types, physical touch can help them to feel loved and a sense of belonging and comfort.
Words of Affirmation
Words can be extremely powerful, but particularly for someone whose love language is about words. You will find these people always offering encouragement, telling you that “you can do it”. They are likely to tell you they love you and express their emotions to you through talking. For those that have this as their primary, they really need to hear “I love you” or encouragement to feel secure in your love for them.
For someone whose primary language is quality time, it actually doesn’t matter so much what you are doing, so long as you are doing something together and that your attention and energy are towards the other. They feel most loved when you choose to spend your precious time with them, rather than doing something else with your time. Quality time means being attentive to the other without distractions, listening and often doing activities together. For those with this language, they can feel cut off if you are always busy. You could see how a miscommunication can arise if you are busy doing things that you thought would help them (if you are an acts of service type).
Some people like to show their affection by giving a gift. This can be flowers or chocolates on Valentines Day or just because. It doesn’t have to cost a lot, but the person will feel loved because of the thought and energy that have been spent in choosing a gift for them. Those with this gift as their primary may feel offended if you forgot their birthday or anniversary.
If you haven’t already, take the quiz! I would love to hear your results. I am a acts of service and words of affirmation type but of course I love them all! I also love a few at the same time like physical affection while travelling on a holiday. Play with it. It can be fun to try to speak another language 😉 And, just as a side note, especially for children, it is important that you speak all the languages but it can really enhance your relationship if you can learn to speak the primary language of your partner or children.
Did you know we also have sexual languages? I will share all about those in the next post!
Image thanks to Teddy Kelley found on unsplash