Speaking the Same Love Language

The Five Love Languages

Gary Chapman’s, The Five Love Languages is based on the idea that we each have our own ways we express and experience love. He believes unhappiness occurs in relationships when these ways differ than between partners.  The different ways one can express love have been divided into five categories, or languages.  Imagine you and your partner each spoke a different language, now imagine trying to tell your partner you love them. It might be a little tricky.  Some of the message might get through, but the depth of the feelings gets lost.  The same thing happens when you speak different love languages.

Below I have written a brief summary of each of the five languages. I have also included tips on what you can do if your partner’s language matches one of them.  The idea is to try your best to express your love in ways that mean the most to them.  Speak their language!  You will get the most bang for your buck.

The Five Love Languages are:

1.      Words of affirmation

  • Verbal compliments, words of appreciation, use kind words,
  • Example : “ You look sharp in the suit” “I appreciate you doing the dishes”
  • May not be a primary language
  • If this is your spouse’s love language, try:
  • Remind yourself: Words are important!
  • Write a love letter
  • Set a goal to compliment you spouse every day for a month

2.     Quality Time

  • Togetherness: not just being in the same room but focusing you attention on your spouse
  • Quality conversation: two individuals sharing their experiences, thoughts, feelings, and desires in a friendly, uninterrupted context.
  • How to use sympathetic listening:
  1. Maintain eye contact when your spouse is talking
  2. Don’t listen to your spouse and do something else at the same time
  3. Listen for feelings
  4. Observe body language
  5. Refuse to interrupt
  • Quality activities: spend time doing something you enjoy while focusing on each other. These provide a memory bank that a couple can pull from for many years.
  • If this is your spouse’s love language, try:
  • Talk a walk together through the old neighborhood where one of you grew up. Ask questions about your spouse’s childhood
  • Make a luncheon appointment with your spouse
  • Ask your spouse for a list of five activities that they would enjoy doing with you.

3.     Receiving gifts

  • Something you can hold in your hand that makes you think “they were thinking about me”.
  • The gift of self: physical presence in the time of crisis
  • If this is your spouse’s love language, try”
  • A parade of gifts: leave a box of candy in the morning; have flowers delivered in the afternoon; give a small gift at night.
  • Make a gift
  • Give your spouse a gift everyday for one week
  • Talk about times they need you to be present

4.     Acts of service

  • Doing things out of love not due to gender roles or obligation.
  • If this is your spouse’s love language, try
  • Make a list of all the requests your spouse has made of you over the past few weeks. Select one of these each week and do it as an expression of love.
  • Give your spouse a love not accompanied by the act of service every three days for a month.
  • Get the children to help you with some act of service

5.     Physical Touch

  • Holding hands, kissing, embracing, sex.
  • Some people feel unloved without physical touch
  • If this is your spouse’s love language, try
  • As you walk from the car to the shopping mall, reach out and hold their hand
  • When you spouse arrives at home, meet them with a hug
  • Initiate sex through massage.

How do I discover my own love language?

  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 of your spouse? The thing you have most often requested is likely the thing that would make you feel most loved.
  3. In what ways do you regularly express love to your spouse? Your method of expressing love may be an indication of something that would make you feel loved.

I recommend Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages.  It is written for people who are in relationships and looking to make improvements. He provides real world examples and simple steps that are outlined in each chapter.   You can also visit their website or download The 5 Love Language App for you mobile device.

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