For Valentine's Day, I thought it would be appropriate to re-share an article I wrote a few years ago. Enjoy.
The Five Love Languages: "How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate"
Book by: Gary Chapman
Many of us were raised as children with the golden rule: "do unto others what you would have them do unto to you" Matthew 7:12. As I grew up and developed a stronger sense of empathy I began to realize that in order for the people around you to feel valued and heard, you need to turn the tables. Hence we must "do unto to others as they would have done unto themselves". I have tried to learn to live by this throughout my adulthood, most importantly as a wife and parent.
When I read "The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate" Gary Chapman brought this whole ideology into focus for me. The book is easy to read and includes questionnaires and worksheets to help you learn how to apply the love languages in your own life. He does this in a mere 203 pages.
The concept of "Love Languages" is clever. Gary has created five categories for these:
- Quality Time
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
The basic idea is that we all feel love through different ways in which our mates express it. Most of us feel love as adults in the same way that it was shown to us as children. For instance, as a child I was given gobs of praise and hugs (I am the baby of four children). Therefore my main love languages are words of affirmation and physical touch. That is to say I hear and feel "I love you" loud and clear through these actions.
When my husband (or anyone for that matter) tells me how much he loves me, praises me or hugs me, I feel very loved. Here is where it starts to get interesting. My husband has a different main love language. His is "acts of service". He is hugely appreciative and loves it when I make him a coffee, good meal or get out and work with him on a project around the house.
Here is the ah-ha moment!
We tend to show love in the same way we want to receive it. This however may not be the best way for our loved ones to receive our love and hear it loud and clear. They need to hear it in one of their main languages. Easy!
Can you see it? My husband is constantly doing wonderful things for me, and I don't show anywhere near the appreciation for it as I do for just a simple hug. It isn’t that I don't appreciate it, I just don't feel the kind of impact he does and it shows. Feelings always do.
Varied Levels of Each Language
We each show love through all of these languages at different levels of intensity. The trick is to understand which languages ring louder for those we love so we can use them to develop loving and strong relationships.
30 years ago, my husband bought me a car part and installed it for me on Valentines Day. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t a “Hallmark” style sentimental gift because it came with true love and appreciation for me. Something that he gives me everyday, not just when Hallmark says too.