Knowing Your Love Language Can Help Your Relationships
What is there to know about love languages and relationships? Read and see.
A LITTLE STORY: There was once a young man who wanted to show his love for his wife. So he swam the deepest sea, climbed the highest mountain and tried to reach for the stars. Guess what happened?
His wife left him. Why?
Because he was never home.
How Do I Love Thee?
I chuckled when I read that story. I guess each one of us has a different way of expressing love and seeing certain things as expressions of love. So I see trouble brewing in the air when a person starts feeling "unloved."
Take my spiritual mentor for instance. He shared how his wife simply adores greeting cards-giving as well as receiving them. Not only that, she would keep all the cards she ever got. He's not into cards. Normally, he would just read it quickly and toss it away. Until one fine day, the wife saw the birthday card she had just given him...in the bathroom floor along with some old magazines. She bursts into tears. And he wonders, what did I do now ? All the fuss just for a card?
And of course, there's the wife who wants her husband to notice her new hair or appreciate the things she does for the kids. But ends up feeling frustrated because no words are ever heard. And the husband on the other hand believes he already is doing everything to show his love -- providing financial support, ever-ready to take over plumbing, carpentry, gardening (even if he hastes gardening).
So what is your love language? Have you found yourself complaining that your spouse, your parents, your girl friends and boy friends (and anyone who you have a close relationship with) don't love you enough? If yes, then read on.
Chapman's Five Emotional Love Languages
1. Words of Affirmation
If your primary language is words of affirmation, you need to hear from your loved ones verbal appreciation, compliments or encouragement for you to feel special and loved. Simple and honest statements such as "Honey, you look great in that dress" or "I know you can do it, I believe in you son."
2. Quality Time
I think for most of us, we all value quality time in our relationships. If this is your loved ones love language, make sure that you take the time to engage in activities that you enjoy doing together and giving them your undivided attention during conversations and sharings.
3. Receiving Gifts
Dr. Chapman writes, "Some mates respond well to visual symbols of love. If you speak this love language, you are more likely to treasure any gift as an expression of love and devotion." Gifts does not have to be expensive and big all the time, it can just be buying your spouse's favorite food on your way home or her favorite flowers; or a souvenir item for your kids from your trip.
Discover Your Own Love Language
Ask yourself the following questions:
1. How do I express love to others? (I express love by giving my mate my undivided attention while talking--t.v.must be turned off.)
2. What do I request most often? (I often hear myself asking for a hug or to spend time doing certain things together.)
3. What do I complain about the most? (When you are watching t.v., why can't you hear me?)
4. Acts of Service
Discover what are the acts of service that your loved ones appreciate. Is it doing some specific chores in the house? Is it when you take the time to bring your children to the movies? The most important thing to remember is to do these acts with love.
5. Physical Touch
For many couples, they feel most loved when they receive physical contact from their partner. The challenge is also to find out how the partner wants it done. and how he/she responds to touch. Sexual intimacy is just one aspect of the physical love language. Other forms may include back massages, stroking the cheek, a pat on the shoulder, holding hands or giving a hug.
- The Love Language Quiz
Curious enough to find out what your love language is? Why don't you take this test.
Going back to my mentor's story, he realized that loving someone also meant caring about what the other person wants. If that meant, taking the time to read the cards his wife writes to him, savoring the words and keeping the cards after makes her feel valued, then he was more than willing to do it. On the other hand, his wife also takes the time to give him foot massages after long hours of preaching.
A close friend of mine shared that her parents love language is giving of gifts. She enjoys the comforts of a luxurious home, acquire the latest gadgets, gets to wear fashionable dresses, and has her own car. Although she appreciates all these things, she recogizes that the words of affirmation from them matters to her more than all the material things she possesses.
After knowing what your love language is, think about all the times you felt you were unloved. Or recall those moments when you hear them complain that you don't love them. Do you recognize that your partner, friend or spouse may just be showing their love in a different way? Do you now see that you may just have a different love language?
Important Points to Remember
1. Communication - One has to be willing to listen as well as share what is truly in your mind and heart. If one is not being truthful, communication would be pointless. I remember my friend and I bared our souls to each other by communicating this way; "I like it when you...I don't like it when you...or I get hurt when you...But I'm grateful that you..." By being honest and willing to accept whatever truth that is being given, one paves the way for a beautiful relationship.
2. Giving and Receiving - In a relationship, one must understand that it has to be a give and take. A cousin-in-law complained that her husband demands a lot of things from her (cooking, managing the business, raising their son etc...) and she never hears him give a compliment. When asked, the husband complained that his wife never does thing without having to be asked.
The husband's love language may be "acts of service" but he also needs to learn to give his wife "words of affirmation" to make her feel loved. One has to learn to give as well as receive.
Does it Really Matter?
In a nutshell, does it really matter?
It all depends on you. What are you willing to do to make your relationship work? Will you be willing to do certain things because you love a certain person - that their happiness is your happiness?
As I read the little story again, I know for some people, they would find joy in their husbands accomplishments and proud of what they have done. For others like me, achievements are secondary to the precious time they could spend with me.
There is no right and wrong. Just continue to discover what your loved ones love the most, and enjoy the ride of making your relationships more meaningful and special.
Author Dr. Gary Chapman ("The Five Love Languages") speaks on the value of Worldwide Marriage Encounter to married couples.
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