The Five Love Languages: The Greatest Book on Relationships Ever
Where was this book 30 years ago?
I read several books in this series about six years ago. Not only did I learn about my interactions with others, I learned a lot about myself. I discovered why some things hurt more than others. It helped me understand that many people don't mean to make me feel bad, but because it's my love language that they're speaking, it's hurts more.
I highly recommend that every couple and parent read these books. Plus there are editions for singles and for those who need to learn to apologize. I'm going to give my take on each of the Love Languages, but don't use these as all inclusive descriptions. Get the book, read it and act on it. It will be worth it!!
The Top Five Reasons The Five Love Languages is the Greatest Relationship Advice Ever
- Sound, practical advice
- Biblical reasoning
- Sensible approach to love and marriage
- Techniques will work with any relationship
- Marriages need all the help they can get!
The Five Love Languages - The Original Book
This is the book that started it all. Updated as of January 1, 2015, don't let the new cover mislead you!
The Language of Words of Affirmation
My personal language
While reading these books, I discovered that "words of affirmation" is my own personal love language. I feel most loved when people speak kindly and give me positive feedback. Those who hear love best through words of affirmation will enjoy hugs and gifts and may even KNOW that you love them no matter how harsh you are. However, the ones who have this as their primary love language will not FEEL loved without some sort of verbal or written expression.
While there are many ways that words of affirmation may be given and received, I became especially convinced this was my love language when I began to see how negative words effect me. As I read "The Five Love Languages" (the original book), I wondered for a while which language really was my love language. All five are important to me. I've always known that I need to hear that I've done well. It surprises me sometimes how much I look for some sort of confirmation that I've done a good job after I've sung or spoken. But as I thought about how unattractive a negative person is to me, and the way words like "stupid," "hate," "idiot," and "dumb" repulse me, I realized that words are most important to me. Since I love to write and express myself in song, poetry and now articles and books, I guess it shouldn't have been a surprise.
At this point in my life, I love constructive criticism; however, I have an early memory of my father's "advice" on my singing. To this day I remember how it hurt. He was NOT mean or even negative. He was simply giving very good advice, but not understanding that at a young age, it was painful, enough so that I have never forgotten it. It's amazing really. I've never been one to take offense easily or take things personally. However, when someone I care about speaks something negative or is harsh with me, it feels like a knife going through my heart. The same words spoken by a stranger or even someone with whom I have no real relationship don't matter to me at all. It's only those I care about that can cause me that kind of pain.
Words of Affirmation is only one of the Five Love Languages. If you aren't sure of your spouse or child's love language, try leaving kind notes or buy cards with special messages, tell them how much you appreciate them or just say, "I love you," a bit more often. If this does happen to be their special mode of hearing love, you'll be amazed at the difference it makes in their life. And if it's not, it will still go a long way in helping them know that you really do love them.
The Five Love Languages of Children
Every parent and teacher should read this book. It gives tremendous insight to why kids do the things they do!
My secondary Love Language
According to Dr. Chapman, each of us has a primary and secondary Love Language. It didn't take me long to figure out this is my secondary Love Language. Quality time is exactly what you think. In my life it is expressed in many different ways. I've spent time working in each of my girls' homes, but I prefer doing it with them whenever possible. When they were school age, one of my favorite days of the year was school shopping. I took each one for an entire day by themselves. We shopped, ate lunch and just spent time together. Getting together with my friends and family is always a priority for me. I drop just about whatever I'm doing to go to lunch with any of them. In fact, if my husband and I don't spend at least every other day at lunch together, both of us feel a little cheated. He even bought me golf clubs two years ago for Christmas so we could spend more time together and I'm his first choice for a riding partner on his Honda Goldwing.
Reading Dr. Chapman's description of this language also helped me understand why I feel much more loved when my husband talks to me while I cook dinner. It helped me see why I enjoy reading books with my children (and now my grandchildren) as well as our annual ornament building day we have each December. I also began to realize why I believe that time is more valuable than any kind of gift or amount of money.
If your spouse or children speak the language of Quality Time, they'll need you to give them your undivided attention. Quality Time is more than just being in the same room together. Quality Time listens carefully and stops other activities to completely devote oneself to the loved one. Date night is just one way to speak Quality Time to your spouse. In fact, for those who speak Quality Time, date night can be as simple as a pizza and a video with the phone off the hook and no friends over.
Perhaps Quality Time is a foreign language to you. If so, try turning off the Television during dinner or avoid answering your cell phone when you're talking to someone you care for. A movie is nice, but bowling or taking a walk together would be even better. Spending time talking would be a great way to create Quality time; however, just sitting on a porch swing together can be just as effective. Whether it's ten minutes or two hours, and even if your loved one's primary language isn't Quality Time, go ahead and try to spend some Quality time together this week.
Graphic courtesy of Clker.com
Helpful advice for singles (I have not read this one, but I've read the rest, and I assume this one is as insightful as the rest)
Acts of Service
This is one I have to work on
Acts of Service is a somewhat obvious love language. When you wash the dishes, take out the trash or sweep the floor, these are acts of service. A person whose love language is Acts of Service may never really understand the depth of your commitment if you only share your devotion by saying, "I Love You." It's important that you perform these tasks with joy and not as if it's tiresome
Try surprising your wife by setting or clearing the table. Throw in a load of laundry or run the vacuum. Even washing the car or mowing the grass might be considered an act of love to your spouse. I know some men whose wives are able to stay at home, who feel very loved when they come home to a clean house and a hot meal.
If you speak and hear this Love Language, you might find yourself actually enjoying physical labor. You may feel as though bringing home your paycheck is a great way to say, "I Love You." It might even inspire you to be a work-a-holic. The problem comes in when your spouse's primary love language is something else. If her love language is quality time, you working overtime to show her your love may be very irritating. However, if your love language is acts of service and hers is quality time, you cooking with her, drying dishes while she washes or even asking her to help you wash the car could work in both of your favors.
Even though my love language isn't acts of service, I still feel loved when I have help doing the things I don't really enjoy doing. In fact, I find myself irritated when I'm working around the house, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry or other day to day household chores and the rest of the family is sitting around doing nothing. Perhaps if acts of service was my love language, I would feel better about just doing these duties without feeling taken advantage of. So, whether acts of service is your love language or not, it never hurts to do something nice for your spouse, child, parent, friend or co-worker.
And for the Men
Men, this could change every relationship!
Hugs, Kisses, Holding Hands
There are some people who feel love most when they experience physical contact. Some who read this and don't understand the language may think this means physical intimacy, and while it can include that, Dr. Chapman is quick to point out this is not the primary means of physical touch. For teens who are in that age where hugs can be embarrassing, but this is their primary love language, those fun wrestling style holds, hair tossles and big tackle like bear hugs can be an expression of love that will impact them for years. Likewise, a child who speaks this language most fluently may feel more abused than his sibling who feels love through words of affirmation if he is punished with spankings more often than necessary.
A spouse whose love language is Physical Touch doesn't want it only in the bedroom. Holding hands while walking, brushing up against each other while doing dishes and an arm around the shoulder will help. This love language is a bit more easier to define and realize than some of the others. And to some who speak it fluently, it may be difficult to imagine why others have a hard time expressing love in this way. For others, those raised in stoic homes where physical affection wasn't an appropriate expression, may find it just as difficult to understand the need for such emotion. They may even mistakenly call it a weakness.
If this is your love language, you may have to be aware of some who are very uncomfortable with the invasion of their personal space. But for those of you who know someone with this language, you'll want to learn to speak it loud and clear and speak it frequently.
One of the More Obvious!
To a person whose primary love language is gifts, almost anything may seem like a gift to them. According to Dr. Chapman, a card or candy might be enough for some who have this love language. Not that you can get away with small gifts every time if this is your beloved's love language. The thought behind the gift makes a world of difference, as in any of the love languages. However, those with this love language best understand your affection when you've put thought into giving them a nice dinner, flowers, candy, jewelry, accessories or other things you know they enjoy.
Gifts falls at the bottom of my list of love languages. That doesn't mean that I never want a gift or I don't ever give a gift to show my love. Even those of us who don't speak this language quite as well still enjoy an occasionally gift that shows you thought about us.
Do you know?
Sometimes it's difficult to discover, but this book makes it easier.
If you have more than one, just choose your primary love language.
What is Your Love Language
You can take the Love Language "quiz" HERE Then tell us about your love language or just share your thoughts.