The Language(s) of Love.

The 5 Love Languages is the theme and title of a popular and useful book by Dr Gary Chapman.
The 5 Love Languages is the theme and title of a popular and useful book by Dr Gary Chapman.

A lot has been written and said over the years about the so-called “Love Languages” as identified and recorded by Dr Gary Chapman in various of his books. The essential premise is that there are five distinct Love Languages, namely:

  • Words of encouragement;
  • Acts of services;
  • Physical touch and closeness;
  • Quality time; and
  • Gifts.

Each person has a unique way of expressing love, and of receiving love. If, for instance, you’re the type of person who expresses love with words of encouragement, and you couldn’t care less about touch because you happen to be tactile defensive, and you marry a spouse who expresses love through physical touch and closeness and can hardly articulate a coherent phrase, you both have a problem. He (or she) will keep trying to cuddle you, which makes you want to run screaming and makes him (or her) feel under-appreciated. You, on the other hand, will keep saying nice, kind things to encourage him (or her), but the words have no meaning and your spouse begins to feel completely unloved, as you feel less and less valued. Over time, you both seem to “fall out of love” (in extreme cases), when a simple check list could have solved your problems.

The solution is to find out the other person’s love language, express love to them in their language, and learn to recognise their expressions of love as exactly that. Over time, as you both put effort into this, your love languages grow and mature, and you are each able to give and receive love in a variety of ways.

However, the fundamentals are virtually hard-wired from birth, and clearly identifiable by around age 6. A recent discussion with a friend of mine highlighted the fact that I’d barely given any thought to my children’s love languages, so I decided to take action.

Gary Chapman’s website has great assessments to give you an idea of your own love language, and the languages of those closest to you. The kids’ assessment is particularly good as it turns the process into a fun mystery game. I started out by guessing their love languages: Physical Touch & Quality Time for DD#1, and Acts of Service or Gifts for DD#2. Then we played. The results were fascinating, and enlightening.

For DD#1 (who is 9 and thus both more mature and more able to articulate), I was spot on (well, almost). Her score was:

7 Quality Time
5 Physical Touch
4 Receiving Gifts
2 Words of Affirmation
2 Acts of Service

So she love spending time together, and hugs and cuddles. Neglecting her the way my work has forced me to recently is not ideal, and sending her to school wreaks havoc with her emotions.

For DD#2 (who, it must be said, is remarkably articulate for a 6 year old), I was a little off the mark. Her results were:

6 Receiving Gifts
5 Physical Touch
5 Quality Time
4 Acts of Service
0 Words of Affirmation

So while acts of service mean a lot more to her than words of encouragement, or than they do to DD#1, they’re certainly not the most important thing.

Interestingly, DH loves physical touch and quality time, and I love gifts and quality time. At least we all agree on our 2nd most important one!

Get all the assessments online by clicking here.

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