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Learning the Languages of Love
2/1/2020 1:00:00 PM

Love Language

Have you ever been in a relationship where your significant other says he adores you, but you’re honestly not feeling the love? Or possibly you love someone who accuses you of not expressing your emotions, despite your best efforts. Maybe you aren’t speaking each other’s love language.

Author Gary Chapman revolutionized the way couples think about showing their love to each other in 1992 when he published his book, The Five Love Languages, a book that has sold over ten million copies and continues to be a bestseller. Chapman suggests that people express and experience love in different ways – five ways, to be exact: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. The key is to first learn what your mate’s love language is, and then, if it doesn’t come naturally to you, learn how to speak it.

Chapman writes, "Your emotional love language and the language of your spouse may be as different as Chinese from English. No matter how hard you try to express love in English, if your spouse only understands Chinese, you will never understand how to love each other.”

Chapman’s book includes a quiz for readers to learn what their primary love language is and what it looks like. It’s important for one to know not only the language of their spouse, but their own, as well. That’s not to say that a person can only experience love in one language. There are usually secondary love languages, but one primary language that comes most naturally to them; and people tend to express love in their primary language, as well as experience love. While Chapman’s first love languages book is geared to married couples, understanding the concepts of the five love languages can apply to all relationships – with children, other family members, even friends.

Here are examples of how each love language might be expressed:

Words of Affirmation are spoken expressions of love to uplift and encourage your mate. Wow, you look great in that dress! I like what you did with your hair! You’re such a great mom [or dad]. So glad you rocked that presentation at work today! Thank you so much for washing my car. That means a lot to me. Or simply, I love you. Chapman says this is the most common primary love language. So use your [love] words!

Quality Time is just that – spending good quality time together, uninterrupted and free of distractions (put down that phone!) It could be a walk in the park, watching a movie together, having meaningful conversation, going out to dinner or making dinner together at home. Do whatever you both enjoy doing but ensure your focus is on your significant other.

Receiving Gifts is one way some people experience love. It says to that person, "I was thinking of you and thought you would like this. I love you.” Gifts don’t have to be big and expensive. As long as they are thoughtful, meaningful, and say "I know you.” The best gifts are given for no reason other than to show you care.

Acts of Service express love by DOING things for your mate. If your spouse isn’t feeling well, and he or she normally takes out the garbage, offer to do it that week. Surprise her by cleaning the house while she is out running errands. Make dinner or do the dishes. If there is a way you can be helpful by physically doing something for your spouse, this will show your affection.

Physical Touch is self-explanatory, but Chapman is quick to point out that it different from sexual intimacy, which can be more primal than emotional. Snuggling, holding hands, hugging, putting your arm around her shoulders, sitting next to each other. Your touch can say "I love you” in ways words cannot.

In this month where our thoughts often turn to love, consider taking the time to learn your loved one’s love language. Read the book together, take the quiz, and embark on learning new ways to show your love for each other. Chapman says, "We must be willing to learn our spouse’s primary love language if we are to be effective communicators of love.”

Posted by: Angie Kay Dilmore | Submit comment | Tell a friend


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