The object of love is not getting something you want but doing something for the well being of the one you love.
-Dr. Gary Chapman
Does it ever feel like your significant other is speaking in a foreign tongue? Well, feel better, dear one, because most likely that’s exactly what’s happening.
Imagine with me that two people are having an argument. They are trying to get their points across, but they have a major problem. One is speaking English, the other Spanish. Cleary this is an issue. So what is the solution? They must learn to communicate in the other person’s language.
Dr. Gary Chapman, the author of The 5 Love Languages, says that every human has his or her own love language. A person’s love language is basically their emotional communication preference—the way in which they best experience and express love.
I remember how hard it was to learn Gordon’s love language. His love language is Words of Affirmation. In other words, he feels the most love when I use my words in a positive or encouraging way. I am not a verbal processor—I tend to keep everything inside, even compliments and praise. Daily I have to remind myself to say outwardly what I am thinking inwardly. “That’s a great thought, babe!” or “You love me so well,” and most importantly, “Thank you,” are common words of affirmation I give my husband to ensure that he knows that he is doing a great job. However, because this doesn’t come naturally for me, it was incredibly hard in the beginning just to remember to speak my words out loud instead of in my head. But I am getting better each year.
Throughout his years of counseling experience, Dr. Chapman discovered five overarching Love Languages:
- Words of Affirmation — Using encouraging, kind and humble words that uplift your spouse.
- Acts of Service — Doing something for your partner that you know they’d like you to do.
- Quality Time — Giving your undivided attention to a loved one.
- Gifts — Conveying visible signs of love through tokens of appreciation.
- Physical Touch — Expressing affection through hugs, embraces, light pats or lovemaking.
For example, let’s say that a husband’s primary love language is Words of Affirmation while his wife’s is Acts of Service. Wanting to show that he cares, that husband will frequently express his love through notes, text messages, or kind words. Meanwhile, she works hard to convey her love by doing his laundry, making dinner, and cleaning the house.
And so, while both are making an effort to communicate their love (in the way that makes them feels loved), neither of them feels loved by the other. He wants to hear her words of appreciation. She wants his help with the chores.
The truth is most couples do care for each other. They just speak different “languages.”
When you take time to discover your partner’s love language it will revolutionize your relationship. For you will have learned how to express the love you feel in a way your spouse understands best.
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I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below,
Based on the descriptions above, what do you think your partner’s love language is? And how can you begin to show them love this week?