One of my favorite books is The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Gary encourages you to figure out your loved ones love language and how to best fill their love tank. He explains how to show your spouse, child, or other loved ones that you love them, in a way they will appreciate and show that you value them. He lists the five ways of showing and receiving love as:
- Words of Affirmation – which can include letters, the spoken word, texts, phone calls, etc. that show how much the person means to you. An example might be, “Thank you so much for the way that you advocate and take care of our kids. You are an amazing mom!”
- Physical Touch –is everything from sexual intimacy to lightly touching someone on the head or hand as you pass them, hugs, pats, kisses, etc.
- Quality Time – is time spent fully and completely focusing on the other person. Turning off the computer, phone, etc. and fully engaging and being present with your loved one.
- Acts of Service – is helping take the burden off someone through things like cooking, vacuuming, taking the garbage out, cleaning, mowing the lawn, planning and working side by side, etc.
- Receiving Gifts – is everything from giving expensive, amazing gifts to giving gifts of smaller items – letting the other person know they are important by thinking of them through giving them gifts they appreciate.
My husband and I have different love languages and we’ve discovered that we both tend to show love in the way that we like to receive it. It’s been very important for both of us to stop and regroup and realize that we need to be sure we are filling up our spouse’s love tank in the way that they desire, instead of the way we like to receive love.
My primary love languages are touch and words of affirmation and my husbands are quality time and acts of service. Personally, quality time and acts of service are two of my hardest love languages, so I have to REALLY stop and make sure that when we sit down and we talk that I’m fully present, that I turn off the computer, phone, my list of many things to do, etc., and fully listen and engage. Same for my husband, he often thinks great words of affirmation and I’ll catch him looking at me with a silly grin as he’s thinking how much he loves me or values something I’ve been working on. There have been many times that he’s kind of slapped his head and said, “Man, I’m thinking words of affirmation, and I’m forgetting to tell you”. And I know that the times that we sit down and do strategic planning for Healing Complex Kids or one of our marketing clients are really filling him up. We both love to do business planning, re-write movies, and TALK. So even though we have different love languages we find a way to work touch, words of affirmation, quality time and acts of service into each day ( well some times each week) to ensure that each of us are feeling loved and to make sure that we are not depleting our love tanks.
Even though gift giving is not high on our list of things to do for either of us, it is important that we still factor gift giving into the mix as well. Early in our marriage, my husband was very excited to give me the gift of new dishes as my big Christmas present. I was not excited, and I gently told him that dishes and pots and pans were not on my list of items I wanted to receive. I preferred a more personal gift. I thought he’d understood, until a couple months later for my birthday I received the remaining pieces of the collection for my birthday gift. I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but this time I was not as gentle in my approach. He heard about my “disappointment” in stereo. So our word to the wise is to make sure that you are filling your loved ones love tank and also make sure that you do not focus exclusively on just one or two love languages. All love languages are important.
At the 5 Love Languages website you can take a 30 question quiz to help figure out what your personal love language is: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/couples/