Within the first two years of our marriage, someone suggested the book, “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman – it totally blew our minds.
I recall being occasionally frustrated by what I could only attribute to a husband who was clinically nuts – rushing around after he got home from work, cleaning things, organizing or fixing things, while I waited on the couch to talk and hear about his day. According to Chapman, we were both giving our best, but our acts of love weren’t translating as we intended. I am a “Quality Time” girl, you see, and Rick is an “Acts of Service” guy. He was acting to serve me all over the place, while I was ready and waiting to improve the quality of his time!
This is a problem. Our love was immature and needed to grow up a bit. We were both trying to love each other by doing the things that made ourselves feel loved. Real love requires a bit of sacrifice, though, so if we’re really going to love one another, we need to speak the appropriate language to each other. Nothing makes Rick feel more loved than when I clean out his coffee pot at the end of the day… it doesn’t sound like much, but I don’t drink coffee, and it’s one less thing he has to do at the end of the day. For real. Loved.
Conversely, he knows when he sits down and asks how my day went, or how I’m feeling, I’m going to feel loved.
Here are the 5 love languages Chapman describes in his book:
- Physical Touch – this person feels love when others touch them lovingly, and like to be in physical close proximity (sitting close together while reading, for instance).
- Acts of Service – this person feels love when others help them out or serve them.
- Words of Affirmation – this person feels love when others verbally approve or affirm them.
- Quality Time – this person feels love when others spend focused time with them (usually deeper conversation – watching t.v. doesn’t count).
- Gift Giving – this person feels love when others give them thoughtful things.
Here are a few ways to figure out what your primary love language is:
- How did you know your parents loved you, what did they do that made you know you were loved? That is probably your love language.
- When you think about experiences, particularly with your spouse, that have really hurt or cut you to the core, what were they? The opposite is probably your love language.
- What do you do when you want to show someone you love them? That’s probably your love language.