Have you ever heard of The Five Love Languages? Dr. Gary Chapman explains in his book, The Five Love Languages, there are five ways people primarily experience love. Everyone has one they identify with more than the others.
Knowing your loved one’s love language is pertinent to being able to express love to them in a way they recognize and confirm they are loved. This is true for romantic relationships, friend relationships, and even relationship with one’s children.
Five Love Languages: Quality Time
The primary aspect of quality time is the togetherness one experiences with another. Meaningful dialogue is a main characteristic to quality time. Having a meaningful conversation when sharing in intellectual intimacy, includes being a good listener.
Good listening characteristics include maintaining eye contact during the conversation and listening for the emotion the other is communicating during the conversation. As well as removing distractions during the conversation (no phone, TV, books etc…) and no interrupting while your loved one is speaking, as it communicates what they are saying is not important.
5 Ideas for expressing love using quality time:
- Schedule weekly focused time together without distractions.
- Keep eye contact with the person during conversation.
- Don’t complain about time spent together.
- Keep electronic usage to low or none during the time spent together.
- Resist the urge to “fix” a troubling situation they may talk to you about and just listen well.
Five Love Languages: Words of Affirmation
Verbal compliments are powerful communicators of love. Like most areas of communication though, communication is 90% tone and 10% content. How a compliment is communicated is just as important as giving the compliment. Words of affirmation people are very sensitive to criticism and often have a difficult time receiving criticism without inferring neglectful sorrow.
Nagging someone who experiences love by words of affirmation is a detriment to helping them feel loved. Using harsh words or tone to express your displeasure with an aspect of the words of affirmation person causes them deep internal pain and affects their self-worth.
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1
5 Ideas for expressing love using words of affirmation:
- Use lots of praise and encouraging, kind words when speaking, especially during times of insecurity.
- Compliment your loved one in front of others often.
- Don’t heavily criticize them (especially) in front of others.
- Look for their strengths and when you see an opportunity of them using their strength tell them.
- Resist the urge to make fun of, even in jest, regarding a topic they may be sensitive to.
Five Love Languages: Acts of Service
- Go out of your way to do something special for them, like bringing lunch to work.
- Do something you don’t like to normally do with joy, without being asked, like cleaning the bathroom.
- Don’t complain about how they do something for you.
- Always try to remember to do something in a timely manner that the acts of service person has asked you to do.
- Resist the urge to demand a returning act of service.
Five Love Languages: Physical Touch
- Find opportunities to sit close when together at home on the couch or when out to dinner.
- Hold hands during times of anxiety or pain such as a visit to a doctor.
- Don’t pull away when they reach out to touch you.
- Use physical touch as comfort using hugs or arm around shoulders during periods of sadness or grief.
- Resist the urge to give physical touch that is uncomfortable, even during play, such as punching or flicking.
Five Love Languages: Gifts
Oftentimes this love language is misinterpreted as materialism. The language of receiving gifts does not mean the gift has to be expensive or extravagant. The most important aspects of gift giving is the thoughtfulness, effort and love behind a gift.
The perfect gift or gesture shows the person they are known, cared for, and treasured above whatever was sacrificed to give the gift. Generosity is a prominent characteristic of those who receive gifts as love. Gifts are visual representations of love and are greatly treasured no matter how small or insignificant they may seem to the giver.
5 Ideas for expressing love using gifts:
- Purchase something they have wanted for a long time and surprise them with it.
- Keep a list of ways you love them and give it to them.
- Don’t complain about gifts they have given you.
- If you see something that reminds you of them let them know either with a picture or give it to them.
- Resist the urge to procrastinate in finding and purchasing gifts for birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions.
Identifying which love language you most respond to, as well as that of your spouse, children and other loved ones, is a great tool in better loving those important to you. You can take the Five Love Languages profile quiz to find out which love language is your most prominent.
Questions to Ask Yourself:
Do I know what my love language? Have I communicated my love language to those I desire love from?
Do I know my loved one’s (spouse, kids, family members, friends) love language?
If I do know the love languages of my loved ones, do I express love to them using their love language?