The five love languages according to Gary are ‘Words of Affirmation’, ‘Acts of Service’, ‘Receiving Gifts’, ‘Quality Time’ and ‘Physical Touch’.
I first read the book quite a number of years ago and I remember thinking ‘I wish I’d read this when I was still married’. Until I read that book, I honestly had absolutely no idea how I liked to be shown love. None whatsoever! But once I knew, I could see the patterns in past relationships – with partners and close friends – where I often felt they didn’t really understand me. Perhaps because I didn’t really understand myself, or what made me feel loved and valued in their eyes, so I was unable to articulate those needs to them. Who knew there were so many different ways to express or receive love! Yes, I am admitting how completely naive I was about matters of the heart. I am still learning. I’m not sure I will ever stop learning about my heart and what makes it tick in an emotional sense.
I’ve just done the quiz again and I got the same results I did all those years ago. I can’t remember the exact numbers of course, but I remember the order they were in and I know that Quality Time is most definitely my Numero Uno Love Language. Nothing makes me feel more loved than spending time with my favourite peeps. Preferably in small groups as that also satisfies my inner introvert who adores quality one-on-one time. And it comes as no surprise that Number 2 is Physical Touch as hugging is one of My Most Favourite Things in the Entire World – and long hugs are extra spesh.
So this is where it gets tricky and this is exactly why Gary Chapman wrote his fabulous book! We tend to show love for others in the love language we prefer, as that’s obviously what comes naturally to us. But if your partner’s love language is Acts of Service and they want you to help them with something around the house on the weekend but you’re wanting to spend time with them on a picnic because your love language is Quality Time, there’s the chance both of you can end up feeling really dissatisfied, unheard and in the extreme (over a long period of time), unloved.
As you can see, Receiving Gifts isn’t one of my main love languages but I do adore buying special things for special peeps. To celebrate or acknowledge something or ‘just because’ which is my favourite reason for showing love to someone. I love the whole experience. I love choosing gifts for them. I love covering them in gorgeous paper and pretty ribbons. I love writing heartfelt words in a card. I love dropping them off at the Post Office or presenting them to someone in person. Mostly because I know how much the recipient will enjoy receiving a little coloured bundle completely filled with love. For me the love and joy connected to gifts is most definitely in the thought, the preparation and the giving.
When I turned forty I asked some of my friends to not buy me presents and I was flabbergasted when they all arrived with armloads of gifts! I didn’t really understand at the time why they hadn’t listened to me but I now get that sometimes gifts are more about the person who’s buying them than the one receiving, and that you should smile, squeeze them in a hug and be ever so grateful that person is sharing their love language with you. It was a grand lesson to learn.
I think it’s actually hard for us to understand that something that speaks to our own heart in the deepest of ways, may completely glide over someone else, while they’re craving for someone to offer to mow the lawn or to tell them the meal they cooked was superb.
So think about what your partner’s love language is. Or if you don’t have a partner, think about how you like to show your love to others and how they show it to you. That’s the key. What they do for you or for other people in their lives, will show you what they would love being done for them. And sometimes we have to help people along a little bit by telling them what we’d like them to do in order for us to feel their love in the most significant way.
The Year of More Confession No. 1 (clearly, I’m assuming more than one will be required over the coming year): I bought an item of clothing – a pair of black tights to wear to work over winter. I had holes in a couple of other pairs so I now have three hole-less pairs which I’m sure will get me through the next couple of winters (they’re pretty mild here on the Sunshine Coast). The second part of my confession: I ordered something from Vista Print after categorically declaring in glorious blog print that I wouldn’t buy anything for a year ☹ But in my defence, I Had A Very Good Reason… one I will share in a future blog. All in good time dear friend.
Joyful hugs and words of affirmation ☺ (the others I would need to do in person!)
‘Love is a verb.’ Gary Chapman