What’s Your Love Language?

Ever gone out of your way to do something for someone you love, only to have that effort go unnoticed, or worse, be rejected or unappreciated? While there may have been other factors at play, chances are, you spoke to that person in a different love language than he/she naturally speaks.

Frequently, we express love in the ways we ourselves would like to receive love. To me, Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch are (generally) some of the most meaningful expressions of love. Interestingly, I also more naturally show my love to others through these languages – especially through Words (I am more cautious about expressing love through Touch because of all the harassment hype swimming around these days, and because many people I know seem to be uncomfortable with touch).

[Update: I would now place Quality Time above Words of Affirmation.]

While each of these languages could be expounded upon at great length, I don’t want to spoil the book for you, so I’ll summarize each language briefly:

Words of Affirmation

Receiving/giving words that build up and encourage you or your loved one. “I’m proud of you.”, “It’s a delight watching you _____. You are so good at that.”, and “You handled that so well.” are examples.

Quality Time

Spending time with loved ones. Whether that means going out to dinner – just the two of you – working on a project together, or just sitting by a tree and saying practically nothing (or philosophizing about life), presence is what matters to those with the primary love language of Quality Time.

Physical Touch

Pats/slaps on the back, a brush on the shoulder, a warm, long, genuine hug, a neck/back massage (note: when appropriate and not creepy), holding hands…

* One note about the love language of Physical Touch: this does not include sexual drive or a desire for sexual contact. This love language is defined by a desire to give/receive “innocent” physical contact. Individuals with a deep sex drive may also express and experience love through nonsexual Touch, and individuals with Touch as a primary love language may not express a deep desire for sex. These two types of physical contact are different entities, and while they may both be manifested within a loving romantic relationship, sexual drive is not a love language or a component of one. *

Acts of Service

This could involve completing a task for a loved one when you know they’re tired, stressed, or out of time or energy. Or spontaneously performing that chore or dirty job because you know they hate it and you just want to give them a break. (Note: some people are possessive of certain tasks, and there is a “right” way to do them. So try to be aware of this, and not assume responsibility for a task that your loved one is not prepared to give away). 🙂

And last but not least….

Gifts

Not to be confused with materialism.

If you like lots of stuff, and you like it when people give you lots of stuff that you like, Gifts is not necessarily your primary love language. Perhaps you simply like to collect or want to acquire a particular item, and a gift happens to be a convenient way for you to do that, so you put it on your birthday/Christmas list.

Someone with the love language of Gifts experiences an emotional connection because of the thoughtfulness or meaning of a gift. That gift might be homemade, purely sentimental, and not “practical” (tasty, expendable, etc.) at all. But the uniqueness, thoughtfulness, or personal sacrifice of the gift reminds you just how well your loved one knows and cares for you, and it tells you that that person was thinking specifically of you. Such gifts may be given at any time of the year, and for a Gifts person, this spontaneity and round-the-year giving is something they crave. The gift may cost nothing at all. Monetary expense is generally irrelevant here.

That’s love languages in a nutshell! To determine what your love language(s) might be, take this quick test: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/ and read The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman.

4 thoughts on “What’s Your Love Language?

  1. Pingback: What’s Your Personality Type? – Reflection Cube

  2. A Chicken

    I have a weird bit to share on love languages that I haven’t yet encountered in anyone else yet.

    Quality Time and Physical Touch are at the max for me, Gifts and Acts of Service are just about nonexistent, when it comes to receiving. However, in terms of giving, I’ve used Gifts and Acts of Service just as much as Quality Time, if not more. Physical Touch tops both ways.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A Chicken, very interesting! As I think about it, my method(s) for expressing love depend quite a lot on the recipient. I’m similar to you when it comes to receiving Acts of Service and Gifts. While I can appreciate the thought or sacrifice someone put into them (or sometimes the practicality of these forms of love), they don’t generally speak to me emotionally the way Touch and Quality Time do.

      And yet…there are some people for whom one of my primary methods of showing love is to step in and relieve them of tasks. I’m beginning to wonder whether or not we really tend to express love in the same ways we like to receive it, as the book suggested we do (IIRC).

      It seems like Acts of Service and Gifts tend to be one-way expressions of love (you give them to someone, and it doesn’t really “intrude” on their time or personal space, and they can enjoy the benefit of these love expressions without any further interaction with you – without necessarily giving anything back.). On the other hand, Quality Time and Physical touch require more complicity and reciprocality. I think this makes some of us (at least me) more hesitant to express these forms of love, even if they are our preferred languages. Because Time and Touch involve someone else being willing to share their time with us, or let us touch them. Sometimes, as much as I enjoy receiving and giving these types of love, I am afraid of being a “burden” to someone else, or “forcing”/asking them to do something they may not want to do. Perhaps it feels less like I’m giving them a true gift when giving them Quality Time or Touch, because I benefit from it, too, and because I’m not always sure if they really want it or are just being polite.

      Like

      1. A Chicken

        That’s a great insight into the two-way vs one-way love languages Kate! I hadn’t considered that difference. The offering of a gift or service is reasonably zero-cost to the other party. They can always refuse or throw away a gift if need be, but it’s more costly to respond to an unwanted touch or offering to spend time together.

        I agree that the recipient matters, as in some settings physical touch or quality time just aren’t possible or appropriate.

        Liked by 1 person

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