Understanding the love languages of your spouse and family can play a huge factor in your relationships with those closest to you. According to Gary Chapman’s best-seller, The 5 Love Languages:
“Of the countless ways we can show love to one another, five key categories, or five love languages, proved to be universal and comprehensive — everyone has a love language, and we all identify primarily with one of the five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.”
My husband and I both have Quality Time as our highest love language and Receiving Gifts as our lowest, which translates into lots of date nights and few actual gifts. It was only after reading a Valentine’s Day post about a husband who almost forgot a card and gift that I even noticed that I didn’t receive them; it didn’t matter to me. What mattered was the dinner and movie date we shared.
My husband could have brought me flowers and a diamond ring and it wouldn’t have meant as much to me as taking me out for quality time, alone.
For me, it’s little gifts — like picking up a sweet tea for me on the way home from work — that say “I’m thinking of you.”
We are blessed to be so in sync on our primary (and lowest ranking) love languages. Apparently people tend to be attracted to those whose are different than their own — opposites attract. We have to work on areas where we’re different.
I rank high on Acts of Service and my husband is low. The good news is that he isn’t offended if he comes home and dinner isn’t ready and I haven’t cleaned the house. The bad news is that he didn’t realize that leaving unchecked items on my honey-do list for an extended period of time makes me feel hurt and neglected.
He scores much higher on Physical Touch than I do (this category doesn’t refer to sex, although that is obviously an important component of marriage). I’ve learned not to get impatient when my husband sidetracks me for a hug or kiss when I’m in the middle of something else.
Understanding a spouse’s love language can save or jumpstart a suffering marriage.
I analyze my friends, children, and other family members, too. My son who wants to run errands with me? Quality time. My two oldest daughters? Words of affirmation.
Knowing a person’s love language enables you to communicate your love more effectively.
The grandmother who mails cards for every birthday and holiday probably enjoys receiving gifts as much as sending them. One of my daughters, who also loves giving cards, became long-distance pen pals with her great-grandmother a few years before she passed away. They exchanged notes and drawings, communicating their love over the miles in a way that blessed them both and solidified a relationship with little face-to-face time.
Do you know your love language? Your spouse’s or children’s? If not, take the quiz (click Discover Your Love Language near the top of the page) and discover how to most effectively communicate your love to those around you.