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.Leave a Comment
Mary Haynie says
I am a more mature newlywed. We were married a little over 2 years ago, (both of our former spouses have passed away) , and we are still learing about each other.
Dawn Camp says
Mary, we’ve been married over 30 years and I’m still learning too. We’re all wired differently! 🙂
Joanne Peterson says
Dawn, your photos are always exquisite, I so enjoy them! Blessings, Joanne
Dawn Camp says
Joanne, thank you so much—that means a lot to me!
Jeanne Takenaka says
Dawn, such a great post. When hubby and I moved from Alabama to Colorado early in our marriage adventure, we read through Gary Chapman’s book. We discovered that I am a strong words of affirmation girl, and he’s primarily an acts of service guy. We’ve both had to learn how to love each other in each other’s “language.” We’ve been able to communicate what does (and doesn’t) work for speaking love to each other.
As God’s added to our family, I’m learning my sons’ primary love language is physical touch. Though 11 and 13, they both still love to cuddle up close to me, back scratches, and being near my husband or/and me.
Dawn Camp says
Jeanne, it helps so much to understand them, right? My quality time son wants to run errands with me even if he knows we won’t even get out of the car. Understanding his love language helps me understand him!
Ana Brooks says
I think my higher ones are Words of Affirmation and Quality Time.
Beth Williams says
It is very important to understand your partner and their love language. I enjoy being with and holding hands or hugging my hubby. Words of affirmation go a long way also.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
As Father’s Day approaches, I think about my dad who passed away 5 years ago. I am a gal whose love language is Words of Affirmation. My dad was a man of few words so when he didn’t speak to me in MY love language, I often wondered if he truly loved me?? What I’ve come to realize, more and more, that though my heart craved to hear “Words of Affirmation”, my dad spoke to me in a different, yet beautiful language of “Acts of Service”. If I needed picked up after a late night activity – her was there. If something of mine needed fixing – he was the man. If I needed funds for college – he looked out for me. No, he wasn’t a warm and fuzzy words kind of guy, but the language he spoke to me was equally as beautiful. I wish I had realized this and appreciated it more while he was still living…learning to hear love in many languages…
Blessings and thanks for a great post,
I read this book a long time ago, it may be time to get it down again.
Rachel Lundy says
My love language is quality time. I used to rank gifts pretty low on my list, but now I would probably put it as number two on my list. As my health has declined, it has become more difficult for me to physically be able to have quality time with a friend. So gifts have become much more important to me because they are tangible reminders that a friend cares. It is something I can see/use/receive even when I may not be able to have a friend over for a visit. It has been interesting to see how my love languages have changed as my health and circumstances have changed. It has also been interesting to see my children’s love languages change and develop as they grow. Things that were very important to them as toddlers maybe aren’t as important now. Thanks for the reminder today to look for ways to love our spouses and children in ways that they appreciate most.
Joanna @ Modern Ruth Project says
I love the 5 Love Languages and agree that it’s definitely a good component of marriage preparation to figure out how you and your future spouse compare and contrast! My fiance and I also rank high for quality time and for physical touch. When we did a spiritual gifts inventory, we also both ranked high on faith and administration. I am hopeful that being in tune with him on these things will make for a smooth marriage – I’ll let you know in 20 years! 😉
Dawn, I am so grateful to the Lord for for this thought-provoking posting. As I reflect on my love language and that of others in my life, I can see how we are all so beautifully the same and different. I realized that while I have an active love language, I also have a receiving one. How good the Lord is in knowing how we each speak, in our souls and in different phases of life (wink, Rachel-thank you for helping me to think about that), and how He meets those needs in love. May we each reach out to others in love today 🙂
Michele Morin says
Fun coincidence, but I’m just finishing up a new book that “translates” the concept of the five love languages for teen readers. It’s excellent, and the sooner we learn our own love language and grasp the importance of speaking love in the way that best “fills the love tank” of our family and friends — the better!
Adding to Bev’s thought. ^^^
I think it’s so important to note that people tend to communicate to others in their own primary love language. (An acts of service person will show love by doing things to serve others, whereas a physical touch person will put a hand on your back or arm, snuggle to you, hug you, etc.) Just because it isn’t your love language doesn’t mean they aren’t communicating love to you. Yes, having someone communicate to you in your love language is great, and we should strive to communicate to others in their love language. But in this society of “all about me” let’s not expect people to do it our way. But instead (or also) give the benefit of the doubt and notice their intent. 🙂
Brad Miller says
This is such a great and needed reminder. Thank you!
So many couples get “out of sync” and wonder what happened. Understanding our spouses (and kids!) love language keeps that from happening and can get us back on track when it does. Knowledge of love languages is another tool in the toolbox of every great marriage!