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Five Love Languages

I just finished reading The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman.  I really enjoy reading books like this because it helps me understand the problems I have in my relationships and to make the appropriate corrections.  In the book he has a lot of examples of marriages on the rocks and how each was saved from certain doom by understanding this principle.  I highly recommend the book to everyone (married & single) because understanding more about how we interact with others can have profound results.  For the remainder of this article I’ll discuss the lessons in the book.

The Languages

According to Dr. Chapman, everyone “speaks” one of the five primary love languages.  While discovering your personal love language is cool, it’s really important to discover the love language of those around you.  We have the tendency to show others that we love them in our own love language, but unless the listener also speaks in that language, your acts of love will fall on deaf ears.

Words of Affirmation
A person with this love language will be most affected by kind words or encouragement. Some examples would be to say things like: “You look great in that outfit”, “Your smile just makes my day”, “This is the best meatloaf I’ve ever had”, or “You sure are making some great progress on this thing.” A sign that someone’s love language is Words of Affirmation would be if they say something to you like, “You never notice my hair” or “You don’t like my cooking.”
Quality Time
For those who speak this love language, just being physically close won’t cut it. They are looking for undivided attention or some team activity that he or she enjoys. You can speak this language to your mate by paying attention when he or she is speaking; turn off the TV and use your good speaking skills. Discuss your emotions and how things make you feel. You can also satisfy the same need by doing a group activity your significant other enjoys. A sign that someone speaks this language is if they tell you something like, “we never do anything anymore” or “you’re always playing with your stupid _____ and ignoring me.”
Receiving Gifts
Those who speak this language respond positively to receiving any gift. The cost of the item is no where near as important as the thought. They view the gift as saying that you were not only thinking of them during the day, but you decided to go out of your way to bring them something. The gift could be something as simple as a flower plucked out of your front yard.
Acts of Service
People with this love language respond very positively when you do things for them. Things as simple as taking out the trash or as complicated as fixing their car speaks volumes to these folks. A sign that someone speaks this love language is that they complain about things not getting done or lack of assistance in some task. They’re hurt when they feel the other person isn’t helping.  You can show love for these folks by either helping them with the actual task or by doing other things for them so they can focus on their task.
Physical Touch
Being physically touched means the most to those who speak this language. To some sexual intercourse is the #1 way to speak this love language but that is not always the case. Some may actually prefer a back rub or a foot massage more than anything else.

Don’t Limit Yourself

So now that you have an idea of the love language of those you love, don’t limit yourself to speaking that one language.  Some people out there may just require sexual intercourse or consistent gifts and they’ll feel fully loved.  For the rest you’ll need to get creative.  A person’s love language might cause them to respond to your gift giving, but on certain occasions, changing a baby’s diaper will speak a little more loudly than a flower.

The Love Tank

Dr. Chapman discussed the idea of a love tank.  Every person has one and it could be empty, full, or somewhere in the middle.  To be in a truly successful relationship, both people need a full love tank.  An empty tank will make us feel hollow, under appreciated, or unloved.  If you love someone then it is your job to help keep that tank full.  You can accomplish this by showing them that you love them in ways that are meaningful to them.  In other words, speak their love language (not yours!).

Falling in Love Isn’t Love

Another very important topic thrown into this book is that the act of “falling in love” isn’t really love at all.  The only thing that those two things have in common is the word “love” somewhere in the name; that’s it!  Falling in love isn’t really something you can control; it happens (or doesn’t happen) whether or not you want it with people who may or may not be good for you.

Love on the other hand is a conscious choice.  It takes energy and acts of selflessness.  If you want the love in your relationship to last, you’ll need to learn the love language of your partner regardless of how unnatural if may feel.  You’re not going to watch a broadway play because you like musicals; you’ll do it because your partner will feel loved when you do.  You’re not going to turn off the TV to talk about emotions and feelings because it interests you; you’re going to do it because you want to show your partner that he or she is loved.  Being in love is really about doing things for your partner so that he or she knows you’re in love.  And yes, that means sometimes you’re going to go out of your way or do things you’d rather not do.  And yes, you’ll do it with a smile because you’re not worried about some task,  you’re happy because you’re about to say “I love you”.

If you can get yourself into a relationship where the both of you are continually speaking the proper love languages, then you will have taken one giant leap towards infinite happiness.

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3 Responses

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  1. Iya says

    Sounds like a good book to read ;-)

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Near Death Experiences – Smart Path to Happiness linked to this post on December 22, 2009

    [...] place their hand on my shoulder to give me strength?  Could it be that even though my primary love language isn’t physical touch, it becomes important when you’ve lived completely devoid from it? [...]

  2. Respect the Good Times – Smart Path to Happiness linked to this post on April 5, 2010

    [...] were.  You’d be safe to say I’m smitten and if you’ve read about the five love languages, then you know I’m currently in the “falling in love” stage (or cycle, if you [...]

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