We give and receive love in 5 very different ways. How do you show love and appreciation for others?
What is your love language?
How do you feel loved? How do you know that your partner or friend values you and truly “gets you?” Do you sometimes feel you are speaking completely different languages and that there is a disconnect in what you say and do and what the other person hears and acts on? Do you know how your partner or friend feels loved? What is the language of love and do we each have our own?
According to Gary Chapman, author of the Five Love Languages- How to express heartfelt commitment to your mate, the five methods of expressing and receiving love are:
1. Words of Affirmation
2. Quality Time
3. Receiving Gifts
4. Acts of Service
5. Physical Touch
Receiving and Giving Love Messages
How we give and receive love messages can be as different as trying to communicate in German and Spanish without a full understanding of the other language.
We tend to send out love signals and express appreciation in the primary ways we like to get it. If we enjoy getting cards on special and not so special occasions, we assume so does our partner and loved ones. If we enjoy a backrub we assume our spouse would too and what he really would treasure is a home cooked meal.
Lots of irritation, hurt feelings and arguments can be avoided by just being more aware of what our loved ones values in communication. I encourage you to set aside an hour to discuss this article with someone you love. It will be very eye-opening to discover that while you may both speak the same English language, you are not even close on the language of giving and expressing love.
Family Discussion and Discoveries
My husband Dwain and I have six adult and ten wonderful grandchildren.
We consider our greatest accomplishment in life that they like themselves and each other. One of the ways we have stayed close emotionally, since we are scattered geographically, is to have annual family reunions.
At a reunion a few years ago, we bought copies of this book for each person over 12 and had a lively discussion on how we each give love and how we hope to have it shown to us. It was a very interactive and illuminating conversation to realize that what was given in a loving way had often been dismissed or gone unappreciated.
Words of Affirmation
This is my primary method for giving and receiving love. Because I love compliments, sincere praise and encouragement I assumed everyone did. Not so! Encouragement means to inspire or give courage and so I love it when someone encourages and validates my efforts.
One family member mentioned that not only is he not motivated by words of affirmation, but absolutely devastated by criticism. His comment was “Tell me what I am doing right, and I will do 100 times more. Tell me what I am doing wrong and I feel like not even trying.”
This love language means undivided attention and truly listening. It involves actually looking at the person and paying attention to what is said verbally and the non-verbal clues of sighs and shrugged shoulders.
In order to spend quality time it requires being together. Not just sitting on the same sofa watching television, or riding in the car or painting a room together. It requires all of you; body, mind and spirit be present and accounted for.
This love language has more to do with what happens on an emotional level than a physical level. It is a time of true connection. One of our family members said she felt this when her husband put down his newspaper when she wanted to talk to him about a small decision she was struggling with.
This could be a whole different article, but we had to laugh at how many middle children equated love with receiving gifts. A gift is something you can hold in your hand and say “Look, he was thinking of me.” The gift becomes the tangible symbol of that thought.
The most treasured gifts mentioned were not diamonds or perfume. Rather it was a wild flower picked on a walk. Cards for special occasions and for no reason at all ranked high on the treasured expressions of love. The family member who hated to be criticized loved stars on his school papers!
In the book, Gary mentions that “Physical presence in the time of crisis is the most powerful gift you can give if your spouse’s primary love language is receiving gifts.”
Acts of Service
This is my husband’s way of expressing love and concern. He lays out my vitamins; he fills the car with gas, saves the last bite of his pie for me, and pays the bills on time. Because we married so young, I just assumed (incorrectly) that was what husbands did.
Many times in our marriage he has held two or more jobs to support his family.
When he retired, he said “It is your turn” and took over the household so that I could concentrate on writing and speaking. When I have a speaking assignment, he goes with me and sells my books and videos.
I realized early in our marriage that it was easy for me to say “Thanks.” But the love gift he really appreciated was when I fixed his favorite meal or made chocolate chip cookies. He needed me to show love in the way he recognized and used.
As a parent educator, I have ample scientific evidence that show the importance of babies being held, hugged and kissed. Those fortunate children grow up with a much stronger self-image, emotional resiliency and ability to give and receive love.
Physical touch can make or break a relationship and can communicate respect or ridicule. The main thing I have noticed with those whose love language is physical touch, is that when the other person doesn’t pick up on clues that they need a hug, it causes withdrawal. This withdrawal cycles into isolation.
The sad thing is that it isn’t always sexual intercourse that is needed and craved as much as hand holding, rubbing sore feet, rubbing a bald head for luck or kisses. The small gesture of physical touches mean a connection and connection means communication and caring.
Self -Awareness Quiz
1. What is your primary love language? Is the way you express love to others, the same way you like to be shown love?
2. What is the love language of your partner? Can you name what makes him/her feel cherished and loved?
3. Will you have an open conversation about love languages and share what makes you feel loved?
© Judy Helm Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, author and speaker. You will want to check out the new books on Kindle to help you improve and enhance relationships. These effective and affordable books are available at http://amzn.to/kindlebyjudy You will be so glad you did.