Our childhood molded us. What we have received or did not translates into how we decide and deal with the world – most often subconsciously. It defines what we require from other people, especially the person we love.
I am not a psychologist and I don’t have any authority to talk about the subject but Dr. Gary Chapman’s book entitled The 5 Love Languages has hit all the right spots.
What is a love language? Based on my understanding it is basically a way of conveying or making the person we love feel loved and appreciated.
The book broke down the love languages into five. It even defined “in-love” and “emotional love” which most books about relationship agree. And again based on my understanding, emotional love is the strongest foundation of a relationship. To be able to have it? Convey love using the love language of your partner.
I was curious as to what my love language is and during the course of my reading, I thought “they are all important to me”. I took the quiz (there is one at the end of the book) and learned my love language. It was not easy though because both options were important. The key is to weigh what makes you feel loved the most and in retrospect, I agree with my result.
The book was written for married couples (there is a version for singles but I could not find it) because the author Dr. Gary Chapman is a marriage counselor. However, even I as a single was able to relate (I really recommend this book to all married couples – with or without marital problems).
So basically the 5 love languages was trimmed down by Dr. Chapman into Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch.
Discussing it further, it can be summarized into:
1. Words of Affirmation – one feel most loved when their partner provides compliments and assurances like leaving a love note on the fridge or sending random text messages of love during a hectic day or just telling one’s partner “I Love You” out of the blue. Of course, we all want to hear those words but for some this is so important that if not said they’ll doubt their partner’s love and devotion.
2. Quality Time – is when a person feels most loved and thus requires his/her partner to listen to them – not necessarily to give advice or fix the problem but just to listen. It is to allot a certain “us” time and being present in the moment. To ditch work and go on a hiking trip or just take a walk at the park talking about anything under the sun. The core principle is giving time by being physically and mentally present.
3. Receiving Gifts – gifts are good but for some they feel most loved when they receive gifts – expected or not which may not necessarily be expensive. Thoughtful gifts like cards, a flower, a potted plant, a vase, candy or a smooth stone can do. The person with this love language will love and appreciate the gesture so much.
4. Acts of Service – one feel most loved when their partners help them or do things for them without being asked to. May that be helping on a project, do or help on chores around the house like washing the dishes, pulling a chair at dinner or opening a door. Acts of service doesn’t need to be grand and staged. Dr. Chapman says that some married couple conforms to their childhood memories of what marriage looked like. Man works, provides financially and sits in front of the TV while the woman do the house chores (dinner, cleaning, doing the laundry, etc) and is also a career woman. If the woman doesn’t have this as a love language, she’ll end up hating her man for not helping around.
Love is freely given. Love can never be demanded.
5. Physical Touch – this includes holding hands, touching, kissing, hugging, sexual intercourse or just anything that uses the sense of touch. We often mistake that this is the primary love languages of men but sexual intercourse is a physical need for men and not necessarily what makes them feel most loved. While for women, it is an emotional need – a way of expressing love and also not necessarily what makes them feel loved the most. A pat in the back or a touch on an arm would make the person feel loved if he/she has this love language.
A person can have two love languages like me and Dr. Chapman refers to it as being bilingual. Normally, he says, a person has a primary and secondary love languages. If one cannot easily determine his/her love language, a quiz which he developed can help.
He also discussed the presence of a love tank in each of us and when we do not receive the emotional love we need, the love tank would be empty. To fill it up, our love ones needs to convey their love via our love languages and vice versa.
When the love tank is left empty for years, resentment and anger builds up overtime and thus leads to a zombie-like marriage, cheating or worst separation.
For me, love is a gift thus needs to be cherished. And like a gift, we have to make the choice each day to cherish the person we love despite the differences in personalities, upbringing, principles and outlook in life.
What is your love language?
I learned a lot and somehow I feel I was given a set of tools for a loving relationship. Thoughts? Leave some on the comment box. I would love to hear from you.#