Explanations about how love works are all fine and good, but ideas don’t make much difference until you put them into action. That’s what love languages are all about.
Love languages is an idea popularized by Gary Chapman’s books that identify five specific ways that people show love, based on what they value. Some people give gifts, others say nice things, share quality time, do acts of service, or communicate affection through physical touch.
When two people don’t speak the same language, it’s helpful to observe how the other person expresses love. Then you can both notice more readily the messages being sent, and try expressing your affection in those terms so your partner will more clearly understand how you feel.
It’s also important to communicate – let your partner know how you communicate love and how you like to receive it. Otherwise you may totally miss the messages being sent and feel unappreciated for your efforts even though each of you may be doing your best.
Love languages reveal the method by which people prefer to express love, but that’s only the first step. How often and thoroughly those messages are spoken is even more important.
For example, if you understand love via gifts, do you prefer expensive ones or thoughtfully chosen ones more?
If you appreciate quality time, what does that mean to YOU? Do you prefer quality conversation, exciting adventures, or creating something together? How much does constantly checking your phone detract from that time?
If physical touch is your thing, then how long your massage lasts speaks volumes.
Your words and actions when you’re not communicating love also matter immensely. If one minute you say, “I love you!” (whether with words, gifts, touch, etc.) and the next minute, you’re criticizing, complaining, being angry or impatient, etc., those negative messages will undermine and can entirely erase your good intentions.
Where do you fall on the “Love Languages” love slider?
|1: If people don’t love me the way I want and expect, then I’m blind to whatever they’re trying to communicate. I don’t believe they really love me, or they’re not very good at it!||3: If someone really loves me, they’ll learn to love my love language best. If they don’t, I’ll find a new relationship where love doesn’t require so much effort!||5: It’s so sad to speak separate love languages! We’ll never fully understand or appreciate each other, and it’s annoying to have to try!||7: Speaking other love languages is sometimes inconvenient, but it’s important to try, and it’s worth it!||10: I like my love languages best, but becoming bilingual sounds like a fun challenge.|
11. Going to extremes: In your desire to make the right impression and please someone, don’t deny or lose yourself. Don’t forget who you are and become someone else in order to please someone so they’ll love you back and you can feel secure. You may fool them for a while, but
How do you most often show love? How do you like to be shown when someone cares for you?
Do you think that your love language is the best one?
How do you think speaking different love languages would affect the quality of a relationship?
Look around at how people express love and affection and see if you can figure out their love language. Notice whether they send you any messages of love in their language.
Once you have a guess regarding someone’s love language, try speaking it. Make it a fun challenge, as if you were learning another language in preparation for an overseas vacation. See how fluent and comfortable you can become!
If you’re in a relationship, ask your partner what they like best that you do for them.