If you’ve never heard of “love languages,” it might seem like a romantic phrase. And it can be, but not necessarily. Speaker, author and Baptist pastor Dr. Gary Chapman coined the phrase, referring to the five kinds of ways a person can feel respected and loved.
Chapman’s several books on the love languages include The Five Love Languages for Singles, The Five Love Languages of Teenagers and the original book, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.
I’ve read the one for singles, but it could be helpful to someone in any vocation. I even used the love language profile in the appendix to discover the love languages of family members and friends. According to Chapman, the five love languages are Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Quality Time, Acts of Service and Gifts.
Below are a few of the statements from The Five Love Languages for Singles Profile to help you identify your primary and secondary love languages. If you were to pit statements about love languages against each other, the ones that would win most frequently are your top love languages.
Words of Affirmation: I like to receive notes of affirmation. / I like for people to compliment my appearance. / I feel loved when a person celebrates my birthday with meaningful words.
Physical Touch: I love to high-five or hold hands with people who are special to me. / I feel loved when someone I love or admire puts his or her arm around me. / I feel secure when a special person is touching me.
Quality Time: I enjoy extended trips with someone who is special to me. / I really enjoy the feeling I get when someone gives me undivided attention. / I appreciate it when someone listens patiently and doesn’t interrupt me.
Acts of Service: I know someone loves me when he or she helps me. / I feel loved when a person helps with my chores. / I feel loved when friends and loved ones help me with jobs or projects.
Gifts: Visible symbols of love (gifts) are very important to me. / I know a person is thinking of me when he or she gives me a gift. / Several small gifts mean more to me than one large gift.
Chances are you’ll be showing your love for others in the ways that you feel loved yourself. But frequently relationship tension comes through not knowing, understanding or accepting the other’s love language.
A husband spends all Saturday raking up the yard, fixing the car and cleaning the gutter, thinking he is generously showing love for his wife (acts of service). But the minute he walks in the door she blasts him for not spending the day with her (quality time).
This is where it gets kind of tricky. If the one you are trying to love values a love language you aren’t as inclined to, you need to try to love him or her the way that person feels love. You can’t expect the individual to just accept the way you feel like loving. Ironically, insisting on showing love only the way you feel love yourself is selfish and frustrating.
It can be helpful to talk about the love languages with others in order to love more effectively. But for those in your life you can’t discuss the love languages with, try to accept their signs of love and appreciation, even if they don’t express themselves using your most valued love languages. It’s important to remember to be gracious and accepting, recognizing that they are loving in the way they see best.
“Even if someone doesn’t love you the way you need or want them to, they might love you with all they have.” – Anonymous
What are your two main love languages?