As a wedding gift, Timon and I received a book called “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts” written by Gary Chapman. I read the book, and I find it quite interesting. According to the author, there are 5 love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. Chapman does an excellent job in defining each of these 5 love languages and providing examples.
Note: In this post, I write in the context of marriage, but these 5 loves languages are definitely applicable to all types of relationships.
1. Words of Affirmation
Chapman wrote, “One way to express love emotionally is to use words that build up.” Some people feel loved when their partner gives verbal compliments and/or express their appreciations such as: “Wow! You look beautiful in this dress!” or “Thank you for being such a great listener” or “I want you to know that I appreciate what you do for me”. People whose primary love language is words of affirmation want to hear encouraging and kind words or simply positive things to help build themselves up as a person.
This love language reminds me of one of Solomon’s proverbs: “The tongue has the power of life and death” (Proverbs 18:21). If your significant other’s primary love language is words of affirmation, you need to be more mindful of what you say to your spouse.
2. Quality Time
For some people, words don’t mean much, but instead, it’s by giving them your undivided attention that makes them feel loved. Quality time means not playing with your cellphone when eating at the table with your spouse, and not watching TV when your spouse is trying to talk to you or look into your eyes. Instead, quality time means your attention is focused on your loved one, you listen and have a quality conversation with him/her. It also includes doing activities together, just the two of you.
3. Receiving Gifts
If your significant other’s primary love language is receiving gifts, but you’re a big saver, you might have to change your perspective on money and your attitude towards it. Instead of thinking that you’re spending money on buying things for your loved one, you may want to regard it as investing your money by meeting your spouse’s emotional need, which is to feel loved. The love language of receiving gifts doesn’t only include physical objects, but also the gift of self and presence. For instance, you may think it’s meaningless to go shopping with your spouse for Christmas gifts since she’s the one deciding which gifts to buy, and you normally don’t have much say in it, but she feels loved when you’re simply present and by her side.
4. Acts of Service
Your spouse’s first love language is acts of service if doing things for him/her makes him/her feel loved. Things like cooking a meal, washing the dishes, driving them where they need to go, anything that can help and be of service to them. However, these acts of service cannot be the result of fear, guilt or manipulation, but instead they must come from a genuine intention of serving.
5. Physical Touch
Physical touch is a powerful vehicle to express one’s love. Holding hands, kissing and embracing are ways of communicating emotional love to your spouse whose first love language is physical touch. For example, when your loved one is going through a tough time, holding him/her in your arms means so much more than comforting words. But keep in mind that how you like to be touched is not necessarily what brings emotional love and pleasure to your significant other.
After reading the book, I’ve realized that Timon and I definitely don’t have the same love languages, and if we want to make our love last, we need to understand how we feel loved and how we can show our love towards each other.
My primary love language is definitely words of affirmation. Of course I like it when he compliments me, but it’s when he encourages me and uses words to push me towards chasing after my dreams that I feel the most loved. He’s my all-time favorite and most important cheerleader in life. Without his support and words that soothe my soul, I’d have a difficult time overcoming the mountains of struggles.
Acts of service is my second love language. I multitask a lot because there’re so many things I want to do. I get disappointed when I can’t accomplish the tasks. Oftentimes, I have trouble asking for help, and the main reason is because I don’t want to bother others. I don’t want to be a burden. If I’m being completely honest with myself and with you, I think there’s a little bit of pride that prevents me from asking for help. When someone offers to lend me a hand without me asking, I really appreciate it. When Timon does it, I feel loved.
In case you’re curious, I told Timon about what I think are my love languages. He’s aware, and he’s been doing an excellent job at using words of affirmation and acts of service to express his love for me. I have an idea of what his love languages are, but because he hasn’t confirmed, I don’t want to mention them on the blog.
If you want to know more about the 5 love languages, I encourage you to get the book. You’ll learn how to better communicate your love to the people that matter the most to you, and for Christmas, receiving love is the greatest gift.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16
Anna Lou Chen
all the photos in this post belong to me