Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

July 11th, 2013

Words of Affirmation

Quality Time

Gifts

Acts of Service

Physical Touch

 

Recently we had a book discussion night on The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. In the book, he talks about loving your spouse using their primary love language. If your partner feels most loved when they receive gifts, all the words of affirmation in the world may not make them feel loved at all. He talks about people learning their primary love language when growing up, and also about their being different dialects to every language. For some, quality time means watching TV together, for others it means turning off the electronics and talking together. I found this to be a very interesting way to look at things, and turned it inward, to look at myself and my relationships.

My primary love language is acts of service. It’s how I speak and how I receive love. I am a care-taker personality, and find joy in doing for others. It’s why I’ve lasted so long in retail even though I hate sales(thank the gods for our stores not running on commission). My family always taught that you do things for other people. Growing up in a Christian household, Jesus’ servant leadership was always the guiding light. He fed people, washed his disciples feet. This is how you show love, I was told.

It translates quite well into my relationship with my boyfriend. My submission to him is very service oriented. I help manage crew lists and care for/carry the equipment. I help around the house. I take care of his boots and his rope. Fortunately, it does seem to be what he is looking for. He believes very much in servant leadership, has always encouraged service as a way of giving thanks. He enjoys my service and gives me opportunities to provide it. He also speaks to me in this language. He offers to drive us places. He cooks wonderful meals for me. Both things I’m not as fond of doing for myself. Sometimes the scenes he gives me are also acts of service. They are things I have asked him for that may not be exactly what he was after. Though he always makes sure that he finds ways to get enjoyment as well, because who wants to do a scene that bores them.

In my marriage, I tried to take care of the house, the finances, vacation details, etc. However, when it isn’t the primary love language of my partner, these things, while probably appreciated, are not what he is looking for. I think this was the case with hubby, his primary love language seeming to be physical touch. In this case, Chapman writes that you have to put in the effort to learn your partner’s primary love language. Often, this requires asking them what they want and need from you. Doing this can make their primary love language your secondary language.

As we all know, life is never as simple as self-help books make it out to be. So what about those other four languages and me?

Words of affirmation. I like hearing I love you, and thank you, and you did a good job. I like hearing I’m proud of you, good girl, and you are beautiful. They make me feel validated. They make my acts of service feel acknowledged and appreciated. They can even make me feel warm inside. If I never received words of affirmation, I would certainly not feel loved or appreciated. Because I feel this way, I do try to give them in return, to acknowledge others as I like to be acknowledged.

Quality time. This one is important to me. I’m a solitary person, an introvert, so I’m not looking for tons and tons of time. But I do want the time spent to be quality time. And what this means can vary. I like to go Do things – amusement parks, parties, play, travel. I also like to just be together – sit and watch TV or movies, have meals together, sleep together(yes, sleep). I’m verbally challenged, but yes, sometimes, this can also mean turning off the electronics and just talking together.

Gifts. I’m not so much for physical gifts. I mean, I like them at birthday and Christmas, but non-physical gifts are nice, too. Trips to Cedar Point. Extra time spent together. A special meal. Gifts, for me, are for special occasions, and should be more about thought than price. This isn’t a good year-round language for me.

Physical touch. I enjoy physical touch. I like having human contact. I want to hug my friends and kiss my lovers. I like giving and receiving back rubs and foot rubs. Sex can be awesome. Much of my kink involves touch. Snuggling up with someone can provide me comfort and affection. I do stumble over this one for a variety of reasons, societal or introvert-based. It is something I need in my relationships at some level, but the how much can vary greatly.

 

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3 Responses to “Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman”

  1. Mine is physical touch but my husband’s and daughter’s is acts of service. I think that we don’t need to share the primary love language, just realize what another person needs and give them that.