by Mary Rogers
I recently stumbled across an intuitive and insightful book: Gary Chapman’s The 5 Languages ©: The Secret to Love That Lasts.
In his book, Chapman breaks down how most people feel, identify, and relate to love. He was able to break these into five main categories. He assesses that if we identify our primary love language and that of our partner, we may learn to better communicate our love and affection in the manner the person desires for a more meaningful relationship.
“Love is a universal way humans speak to one another. From a very early age, we show and receive love from the people in our lives. The love we receive (or lack thereof) and how it is expressed helps to shape us into the people we become as adults. Individuals that grow up without love and security typically grow up to have serious mental health, behavioral, interpersonal, and/or personality issues later in life. Love, truly, is one of the most important aspects of a healthy, happy life.
Although we know love is critical, we don’t always know how to express it. Furthermore, we don’t always know how to express it in a way that the person receiving it knows that our intentions stem from a place of love. Some of the conflict with this, too, is due to the fact that we, ourselves, don’t always know what makes us feel most loved and/or how others can show us love. Expressing and receiving love is another form of communication in itself. We all respond to different forms of communication differently. What works for some may not work for others. Thankfully, Dr. Gary Chapman has developed the Five Love Languages, an easy way to break down how we each can communicate love to one another in a language that the receiver can understand.” ~ Nina Shadi
I would say we’ve all had at least one relationship (or possibly several) where we felt we just didn’t “speak the same language” as our partners. Somehow, despite all the best intentions, our messages crossed or never seemed to land on understanding.
Misunderstandings, miscommunication, and hurt feelings built up until the relationship was forced to end, not because of a lack of love, but because we and/or our partners were not feeling loved.
To start, Gary Chapman asks you to determine your own love language by taking an assessment test and asking yourself these pertinent questions:
>>> How do I express love to others?
>>> What do I complain about the most?
>>> What do I request the most often?
The five love languages, as set forth by Dr. Chapman, are as follows:
Words of Affirmation
Positive verbal reinforcement. If this is your love language, you feel wonderful when someone gives you a genuine compliment. You may feel insecure without encouragement or regular expressions of approval. You feel loved when your partner expresses appreciation for the small things you do.
Periods where you have complete attention. If quality time is your primary love language, you feel neglected without time spent specifically focused on each other, or doing something together that you love to do. You enjoy sharing things you love with others, and feel special when someone else includes you in something they are passionate about.
Physical or visual symbols of affection. If receiving gifts makes you feel loved, that does not mean you are superficial. Some people simply respond to tangible illustrations of the love in a relationship. Different from being a “gold digger”, someone who speaks this love language appreciates thoughtful, personal gifts, not necessarily dependent on price. A home-made card or tiny trinket can speak volumes, if well-chosen and suited to the recipient.
Acts of Service
Doing things for a loved one. If this is your dominant love language, you feel loved when someone goes out of their way to make things more pleasant or smooth for you. Examples include: doing chores, cooking dinner, taking care of something that would normally be your responsibility, chipping in without being asked. Most people can relate to this love language, though in very different ways, and it is extremely important to practice this love language out of genuine feeling, rather than duty, to avoid resentment.
Bodily contact between people. Not restricted to sexual intercourse or intimacy, this love language encompasses all kinds of touch, from hugs to kisses to cuddling. Physical contact can be its own form of communication. If this is your love language, you need your partner to recognize what kinds of touch are pleasant and which are irritating, and focus on increasing the former and reducing the latter.
With all the love languages, it is vital to remember that we each speak our own dialect. All of us can identify with more than one of these expressions of love or affection, though most of us do primarily respond best to one or another of them. We also tend to express love the way we would like to receive it, and if our partners do not communicate in the same love language as we do, this can create a lot of tension and dissatisfaction. Instead, concentrate on identifying your partner’s love language, and practice showing affection in ways they will better receive the message. After all, what we all really want is to feel seen and loved.
I, personally, have found that I identify primarily with quality time and physical touch as the means in which I feel most loved. I crave affection from my lover. I need the intimacy, and this kind of intimacy can only be obtained with quality time. What have you found to be your primary love language? What is your partner’s?
While some may be off-put that Gary Chapman is a minister, rest assured he does not push any religious beliefs in this particular book. I would highly recommend this book as a tool to grow your relationship and to find true fulfillment with your partner. The truth contained therein is surprisingly accurate.
Mary Rogers currently resides in Nevada County (Grass Valley, CA). A dreamer and high achiever, she finds inspiration in nature, karmic reciprocity, and self-reflection. She may be an old soul: cheeky and brass, but she is also sugar and spice and everything nice. Passionate in all that she does, her favorite pastime is shooting whiskey and getting naked on paper. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. She is the founder of LotusGypsySoul.com and is a columnist at Elephant Journal.