Like that online counseling thing I wrote about here, figuring out our love language was my idea.
The Five Love Languages was conceptualized by Gary Chapman after years as a marriage counselor.
Disclaimer: He wrote a book about this but I didn’t read it. Some people took issues with how oversimplified the sample situations featured in the book were, or that this whole idea was very basic and didn’t need to be said.
But whatever. It totally clicked with me. Maybe it was obvious for others, and true, when it’s explained it’s simple enough, but someone had to spell it out for me and I’m glad Chapman did.
So he says we give and receive love in different ways (nothing new there). And it’s true not just for romantic relationships, but for platonic and familial relationships as well. He put them in 5 categories, which he refers to as languages:
- Physical touch
- Words of affirmation
- Material gifts
- Acts of service
- Quality time
These are pretty straightforward and explanatory. And you figure out your love language by taking this quiz on his website where there’s a pair of statements and you pick which one makes you feel more loved. For example, you feel more loved when (A) your partner gives you a gift, or (B) spends time with you; or (A) encourages you with words, or (B) gives you a hug. So you have several combinations of these paired statements, and it ranks the 5 categories based on which one you picked the most. So you’ll have a primary love language, and maybe one or two secondary ones. You don’t even need to take the quiz. Just read through the 5 categories, assess yourself, and rank them.
An example of a situation of mismatched languages is if yours is gifts and his is quality time. If you give a gift and he doesn’t use it or gives it away, you get hurt. On the other hand, he will resent you for spending so much money on something when all he wants is to hang out with each other. Or if yours is words of affirmation and his is acts of service. So your partner is not very vocal about his emotions but all you ever want for him is to say I love you, and why couldn’t he just say it? But he cooks for you and buys you stuff, and he will think why are those things never enough for you? So the idea is, if you and your partner have very different love languages, it’s important to know that so you can try to communicate to each other in the language that you both speak.
Scott and I are not very different in our love languages, so thankfully, there really aren’t major issues that we have to work through. It basically was just helpful in determining what’s important to us and what’s not. Quality time ranked as the primary love language for both of us. Words of affirmation are very important to me, acts of service are important to him. Physical touch not so much, material gifts not at all.
We give each other gifts randomly or on a per need basis, and not necessarily because there’s an occasion. So I gave him a frisbee because he enjoyed playing the game with me and my friends when he came for a visit. He bought me shoes because I needed a pair for an upcoming trip. On his birthday I sent him money so he can go out and celebrate with friends. On my birthday he sent me a handmade card. I loved the card because I love words. I use the shoes because I need them. But I don’t think they’re more valuable than my other pairs because he gave them to me. For us, stuff are stuff. We’re not sentimental about them. And it’s very reassuring to know that we share that opinion.
So nothing groundbreaking, really. It just helped us understand each other, and ourselves, better. And that’s always a good thing, right?
What do you think about love languages? Do you think it makes sense in your relationship? If so, what’s your love language? If you’re coupled, how different is it from your partner’s?