Languages of Love

According to Dr. Gary Chapman, each of us speaks and understands a language that makes it easy for us to feel loved. Your love language probably differs from that of your loved one’s. If you try to communicate using only your native language, it may be foreign to others. To be understood, you need to know and speak your loved one’s language. Which one is it?

Words of Affirmation: verbal expressions of appreciation, compliments, praise, and thanks, conveyed for the well-being of the one you love. Such communication demonstrates: encouragement: it inspires and motivates (not pressures) another to pursue a latent interest or achieve personal potential; kindness: it encompasses loving tones and truthful statements to build intimacy, express understanding, share difficult feelings or show forgiveness; and humility: it requests instead of demands, asks instead of nags.

Acts of service: happily doing things you know your loved one would like you to do or helping with tasks that need to be done. Examples might include keeping the house clean, putting the toilet seat down, ironing, changing diapers, cleaning the garage, cooking or going out for dinner, or attending a symphony performance. Such acts require thought, time, planning, and effort. They are done in love, not out of fear, guilt, resentment, or duty, and may go against social or family stereotypes.

Receiving Gifts: tokens or symbols of affection, caring, remembrance, and thoughtfulness. They may be tangible gifts: little (or big) presents that you’ve found, made or purchased, given either at a special time or for no specific occasion; or gifts of self: your physical presence in important moments or times of crisis.

Quality time: focused, undivided and uninterrupted attention. It is demonstrated in: togetherness: not just proximity, but in the simple emotional connection and enjoyment of being with each other; meaningful conversation: sympathetic (not just solution-oriented) dialogue and active listening to share feelings, thoughts and desires in a friendly uninterrupted context; and shared activities: doing things together that interest one or both of you just in order to create a unique experience and mutual memory.

Physical Touch: communication of your love through touch, with sensitivity to what is appropriate, given the situation and the nature of the relationship. Empathetic touches of understanding when your loved one is in tears or in a time of crisis.

Love Language Assessment

Do you know that every person has a love language? To help you decide what your love language is, choose the following statement that is most true of you. Then, choose the statement that is most true of your loved one.

I feel especially loved when people express how grateful they are for me, and for the simple everyday things I do.

I feel especially loved when a person gives me undivided attention and spends time alone with me.

I feel especially loved by someone who brings me gifts and other tangible expressions of love.

I feel especially loved when someone pitches in to help me, perhaps by running errands or taking on my household chores.

I feel especially loved when a person expresses feelings for me through physical contact.

Remember, love is a choice that often involves sacrifice. You’ll deepen affection in relationships if you learn your loved one’s love language and speak it regularly.