Have you learned your Love Language is yet?
As a romance novelist, I'm always thinking of the ways people can show love to each other. If my hero gives my heroine flowers as a romantic gesture, how can I make it unique? If my heroine speaks something loving to my hero, what can she say to really speak to his heart and soul?
With my new book, A Promise Remembered, hitting bookshelves in just a few weeks, I've been working on my next two books and thinking of all the ways I can communicate love in words and gesture. And it got me thinking about a great resource I refer to, not for my writing, but for life!
Years ago I read a beautiful how-to book titled, The Five Love Languages. Have you heard of it? Written by Gary Chapman, who directs marriage seminars and counsels married couples, The Five Love Languages asserts that each person has a special way they express love. Most importantly, it's also the special way they feel love. Chapman explains that people tend to show others love by expressing it the way they themselves wish to receive it. If you learn what that is, you'll have a better chance at making them feel loved. Pretty interesting concept, right?
The Five Love Languages are:
1. Physical Touch
2. Words of Affirmation
3. Quality Time
5. Acts of Service
I read Chapman's book years ago. I had fun figuring out what my love language was and then trying to discover the love languages of my friends and family. When I took time to really ponder what another's love language was, so many things made sense to me.
Ah-ha! That's why my family member always thanks me several times for cooking dinner. (Acts of Service)
Ah-ha! That's why my friend always specially wraps Christmas gifts for me every year. (Gifts)
Ah-ha! That's why I feel a little let down when someone only signs their name in my birthday card. (Words of Affirmation)
How we express love to others is the way WE want them to reciprocate love to us. With this kind of knowledge, we can figure out what our own love language is AND what another's love language is.
When it comes to your best friend, do you offer a huge hug as soon as you see them? Are you a person who likes to hug good-bye? Are you a high-fiver? When someone is hurting, do you gently touch their arm or rub their back? If you were a kid who greatly appreciated tickles, wrestling on the floor with a parent and kisses goodnight, your love language might be PHYSICAL TOUCH.
Think about how often you compliment others. Are you quick to notice your friend's new haircut or sweater while thinking of a genuine way to tell them how much you like it? When you send a birthday card, are you careful to craft a kind message inside instead of letting Hallmark do all the writing? If you send your friend encouraging notes and text messages or make sure to tell them how much you love them, your love language might be WORDS OF AFFIRMATION.
Does spending quality time with a friend mean spending QUANTITY time? Do you feel most loved when you and your friend spend time together doing an activity or just hanging out and talking? Are you frustrated when you spend time with your friend and they are distracted on a device or doing something else instead of focusing on you and the activity? If the answer is yes, this is a clue that QUALITY TIME is your love language.
How important are gifts to you? For some people, gifts are the best expression of love. They take notice of your intention behind the gift. They pay attention to the special way you wrapped the gift. After a friend returns from a trip, are you hopeful they brought you a little memento? Do you cherish sentimental tokens a friend gives you? Is your birthday especially important to you because you want to know what gifts your friend selected? Whether the gift is big or small, if gifts are especially important to you, your love language might be GIFTS.
For a person whose love language is Acts of Service, love is a language of action. Do you decide who cares for you based on how much they help you? Are you the first person to volunteer when a friend needs help moving? If you are likely to offer your friend a ride, help them paint their living room, cook their favorite dinner when they're feeling blue or pick up soup and ginger ale when they're sick, your love language might be ACTS OF SERVICE.
Once you figure out your own love language, try to figure out what your friend's love language is. While we can feel love in all five ways, giving extra focus to a friend's primary love language will help you strengthen your relationship with them. And cluing them in on YOUR love language will help them speak love to you in the best way possible.
For Valentine's Day, I give special thought to how to love my husband and children. How will you apply your knowledge of the love languages?
Wishing love to you and yours,