Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Love Languages Explained Simply

There’s a good chance that if your love is missing the mark in an important relationship (even slightly) you’re not ‘speaking’ the right love language in that relationship. It’s a good thing to get in tune with your important relationships by attending to each of these ways of expressing your love, and receiving love gracefully.

Encouraging Words

People who prefer to love and be loved with encouragement will wonder why their encouragement doesn’t inspire everyone. It’s a surprise to these people that not everyone wants (or needs) to be encouraged.

People with a strong bent for affirmation will appreciate honesty, but not brutal honesty. They’re easily hurt by unfair or flippant criticism and these people are also quite perceptive of the moods and feelings of others.

Don’t waste your gifts on these people; a genuine thanks and the occasional public recognition are pretty much all the reward people strong in this language need.

Acts of Service (helping)

Actions speak louder than words for people speaking this love langauge. These people love to help; in fact, they cannot help offering and may even become offended if that offer is refused.

They also often love to receive help. Even the thought that someone is thinking of helping this person will mean they’ll feel good, loved and cared for. Favours (both ways) are the key currency here.

They expect people to simply start helping whenever there’s work to do and may even get frustrated when people wait to be asked, or don’t show an instinctive desire to help.

Gift-giving (and receiving)

The uninitiated might think that the ‘gift-givers’ are either very generous or very materialistic; the truth is no such aspersion can be made. They simply like to give or receive spontaneity. Love is spontaneous, there’s no question about it.

Freebies, important dates, trinkets, mementos and keepsakes put spice into the lives of people with a strong preference for gift-giving and receiving.

Gift-givers and receivers are possibly the most joyous people because they’ll often think creatively about surprising people with their love; equally, they’re often more ‘surprisable’ than most others.

Quality Time

For these, it’s not good enough to just be together with their special person, they need to be the focus of the time. It’s about “undivided attention.”[1]

These people are generally ‘people’ persons. They need to be involved and having valuable friendships, where there is an emphasis on talking, is very enriching. Togetherness and quality conversation are premium commodities for those yearning this type of love.

Dr. Chapman remarks in his book that this language is also responsible for those loving memories of courting, dating and burgeoning friendships that we all like to reminisce upon.[2]

Touch (or closeness of contact)

A close personal space and playful nudges, pats and hugs are the norm here. These people are suckers for a good massage, and they love a timely hug or just to rub shoulders with people, particularly from the special ones in their life.

Giving someone the cold shoulder (in a physical way) that has physical touch as a preferred love language can be very hurtful to them. They also appreciate eye contact and especially take note of the body language of those who they interact with.

Smiles, and other affirmative gestures, are given by and work well with those who appreciate physical touch.

Combining the Love Languages

It is most common that people prefer two or perhaps three of these languages, or ways of loving and being loved. And we all have at least a mild preference for all of the love languages in any event.

It’s also a very good idea to know our own love language preferences so we can be all-the-more self-aware. It’s then a potential platform for working on those languages that don’t come naturally.

We should be adept at giving (and receiving) in all five ways because it’s a good basic way to love all people. It’ll also really help us understand where others are coming from.

When all is said and done, love is choice and it can make all the difference, and it can work even when we’re prepared to abandon a relationship. “Love never fails,” said Paul, referring to everything else failing before it i.e. love.[3]

If you’re ready to learn your love languages and courageous enough to ask another person theirs, you could benefit by doing, or using, this survey: The-Love-Languages-Unofficial-Survey

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
[1] Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate (Chicago, Illinois: Northfield Publishing, 1992, 1995), p. 55.
[2] Chapman, Ibid, p. 71.
[3] See 1 Corinthians 13:8.

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