The Language of Love

During this busy holiday season, many of us want to show our family and friends how much we care. We may buy them expensive gifts, cook a special dinner, make a homemade craft, or plan fun holiday festivities. Whatever we choose to do, our ultimate goal is to let them know they are loved. But, perhaps before we buy those gifts or cook that dinner, we should take a look at Dr. Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages. In this book, Dr. Chapman explains that all of us express and experience love in one of five different “love languages.” The five languages are: physical touch, receiving gifts, acts of service, words of affirmation, and quality time. Usually, people give love in the same way that they want to receive it. But, that’s not always the best way for those closest to us to experience love, which is why learning the love languages of our family and friends is so important. Once we learn how our family and friends want to receive love, we can show it to them in the ways that mean the most to them. They will feel valued, appreciated, and above all, truly loved.
Love languages provide valuable insight that can be particularly helpful during the holiday season. If your wife’s love language is quality time, then she would rather spend a quiet afternoon sharing a picnic lunch with you than receiving an expensive gift. If your brother’s love language is acts of service, then he would rather have your help moving a bookshelf or serving dinner at a local soup kitchen than take a hike with you in the woods. What your family members love the most might not be what you love the most. So, before you buy everyone on your list gifts this year, ask questions and evaluate what your friends and family members enjoy doing and how they express their love to others. All of these are clues to their love languages. And, you want to do this for your children as well. They have love languages too. Once you know which languages your family members speak, it makes showing your love that much easier.
But, learning someone’s love language doesn’t just help with holiday shopping. It also makes a big difference in our everyday relationships. For example, if your spouse’s love language is physical touch and your love language is acts of service, you clearly receive love in different ways. Your spouse might give you a hug to show his love when all you really want is for him to help you with the laundry. Or, you might help your spouse fix the sink when all he wants to do is snuggle on the couch. Often, this creates tensions in a relationship and both spouses believe they aren’t getting what they need. This can lead to frustration and unhappiness, which is why learning about love languages is so beneficial. It helps us communicate our love effectively while also creating a closer emotional connection with our loved ones.
This week, learn the love languages of those closest to you. What do they enjoy doing? How do they express their love to others? Once you’ve learned how your family or friends want to receive love, express your love to them in the most meaningful way possible. It might just be the best “gift” they receive this holiday season. But don’t stop there. Take some time to reflect upon your own love language. How do you best give and receive love? Would you rather receive a beautiful diamond necklace or have your partner make you a romantic dinner? Both may sound enticing, but which one appeals to you more?  Discover how you want to receive love and then nurture yourself over these next few weeks. Show love to yourself through whatever language speaks to you, whether it’s spending quality time taking a hot bubble bath or writing down loving affirmations about yourself. Feel the love surround you, and then share that love with others in the best way you can this holiday season.

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