The language of love

You know the story….guy wins over girl through gifts, or love notes, or long walks in the park. Then after they get married and have been married a year….reality sets in. “You never give me gifts anymore. When can we spend time together? Remember, when you used to write me notes? Yah, those were the days…”

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Now, it’s not that either person has stopped loving the other, or that they stopped caring. It’s just that we don’t know how, at least not in a way our loved one will receive it.

This summer I read “The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Now, of course, I started thinking through the people I know and analyzing their language. 🙂 My siblings? Definitely quality time, just like my parents. 🙂 Big surprise, I know. 

So, in case you haven’t heard them, here they are:
1. Quality time: spending intentional time with someone, or even just being together in a project.
2. Physical Touch: hugs, a pat on the back, a high five for a good job, holding hands/
3. Acts of Service: taking out the trash, washing the dishes, helping someone carry something
4. Words of Affirmation: encouragement, verbally affirming their good qualities, appreciative words, notes.
5. Gifts: small gifts to let them know you were thinking of them, flowers generally fit this.

 

When people date, they generally do all of these things to earn their partner’s love and affection. But often, after time, we switch out of overload and back into our natural language.

The trick is to figure out what really blesses the other person and what they receive the most. My mom is a prime example of quality time. (Mom, you know it so don’t deny it). You could give her a gift every week or give her a quick hug when you see her each time (which, by the way, is her secondary language), but after a while you’ll start to hear her complain…..”sometime we should hang out again! Sometime, we’ll have to catch up. How’s this going? Just letting you know I’m thinking of you.” You get the picture. 🙂 That’s why she’s easy to birthday shop for….either a coffee date or thrift store shopping date.

I’m pretty blessed as Jesse’s languages are very similar to mine. Quality Time is his primary, with physical touch and affirming words coming second.

And if you’ve known me for any length of time, you should know mine. Guesses anyone?
Yep, quality time and words of affirmation. No surprise there.

The difficulty comes when our definitions of quality time differ. My choice of quality time (a walk in the neighborhood or a game) is different than his (eating dinner together, or chilling in the living room). Way easier to navigate than some of the examples I read about in the book.

It’s interesting how you don’t realize them until you start to miss them. I didn’t realize how strong words were to me until I heard negative words and upset words. Then it crushed me as what someone says to me is a big deal unless I train myself not to care…..as much.

Now, disclaimer alert! I’m not blind enough to assume that all people fit into neat boxes.  One of my dear friends told me recently she’s not sure which languages are hers.  As unique as people are, they may have a unique type of language that’s all their own.

So, we sometimes use this phrase around our house (and they talked about it in the book too).
“How’s your love tank doing? How can I help to fill it?” Sometimes it’s nothing as it was just a rough day at school, but sometimes it’s something as simple as cleaning the dirty dishes out of the sink.

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Love really is a choice. A choice to learn how to love the other person in their own way.

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