What’s your love language?

Dear Daughter,

A few years ago, a man named Gary Chapman wrote a book called The 5 Love Languages. This book describes five different ways in which people give and receive love. Chapman states that every person is born with one of these languages, and it’s best to know the language of your spouse, significant other, and anyone close to you, so that you know how to better communicate with them.

Here are the love languages and their descriptions, from 5lovelanguages.com:

1) Words of Affirmation. Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.

2) Quality Time. In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.

3) Receiving Gifts. Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.

4) Acts of Service. Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.

5) Physical Touch. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.

I think the assessment of these languages is right on, and knowing them is helpful in all relationships, not just romantic ones. Learn the languages of your closest friends and family members, and try to start speaking to them in their language. They’ll appreciate your willingness to reaching them in a way that makes them feel most loved and secure.

For example, let’s just say (hypothetically, of course) that your mom’s love language is Words of Affirmation. If you want to make her happy, then tell her all the reasons why you think she’s smart, beautiful, talented and all-in-all fabulous. She’ll be like putty in your hands…

Love,
Mom

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