Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Five Love Languages

(From the February edition of my church's newsletter.)

During his 30 years as a marriage counselor, Dr. Gary Chapman noticed that many problems between couples stemmed from different ideas of how to love and be loved. He theorized that people speak in five different love languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. Chapman believes that each person has a preference for one or two of the five languages, and that he or she feels the most loved when it is expressed in this language. When couples speak different love languages, it can lead to misunderstandings, even feelings of neglect or being unloved.

In his the book The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate Chapman provides two short questionnaires to help you and your spouse determine your primary love language. He then goes on to describe the five languages. Words of Affirmation refers to kind and uplifting words, such as an unsolicited compliment or a verbally expressed, “I love you.” Quality Time means time with your spouse when you have his or her undivided attention – no TV, cell phones, or other distractions. If your primary love language is Receiving Gifts, it does not mean that you are a materialist! The importance in this language is the thought and effort behind the gift. Acts of Service refers to “anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on your spouse” like washing dishes or going to the grocery store. If Physical Touch is your primary love language, then for you there is great meaning in hugs, holding hands, and pats on the back.

Though Chapman believes that every person has a preferred language or two, we can all relate to the other languages. The book explores how we can learn to express love in our spouse’s primary love language.

I think this is light, easy read could be helpful for couples young and not so young. I first read this book several years before Jason and I got married, and it has been helpful for us. We do have different preferred love languages, and identifying that has helped us to care for each other better.