Several years ago our Sunday school teacher mentioned a book entitled The 5 Love Languages by Gary D. Chapman. The lesson for that day was about how we all give and receive love differently. The book discusses the five different “languages” the author has identified as being the ways in which love is most often communicated. Our Sunday school teacher encouraged class members to determine their language of love and the languages of those with whom they have close relationships. In doing so, we would have a better understanding of how to transmit this emotion effectively to those we care about most.
I bought the book at the church book store and took the assessment provided in order to find out my love language. As Chapman explains, we often express love toward others the way we wish to be loved ourselves. According to his research, the five love languages are words of affirmation, acts of service. receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch. My results indicated that my language of love is a combination of words of affirmation and physical touch. Acts of service and quality time rank next and receiving gifts would be the language that least communicates love to me.
When I thought about my love languages, I realized that I use words of affirmation and physical touch as ways to communicate love to others. In my years as a public school librarian, I often touched the children I worked with. Most often I would rub them on their backs or pat their heads.
When my pre-kinder babies would line up to leave the library, I somehow began sending them off with a kiss – kissing my hand and touching each of their heads. I was careful to ask every child if it was okay if I put a kiss on their head because I never wanted to appear to force myself on them. In some ways even then I was subconsciously aware that physical touch might not read “love” or caring to every child.
I have always showered those closest to me with sincerely felt verbal support, praise and compliments…words of affirmation. As they were growing up, I told my daughters I was proud of them because I didn’t remember hearing that from my own parents as often as I would have liked. I was probably more huggy and kissy a mother than my own mother was when I was a child. But now I know that words of affirmation and physical touch may not have been my parents’ love languages therefore they didn’t use them to show love to me. And times were different. In my opinion, 50 years ago people were more concerned about just working hard to make ends meet. They were almost naturally inbred to do their best at all times so parents didn’t necessarily make conscious efforts to boost their children’s self esteem.
Interestingly, both of my daughters have taken the 5 Love Languages survey and both use physical touch and words of affirmation as their love speak. When we are together, my daughters and I hug one another, sometimes “tuck” each other in bed at night, or softy one another. And across the miles that separate us, I continue to make sure to give them positive support and praise…using email, texting, Facebook and phone calls. And they love me back in much the same way…
Over the next few Fridays, I will be talking about love languages. I hope you will find this topic as interesting as I do and perhaps even insightful in learning to better relate to those you love. You can take the assessment to reveal your language of love at here. And it might be fun to encourage your loved ones to also take the survey with you. Gary Chapman’s books and other tools are available for purchase on his webpage http://www.5lovelanguages.com