The book The 5 Love Languages written by Dr. Gary Chapman had been on my reading list for a couple of months now. Yesterday I decided to plunge in and I took the quiz. I found out what my main love languages are, and a lot of experiences started to make more sense. Instead of overeating and feeling like I was a bad person, I kept binging but feeling more and more like myself. There is some relief in understanding yourself. In realizing that you are not crazy for feeling unseen or unlovable. Each one of us has a primary love language that grows with us. It’s like our native language, our safest and easiest way of self-expression. What happens when you are with someone who doesn’t speak your native language? It gets harder and harder to keep a free-flowing relationship.
My primary and secondary love languages are quality time and physical touch. The third one is acts of service, which I dab into to some extent. Yet, my fourth – words of affirmation – and fifth – receiving gifts – languages don’t say much to me. People can say I’m a good writer, a good listener, a good this or that. None of these will stick and impact my “love tank”, as Dr. Gary calls it. I love yous not backed up by gestures and attention doesn’t make much sense to me. It doesn’t even matter how much the other person is being truthful and honest. It may work for a while, but it doesn’t fulfill my understanding and need for love. You see, we only understand love when it is expressed in our language. That’s why loving someone and making that person feel loved are two different things.
I never understood I had a particular way of feeling – and experiencing – love. I rationalized my unmet needs. I let myself go with other people’s interpretations and perceptions. I assumed I’m hard to love. Demanding. Too complex. In reality, I have a particular way of feeling and expressing love. To me, love is about sharing time with another in a significant and thoughtful way. It requires intention and positive regard. It asks for sensitivity toward the other person’s likes and dislikes. I love others by giving them my time and undivided attention because that’s how I experience love. Other people may love me through things and words but I have a hard time feeling loved that way.
I am and I’ve always been an explorer. I need adventure in my life, even if it’s within my two ears. It’s a need that often hides my natural way of wanting to be loved. There is nothing more uplifting and heartwarming than to go for a walk in the wild. To share a meal, a good laugh, or learn something with someone else. I live by and for those moments. They inspire me to be better and to give back more. I get bored when I do the same over and over again. Or when I must do a chore that has no other intent than the satisfaction of the need of getting it done. Is there something more beautiful than to be in the moment and share that with others? Is there anything more ecstatic than to cherish the moment? I don’t care if aliens are on TV at dinner time or not. I care about the quality of the moment and the opportunity for bonding.
I’m sure there are more ecstatic things for other people. Otherwise, the other 4 love languages wouldn’t exist, and love wouldn’t be so hard to keep alive. The big trouble is that we need to understand, respect, and honor other people’s love language. That’s the only way, according to Dr. Chapman, to make sure love lasts. He’s probably right. It doesn’t matter how much you love a person. If your love tank runs empty for a long time, love starts to fade away. It doesn’t mean you lived a lie or you stopped loving. It means you were not smart enough to spot the problem and fix it while there was still time. Couples often have different love languages. That’s why they fall in love in the first place. To make it work, both must commit to getting to know one another and learn each other’s main love languages.
Here is a summary of the 5 love languages to help you with your relationships:
|Love Language||The Worst You Can Do||The Best You Can Do|
“Being there” is paramount, quality conversations, quality activities
|– Not actively listening|
– Engage in distractions
– Postpone dates
|– Make eye contact|
– Put the technology aside
– Share an Experience/Activity
Physical touch and accessibility bring safety, security, and reassurance
– Abuse of any kind
|– Cuddles & Kisses |
– Play with their hair
– Be nearby
|Acts of Service|
Actions speak more than words
|– Being lazy|
– Break commitments
– Giving them more work
|– Help them proactively|
– Do things for them
– Fix things around the house
|Words of Affirmation|
Words speak more than actions
|– Say “I love you”|
– Send loving text messages
– Make compliments
|Receiving Gifts |
The perfect gift or gesture means being seen and remembered
|– Miss birthdays or important celebrations|
– Thoughtless gifts
|– Give them a “Recuerdo” from a special occasion|
– Bring them their favorite treat
– Offer them a trip
Ever thought of consulting a Wellbeing Life Coach? Know more about it here.
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