What are love languages? It is hard going to a foreign country if you don't speak the language. If you don't have an interpreter you feel lost, alone, helpless. Misunderstandings are easy. The same is true in love. There are five different love languages. If we are not speaking the same language confusion, frustration, and a disappointment in love relationships may occur. A person may even feel that the one they love is rejecting them when in reality they are only loving in a different language!
It is important to not only know your own love language, but also to know the love language of the person to whom you want to communicate love. It may be a spouse, a parent, a child, or someone else. Take time to learn their love language. A person should work on speaking all five love languages, but focusing on the language of the person receiving love is vital.
These love languages are not always verbal, but they are powerful emotional languages. They are the ways real love is given and received. You will discover that one of these following languages is your first [or native] language. It is the way you enjoy and communicate love the best. On the other hand, one will be your fifth or the language which means the least to you. The others fit somewhere in between. The same is true of your loved one. You can now see the misunderstandings which could take place if your #1 love language is your loved one's #5!
So what are these five love languages? And what do they mean?
1. Quality Time
For some people spending quality time with the one they love is the way they express love the best. They feel that by giving of their time to be with the other person they are saying "I Love You" in the strongest possible way. And the opposite is also true, when people take the time to spend quality time with them, they feel as if they are really being loved. If their loved one fails to spend the time with them they will feel neglected or rejected.
For others, helping their loved one is the way they communicate love the best. To them doing something to help the loved one is the greatest expression of love they have. A husband who cheerfully fixes things around the house because he knows it makes his wife happy is a love helper. A wife who goes out of her way to do things to make her husband's life easier is declaring her love in this special way.
3. Physical Closeness
For some, being near to their loved one brings that extra special sense of love. It includes hugs, holding hands, etc. but also just being in the same room - knowing the other person is near - is what is needed to give and receive love. The desire is to be near their loved one even if they are not talking or doing something together. It is just that closeness which says, "I love being with you".
Giving presents [other than on holidays, birthdays, and special occasions] is the way others express love. To them giving a simple, inexpensive, unexpected present says, "I was think of you today because I love you." To a young child it might be as simple as bringing home a chocolate bar, for a wife it might be a single rose or a card, anything however small is their way of saying "I love you."
5. Words of Encouragement
Last, but not least, is genuine, sincere encouragement and compliments. For some people just a kind word lifts their spirits. "You look gorgeous," "Thank you for taking such good care of garden," "It's wonderful the way you are so thoughtful and kind." And, they constantly speak works of encouragement to others. They receive their joy by building others up verbally.
How do you discover which is your native language? How do you know the order in which they go?
Think carefully over all five languages. Which one is the most important to you? Which one means the most when you receive it? Which one means the second most, etc? Also consider, which of the five is your favorite way to express love? Which means the least? As you answer these questions you will discover the order of importance these languages are to you.
Next think about each of your loved ones. How to you think they express their love? What do you think is their native language? And what is the order of importance of the other languages?
After you have written down your order of importance for yourself and for each of your loved ones, go to them [if they are adults or older children] and ask them to read this report and write down in order what they think the importance of the love languages is. Compare that to your list. Have you seen them the same way they see themselves?
Remember, when you go to give love to someone it is important to speak their native language, not yours. After all, you want them to understand that you love them. What means the most to them? Speak that language most often.
By now you can see the hurts and confusion that can come into relationships because of misunderstanding the love languages. For example, if a husband's native language is "presents" and his wife's native language is "quality time", think what could happen. The husband comes home from work gives his wife a rose with a romantic card and then goes and sits down in front of the TV. In his mind, he has expressed love for his wife. But, while she may appreciate the present, in the wife's mind she has not received love because he has not spent any quality time with her. On the other side of coin, the wife sits down and spends time with her husband thinking she is meeting his need for love, but he is wondering why she never shows her love with a card or small present.
Are you beginning to see how important it is understand and speak the other person's native love language? Some people are hurt and feel unloved [even when they are loved] because the person loving them hasn't learned to communicate that love in the way they understand and appreciate it most.
Lets take another example. If a son's native language is physical closeness and his father's native language is helper the stage is again set for misunderstandings. The father may build and do all sorts of things for his son trying to show his love, but inside the son is crying out, "Please let me be with you. How about a hug sometimes or a friendly wrestle? Don't you love me?"
Again let me stress that we should work on mastering all five love languages. But there are some that are going to mean more to us than others. When we were dating most of us didn't have too much trouble speaking all five languages. Somehow after we get married and things settled down we get lazy and slip back into speaking only one or two languages [if that]. Good relationships [with anyone or on any level] don't just happen. They take time and work. We need to work on the five languages of love and expressing the most appropriate ones to the people we love.
Now a special word about hugs. Even if a person's native language is not physical closeness, everyone needs a hug. From a mother a hug communicates comfort. A hug from a father gives a sense of security. Children, both male and female, need both kinds of hugs. Maybe you are not a "huggy" person - learn! It is a needed way of expressing love. Husbands and wives need hugs, too.
One final note: love notes are a fun and important way of communicating love. Hide notes around the house where the loved one will come unexpectedly upon it. Put a simple love note in a child's lunch box. This is especially important for fathers to do. Children are with their mother most of the time and know she loves them. Sometimes the father's love is in question. A simple "I love you, have a nice day, Love Dad" note means so much to many children. Think how you would have felt if your father had taken the time to express his love to you that way!
Expressing meaningful love takes time and work. Don't give up. Don't let the hurts and disappointments of life stop you. In a kind and gentle way, keep at it until you win the love and respect of your loved one.
The information in this report was inspired by the writings of Gary D. Chapman. To pursue this subject in greater depth consider one of his books below.