Love Languages

My primary language is English. This makes it easy for me to communicate with those who also speak my native language, rather than Spanish or French, which I know a little here and there. And since I know absolutely nothing in Dutch or Mandarin, I have no idea how to talk to people who can speak those languages fluently instead of my own.

The same thing goes for love languages. So long as we don’t know the way a person speaks and understands love, we will not be able to communicate with them in the best way possible. Unless you can read minds. (And if you can, teach me your ways.)

There are five love languages in total: words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, gifts, and physical touch. If you don’t know which is yours, and are curious to find out, you can take the online quiz here. If you would rather print out the quiz, you can also do that:

That’s right: whether you are single or taken is put into account. (Just kidding; they just word the questions differently, depending on your relationship status.)

When I first took the quiz back in April, I found that my most dominant love language is Quality Time, with a total of nine points. Acts of Service closely followed that with seven points, and the others with even less:

  • Quality Time – 9
  • Acts of Service – 7
  • Receiving Gifts – 5
  • Words of Affirmation – 5
  • Physical Touch – 4

When your results come up online, you are given some paragraphs explaining each language, in order of dominance. Here is what each will tell you, in my order:

qualityIn 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 you feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed activities, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. Whether itʼs spending uninterrupted time talking with someone else or doing activities together, you deepen your connection with others through sharing time.

acts of serviceCan helping with homework 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 wants 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. When others serve you out of love (and not obligation), you feel truly valued and loved.

giftsDon’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 or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures. Gifts are heartfelt symbols to you of someone else’s love and affection for you.

affirmationActions 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. You thrive on hearing kind and encouraging words that build you up.

touchA person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, and thoughtful touches on the arm—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. Appropriate and timely touches communicate warmth, safety, and love to you.

Personally, I think that the order in which each language came in sounds about right. The website even says that these definitions only scratch the surface, so you can possibly be overlooking what they are trying to tell you.

I appreciate spending time with those I love more than hearing them tell me that they love me, but I could have told you that without taking this quiz. But the quiz did, in fact, verify my thoughts. I also foresaw that physical touch was going to come in last, because as much as I love hugs, I prefer long-lasting hugs that happen every once in a while, instead of all the time. And I’m not really a fan of PDA or cuddling, as weird as that sounds.

Note: Just like verbal languages, we give what we know. I speak English, so unless if I am notified, I would expect someone to speak that language back to me. I enjoy quality time, so I give just that. I don’t enjoy physical touch, so it’s not very often when you see me locking arms with anyone. Debbie down the block consistently gives people little gifts because she loves it when others give her a little something. Everybody does this, whether they realize it or not. It isn’t an odd thing to do; it just happens because it’s what we know. Just like how people assume that everyone speaks English in America, they also assume that because they show their love through doing nice things for the people they love, that those people will return the favor.

Which, obviously, isn’t always the case.

In a way, I feel like when we do these things, it is our subconscious mind telling others, “I am showing you that this is what I want.” In another way, I think it’s what we do because we haven’t learned enough about the love languages. It’s not like the SATs, where everybody takes it. Before Dr. Gary Chapman wrote this book to inform as many people as possible, we had to learn how people speak and understand love on our own.

And a lot of people aren’t very good at doing that kind of thing on their own. They can’t pick up cues, or pay close enough attention to really understand what it is that others want and need in order to really feel loved. Some people need it spelt out for them.

But then again, some of us are kind of bad at showing others what we want. For example, I really enjoy Me Time, so it probably doesn’t look like it to others, but I do love spending time with family and friends. But I also like to have undivided attention, so I get easily annoyed/bored when the people I want to spend time with keep looking at their phones. So, sometimes, we could be hard to understand.

Regardless, I think that learning the love languages is really important. If we knew how the people we love needed to be loved, we can ultimately help our relationships become stronger and grow—instead of die out, because we don’t understand each other. Dr. Chapman’s book has apparently helped over 15 million people improve their relationships, so why not let that number grow?

 

 


Prompt: Explain love languages. What’s your love language? Does it make sense to you? Talk about it.

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