In 1995, Gary Chapman published a book called ‘The 5 love languages: the secret to a love that lasts’. In his book he wrote that we each have one primary and one secondary love language and that we tend to demonstrate our love in the way we would like to receive it. In other words, if we feel loved when we get presents we’re most likely to show people our love through buying gifts for them.
The five love languages, according to Chapman are:
- Gift giving
- Self explanatory – these people feel most loved when they’re given a gift.
- Quality time
- These people feel most loved when they have your undivided attention.
- Words of affirmation
- These people like to hear words which tell your feelings for them.
- Physical touch
- To these people, nothing shows love more than being held/kissed etc – a physical display of love.
- Acts of service/devotion
- These people need displays of love through actions that show how important they are to you.
Ideally, you’d speak the same language but this isn’t always going to happen. Imagine if you were dating someone who was a different nationality to you and you didn’t share a language. How would you communicate? In the same way (although less extreme) if you don’t understand love languages, you can end up being unable to communicate or understand love with the other person. You could end up buying them gifts all day long, but they’d only truly feel loved if you gave them your undivided attention for a while. They wouldn’t feel the love that you were trying to communicate because they don’t speak your language.
In my mind, there’s a couple of ways around this. The first is knowing what language the other person speaks (and which language you do). There’s a quiz for this online (Click here) which is quick and actually quite enjoyable. My top 2 were ‘quality time’ and ‘words of affirmation’, just in case you want to show me some love. You can probably also figure this out through watching them or having a chat about it, however you find it out it’s important to know how they understand love. Once you know what language the other person speaks, you’ll be able to understand when they show you love in a different way to what you’d prefer. Next time you get bought a gift, you’ll understand that that’s the way they show love and therefore will hear their message – I love you.
Another way to cross this language barrier is to learn their language. If they’re not understanding that you love them through your doing the washing up maybe try speaking in a language they do understand. If one of their love languages is physical touch, why not go and give them a cuddle. Or if they speak in affirmations simply say to them ‘I love you’. Message received… problem solved. It may not be the easiest thing for you to speak another language, but it will definitely be worth it if you want to build any kind of relationship.