What Language do YOU speak?

Love - it's something that we search for all our lives. It's the greatest commandment in scripture. It's a void we all need filled. It's can also be the most confusing, baffling, misunderstood emotion we have!

We all know that there are different kinds of love. Love for a child, love for your parents, love for a friend, love for God, the love God has for US, and then, the one we probably think about most often, romantic love.

Today I want to talk about romantic love. This will probably turn into a string of posts with different areas of focus, but today I want to talk about the concept of Love Languages. Several years ago I was handed the book The 5 Love Languages, written by Gary Chapman. After understanding this concept, my view of relational dynamics has permanently changed!

The idea is pretty simple. Every person has a specific way of understanding, processing, and receiving love which makes them feel the most satisfied. Everyone has a "Love Tank" so to speak that needs to be filled. The book covers 5 main ways that people feel loved:

1) Acts of Service
2) Receiving of Gifts
3) Quality Time
4)Physical Touch
5)Words of Affirmation

I'll give you just a few examples of what each love language could be.

Acts of Service: can be cleaning the house, doing the dishes, washing their car etc....something to help the other person in their life routine. I'm sure you think of a few people right now that this is their main love language - lots of Moms in particular... :)

Receiving of Gifts: Admitting to this love language can make you feel selfish, until you understand it more fully. It doesn't need to be a present, or anything expensive. People who primarily respond to this love language enjoy it most because it says their partner was thinking about them while away. It could be a flower, a card, a written sticky note etc....

Quality Time: This is pretty obvious - spending time with your partner in communication, sitting on the couch, doing activities together....most time spent together fills their "love tank"

Physical Touch: Massaging feet, holding hands, giving hugs and kisses - all these can make someone whose primary love language is physical touch, feel loved.

Words of Affirmation: Words of encouragement, and communicating your feelings for this person in written or verbal form is important to let them know how much you love them!

Now you might be thinking, "All these things make me feel loved!" That's true! Most people need all of these things at some point, but generally there is one or two that stand out as our "primary and secondary" love languages!

When it comes to choosing the right person to date or marry, it's important to know what their love languages are! I go a little bit further than the book does because I believe we have both input and output love languages. Often, they may be the same because it's easy for us to express love in the same way we like to receive it. It just seems natural to show someone else how much you love them in the way that you think it would mean the most to you. Occasionally, it may be easier for you to demonstrate love in a completely different way, and it's good to identify these things in yourself and your partner so that you know that your inputs and outputs work together.

Something to think about - just knowing your partners love language doesn't necessarily mean your problems are solved and you can automatically fill their love tank. If their input love language is a difficult output for you, this can be very hard long term. For example: I dated someone whose primary love language was Acts of Service. Acts of Service is difficult for me to provide. I'm very busy, I'm not the most organized person, and it's not my default love output. I love to verbally affirm, to hug, to spend time with people etc....I could do those things all day long and someone who needs Acts of Service to feel deeply loved, will just not feel satisfied!

I challenge you to read the book. Even if you don't read it, skim it. If you can't skim it, take the basic concepts I've shared with you and see how they apply in your life. Think about your Mom - what makes her feel loved? Your children? Your siblings? Everyone in your life can benefit from you taking the time to understand what makes them feel loved. Once you understand the people around you, you can tailor gifts, words, the time you spend with them to be more effective.

There are great rewards from applying this to your life. The value of investing in those around you is immeasurable, and the return you almost always receive from them is deeply fulfilling. It has changed my perspective permanently! Give it a try!