I remember flipping through channels around 3 a.m. on a weeknight in high school knowing nothing was good on TV. As I scrolled through the multiple channels playing George Lopez and The Nanny re-runs, I came across a talk show that had been aired the day before. It was a couple talking about a term called "Love Languages." I was curious as to what that meant, so I listened in.
The 5 languages are Acts of Service, Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Receiving Gifts, and Physical Touch. Each one has specific characteristics that separate it from the other.
Acts of Service consist of running errands for someone, vacuuming for them, and helping them complete a task. Speakers of this language enjoy someone being selfless enough to physically assist them and really dislike broken commitments or laziness.
Quality Time is all about undivided attention. This type of person loves nothing more than someone who can listen to them and put down their phone for a good conversation. If there is anything that makes them sad, it is distractions, failure to listen to them, and constantly pushing back plans.
Words of Affirmation requires a kind heart and thoughtful expression. People who enjoy words of affirmation need someone to tell them how much they love and appreciate them. Nothing makes their day more than to hear how proud you are of them and telling them why will have them on cloud 9. Speakers of this language hold tight onto what others say about them and can be discouraged easily by hurtful statements.
Receiving Gifts is not only about getting gifts from your loved ones but the ideas behind the gifts. If this person can see the love and thought that has gone into the present, they will cherish it. Missing anniversaries or birthdays is upsetting to them because it makes them think that they haven't crossed your mind.
Physical touch entails hugs, pats on the back, grabbing someone's arm and everything in between. It shows care, love, concern, and protection. Like most people, no matter what Love Language they speak, this group finds abuse to be unforgivable and a sign of betrayal.
Just because you enjoy giving/receiving love in one language, doesn't mean everyone else does too.
When I look at the Love Languages Website and took the quiz, it allowed me to recognize that my top two languages I enjoy the most are Acts of Service and Quality Time. Nothing is better to me than spending hours with someone I love and helping them out as much as I can. That makes my heart happy and that's how I show my love. But I came to realize that sometimes you don't get what you give. It doesn't mean that the person you love doesn't love you back, it just means they express their love in other ways. For example, my boyfriend loves Words of Affirmation. I could tell him I love him every second of every day for the rest of my life and he will be through the roof. Nothing makes him more at peace than people telling him how much they appreciate his help and how proud they are of him for accomplishing his goals. So as we caught onto each other's languages a couple years ago, nothing has been the same. We are more responsive to the other's feelings with exactly what they need and go out of our way to show the other the love they want and deserve.
You can never say "I love you" too much.
These love languages work in romantic relationships, but they also work in family and friend relationships as well. Each one of my friends needs a different kind of love and as I learn more about them, I know exactly what is the most effective way to make them feel love. It is so important to put forth that extra effort of knowing what things they enjoy and what things they can't stand. It leads to a healthier, happier friendship with both people feeling secure and respected.
Applying these principles is easier than you think.
When it comes to figuring out your Love Language as well as those around you, not only can you take the test but you can use some of your natural detective skills. Do your friends constantly need reassurance about their cute outfit? Do you find your sister fishing for compliments on occasion? Then throw out those Words of Affirmation more often and see how much happier your days are together. It is all about paying attention to the little things and getting to know others on a deeper level. Spending that little amount of time learning about their happiness can make a world of a difference. Remember: just because someone doesn't love you the way you love others, doesn't mean that they don't care about you too. Embrace your languages and become fluent within them, there is nothing more important in today's world than spreading the love.