I heard author Gary Chapman on the radio today, and it reminded me of a book he wrote years ago I found very useful. You may have heard of The Five Love Languages. The book recommends identifying your primary love language, and that of your spouse and children.
We all have a primary love language through which we feel most loved. Here are the five primary love languages:
1. Words of affirmation—compliments, praise, appreciation
2. Spending quality time together—while focusing all your energy on your partner
3. Receiving gifts—Inexpensive or valuable, it’s the thought that counts
4. Acts of service—help with chores, errands, childcare, etc.
5. Physical touch—from a simple hug to lovemaking
When your spouse or your children feel loved, they are more productive and happy, Chapman says. When they don’t feel loved, they may seek love in inappropriate ways.
I remember talking to my husband about his love language after reading the book, and I was surprised at his response. So, don’t take it for granted that you know your spouse so well you don’t need to ask. Find out how he or she feels most loved, and share the way you feel most loved. Frequently, couples have different styles. If your language is acts of service, and you frequently help your spouse in this way, you may feel you are very loving. On the other hand, if your loved one longs to have a night alone, he or she may not feel very loved.
The book of course provides more details into how to determine one’s love language and how to make your loved ones feel most loved. However, just having a conversation is a good first step. Remember that your actions may not have the same impact you intend. Knowing your loved ones’ primary love languages can make you a more effective parent and lover.
So, ask your partner tonight: What’s your love language?