Have you ever heard of a “love language?” Chances are you have, but in the event you haven’t lemme help you out real quick: A love language refers to the way you perceive & receive love. It’s different for most of us. There are 5 love languages that author Gary Chapman (yes it’s a book for you reader types) defines: acts of service, words of affirmation, physical touch, gifts, and quality time.
Weather you are one half of a couple or as single as a dollar bill – there is a lot of value in knowing how you receive love. Why? What does it do for you? Check it:
Love languages are used a lot in couples, for obvious reasons. If you have a boyfriend / manfriend (because calling someone a boyfriend when you’re over 30 is just kinda weird. It was for me anyway) or husband, you two should do it together. Love should be shown how they recieve it, not how you prefer it. The catch here is, of course, that you also should know theirs – and if their number 1 is “acts of service” and that’s your number 5 – it may be a struggle, but what an amazing way to show love – learning how to go outside of your norm to fill the person you care about. Go on a dinner date, take the test (simultaneously on each of your phones) and then share your results with each other. It’s an important topic for your relationship.
For myself & Andrew Isahaq, our love languages line up perfectly. Jesus really did us a solid on that one. Our first is Words of Affirmation and our last is Gifts. That is soooo helpful to know because, let me tell you, this man does not care about gifts. At all. And, instead of years of being frustrated and wasting energy because he didn’t like all the things I bought him for Christmas, he was able to communicate to me what things would actually mean something to him. It saves trouble (and coins). For myself, I do appreciate gifts, but I don’t need them. I’m not offended when someone doesn’t get me something for a birthday because more than likely not, receiving a gift never even crossed my mind. So when gift giving opportunities, like my birthday, come around it’s real easy: I send Mr. Isahaq an email of about 4 things I want (usually things I need) with the link included and he just clicks on one, purchase it, and then gives it to me. Easy. And we are able to give lavishly to each other in the way that matters – kind and thoughtful words that build the other up.
(Just fyi if you know us, this means we are both pretty terrible gift givers. We are not creative about it and routinely forget that other people like them…the Lord is working on us. Thank you for your patience.)
Before you even get to having a partner, you should know yourself. One of the greatest gifts you can give people is an understanding of how to love you. Somewhere along the lines, popular culture has taught us that people in our lives should “just know” how to make us happy. Because 99.9% of the population are not mind readers (and if someone claims to be one – probably run) they are just going to be taking shots in the dark and then dealing with your attitude when they miss the mark…nobody wants to do that. N o b o d y.
The better you know yourself, the better you can equip those around you – whether it be a romantic, platonic or business partnership – it can give others guidance as to how to appreciate you and when people feel truly valued it only helps the relationship and the output thereof.
Before I knew my love language – it was pretty easy for me to feel some kind of way about certain things. I didn’t understand that people made assumptions about how I did or did not like to receive praise based on the fact that I can be the quiet introvert type. They assume that I don’t want any public words of praise because I’ll be embarrassed. Now, while it is quite uncomfortable and I do get slightly sweaty and fairly awkward, I still appreciate the gesture.
I would feel unappreciated and unseen. Still do sometimes – but I am able to now discern that it could be because my love language isn’t being met in that particular situation – not that I am actually not appreciated. So I make sure I’m open to the ways that people may be showing their love, care or appreciation. And, chances are, it’s through their love language, not mine. It’s provided a lot of clarity and I’ve avoided a lot of hurt by taking this into consideration.
Perhaps you’ve had a birthday and someone you care about didn’t bring you a gift – all they did was write a post about how cool you are on social media. Big who cares, right? Now you’re upset because it seems like they didn’t take the time to be thoughtful. Is it possible that you’re expecting them to flow in your love language (gifts), but they are flowing in theirs (words of affirmation)? Perhaps, for them, putting together carefully crafted words for all to see is the height of showing consideration. I’m not saying that’s right or wrong, but at the very least before you decide to be offended you can take a moment and consider it’s not that they don’t care – they just care differently. There’s a learning curve with these things. They also may just be terrible at your love language and need some practice.
The test is Free.99 to take! (https://www.5lovelanguages.com) The book you’ll have to pay for (shrug). And no, I’m not getting a kickback – I just truly think it’s important.
Do you know your love language? How has knowing it helped you?