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Love languages

in Life Lessons, Romance

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Photo by juemarcio on

In 1995 author Gary Chapman wrote a book called The Five Love Languages. It took root first in Christian circles and then found its way across the religious walls. It has now become a profitable book empire with editions dedicated to military, kids, men, teens, and children.

Unfortunately, I think the good-hearted books often do more harm than good.

Love Language basics

Chapman says there are 5 ways that people usually receive love:  gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, and physical touch. Some people may prefer several ways, but there are usually dominate personal preferences. He takes the readers through ways of discovering what their own Love Language is and explains that none of them are better than others. We are simply wired differently.

Chapman’s warning

Chapman warns that many people communicate love based on how they want to receive it themselves rather than communicating in the way their partner prefers. My Love Language is acts of service, for example. Because that’s how I receive love, my initial instinct is to express love that way as well. My cooking, cleaning, washing, folding, and grocery shopping seem to me to be a constant reminder to my husband that I love him. Unfortunately, acts of service is NOT his Love Language. My husband sees me doing a lot of great stuff, but that doesn’t translate to “I love you.” What we have to do is figure out what our partner’s Love Language is and learn to work with that.

Love Language abuse

From my experience, Chapman is right on with his warning. I see another trend though that also concerns me. I hear a lot of couples using Love Languages against their partner. Things like “You know my Love Language, why aren’t you using it?” or “You know that physical touch doesn’t do it for me, so why are you still doing that?” scream of a problem to me.

The Love Languages are a tool to help couples better understand each other, but they aren’t the magic bean that makes everything perfect. Once you know your partner’s Love Language, both people still have to work at employing those into day-to-day life.

My Love Language theory

I think a lot of women have missed the boat on Love Languages. To me, if your partner has taken the time to learn your Love Language, that in itself is proof that he loves you. I’m sure that part of that theory is because I’m so “acts of service” driven, but think about it. If he takes the time to learn your Love Language but he doesn’t use it often enough (from your perspective) cut the man some slack. If you don’t, why would he ever follow you down one of these roads to discovery again? If you hold his new-found knowledge against him, he gains nothing by trying to learn more.

Instead, consider diving into HIS Love Language more often. Start with weekly installments into his Love Language bank and then aim for daily. When you start giving love in the way that he best receives it, he is much more likely to return the favor. Sweet will get you a whole lot further than nagging.

Your turn

Have you read the Love Languages books? Were you surprised by where you landed on the language spectrum?

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