Most couples (mostly married) fight every day, not because they don’t or didn’t love each other. If you were to take them to a polygraph (lie dictator), you will find out that they honestly do love their spouse. Now the question is if they but love their spouse, why didn’t their spouse feel the love? The answer is simple but not easy. It’s because of THE 5 LOVE LANGUAGES.
The man who discovered the 5 languages of love is none other than Dr. Gary D. Chapman. He is a counselor who looked at the patterns of how married couples kept having issues even if they sincerely loved their partner and he then discovered the five languages of love.
I encourage those who love reading books to get a copy and read because he talked about other things outside the 5 languages which I won’t be writing about. Here is the link to the book. But for all those who wouldn’t find that necessary, I will be discussing at length all you need to know about the 5 languages, so please read to the end in other to get the full idea of the different languages of love.
The 5 Languages of Love (Simplified)
- Words of Affirmation
- Quality Time
- Receiving Gifts
- Acts of Service
- Physical touch
1. Words of Affirmation:
This in its simplest form means, using words to express one’s love for their spouse. Solomon in the bible had this love language, it can be seen in the book songs of Solomon where he constantly used words to express his love for a woman. There are a lot of people out there who express love emotionally by using words that build up. People in this category love verbal compliments or words of appreciation. The best way to show those in this category is by using words of love. Ok, let me give you a life example cited in the book.
“Several years ago, I was sitting in my office with my door open. A lady walking down the hall said, “Have you got a minute?” “Sure, come in.” She sat down and said, “Dr. Chapman, I’ve got a problem. I can’t get my husband to paint our bedroom. I have been after him for nine months. I have tried everything I know, and I can’t get him to paint it.” My first thought was, Lady, you are at the wrong place. I am not a paint contractor. But I said, “Tell me about it.” She said, “Well, last Saturday was a good example. You remember how pretty it was? Do you know what my husband did all day long? He washed and waxed the car.” “So what did you do?” “I went out there and said, ‘Bob, I don’t understand you. Today would have been a perfect day to paint the bedroom,
and here you are washing and waxing the car.’” “So did he paint the bedroom?” I inquired. “No. It’s still not painted. I don’t know what to do.” “Let me ask you a question,” I said. “Are you opposed to clean, waxed cars?” “No, but I want the bedroom painted.” “Are you certain that your husband knows that you want the bedroom painted?” “I know he does,” she said. “I have been after him for nine months.” “Let me ask you one more question. Does your husband ever do anything good?” “Like what?” “Oh, like taking the garbage out, or getting bugs off the windshield of the car you drive, or putting gas in the car, or paying the electric bill, or hanging up his coat?” “Yes,” she said, “he does some of those things.” “Then I have two suggestions. One, don’t ever mention painting the bedroom again.” I repeated, “Don’t ever mention it again.” “I don’t see how that’s going to help,” she said.
The object of love is not getting something you want but doing something for the well-being of the one you love. It is a fact, however, that when we receive affirming words we are far more likely to be motivated to reciprocate.
“Look, you just told me that he knows that you want the bedroom painted. You don’t have to tell him anymore. He already knows. The second suggestion I have is that the next time your husband does anything good, give him a verbal compliment. If he takes the garbage out, say, ‘Bob, I want you to know that I really appreciate your taking the garbage out.’ Don’t say, ‘About time you took the garbage out. The flies were going to carry it out for you.’ If you see him paying the electric bill, put your hand on his shoulder and say, ‘Bob, I really appreciate your paying the electric bill. I hear there are husbands who don’t do that, and I want you to know how much I appreciate it.’ Every time he does anything good, give him a verbal compliment.” “I don’t see how that’s going to get the bedroom painted.” I said, “You asked for my advice. You have it. It’s free.” She wasn’t very happy with me when she left. Three weeks later, however, she came back to my office and said, “It worked!”.
You could see that her husband loves a compliment. Don’t get me wrong, I know everyone loves to be complimented but to some, it means more than it does to others. To those who have it as their primary language, they consistently want it, they always want you to tell them how much you love them. Without this, they wouldn’t feel like you love them, even if you are intimate with them or gives them lots of gifts or even do their laundry. If you do not communicate love to them first with their primary love language, every other thing you are doing wouldn’t really count.
There are several dialects under this language. Such as:
- Encouraging words
- Kind words
- Humble words Etc.
2. Quality time:
Quality time means giving someone your undivided attention. This is more than staying in one room with your spouse, it’s more than sitting down to watch television together. Its more about giving your spouse your undivided attention, no television, no work, no kids, just the two of you talking to each other with constant eye contact. Those with this language as their primary love language will always yearn for their spouse to periodically put everything on a pause and take time to stay with them because this is how they will feel you love them.
I have a personal experience with this language because this is the primary love language of my girlfriend, we have been dating for 3 years now as I write this and throughout this period it has been like our honeymoon period do not want to end, we have been wracking our heads looking for why our relationship is different when all around us, we see couples fall out of the honeymoon phase within the first six months. It was only when I read this book I realized why our honeymoon has lasted this long, it was because I have always been communicating love to her in her own primary love language, even though my love language was different.
She also had always been communicating she loves me in my primary love language, so that kept our love tank always full. That’s what happens when you learn to communicate “I Love You” to your partner in their primary love language.
There are several dialects under this language but I will mention two
- Quality Conversation
- Quality Activities
3. Receiving Gifts:
This is one of the commonly known language of love that even a child knows, every loves receiving gifts from their spouse, but not everyone has this as their primary love language. To help you understand this better I will cite a perfect example straight from the book.
I met Jim and Janice in Chicago. They attended my marriage seminar and agreed to take me to O’Hare Airport after the seminar on Saturday afternoon. We had two or three hours before my flight, and they asked if I would like to stop at a restaurant. I was famished, so I readily agreed. That afternoon, however, I got much more than a free meal. Jim and Janice both grew up on farms in central Illinois not more than a hundred miles from each other. They moved to Chicago shortly after their wedding. I was hearing their story fifteen years and three children later. Janice
began talking almost immediately after we sat down. She said, “Dr. Chapman, the reason we wanted to take you to the airport is so that we could tell you about our miracle.” Something about the word miracle always causes me to brace myself, especially if I don’t know the person who is using it. What bizarre story am I going to hear? I wondered, but I kept my thoughts to myself and gave Janice my undivided attention. I was about to be shocked. She said, “Dr. Chapman, God used you to perform a miracle in our marriage.” I felt guilty already. A moment ago, I was questioning her use of the term miracle, and now in her mind I was the vehicle of a miracle. Now I was listening even more intently. Janice continued, “Three years ago, we attended your marriage seminar here in Chicago for the first time. I was desperate,” she said. “I was thinking seriously of leaving Jim and had told him so. Our marriage had been empty for a long time. I had given up. For years, I had complained to Jim that I needed his love, but he never responded. I loved the children, and I knew they loved me, but I felt nothing coming from Jim. In fact, by that time, I hated him. He was a methodical person. He did everything by routine. He was as predictable as a clock, and no one could break into his routine. “For years,” she continued, “I tried to be a good wife. I cooked, I washed, I ironed, I cooked, I washed, I ironed. I did all the things I thought a good wife should do. I had sex with him because I knew that was important to him, but I felt no love coming from him. I felt like he stopped dating me
after we got married and simply took me for granted. I felt used and unappreciated. “When I talked to Jim about my feelings, he’d laugh at me and say we had as good a marriage as anybody else in the community. He didn’t understand why I was so unhappy. He would remind me that the bills were paid, that we had a nice house and a new car, that I was free to work or not work outside the home, and that I should be happy instead of complaining all the time. He didn’t even try to understand my feelings. I felt totally rejected. “Well, anyway,” she said as she moved her tea and leaned forward, “we came to your seminar three years ago. We had never been to a marriage seminar before. I did not know what to expect, and frankly I didn’t expect much. I didn’t think anybody could change Jim. During and after the seminar, Jim didn’t say too much. He seemed to like it. He said that you were funny, but he didn’t talk with me about any of the ideas in the seminar. I didn’t expect him to, and I didn’t ask him to. As I said, I had already given up by then. “As you know,” she said, “the seminar ended on Saturday afternoon. Saturday night and Sunday were pretty much as usual, but Monday afternoon, he came home from work and gave me a rose. ‘Where did you get that?’ I asked. ‘I bought it from a street vendor,’ he said. ‘I thought you deserved a rose.’ I started crying. ‘Oh, Jim, that is so sweet of you.’ “In my mind,” she said, “I knew he bought the rose from a Moonie. I had seen the young man selling roses that
afternoon, but it didn’t matter. The fact was, he had brought me a rose. On Tuesday he called me from the office at about one-thirty and asked me what I thought about his buying a pizza and bringing it home for dinner. He said he thought I might enjoy a break from cooking dinner. I told him I thought the idea was wonderful, and so he brought home a pizza and we had a fun time together. The children loved the pizza and thanked their father for bringing it. I actually gave him a hug and told him how much I enjoyed it. “When he came home on Wednesday, he brought each of the children a box of Cracker Jacks, and he had a small potted plant for me. He said he knew the rose would die, and he thought I might like something that would be around for a while. I was beginning to think I was hallucinating! I couldn’t believe what Jim was doing or why he was doing it. Thursday night after dinner, he handed me a card with a message about his not always being able to express his love to me but hoping that the card would communicate how much he cared. Again I cried, looked up at him, and could not resist hugging and kissing him. ‘Why don’t we get a baby-sitter on Saturday night and the two of us go out for dinner?’ he suggested. ‘That would be wonderful,’ I said. On Friday afternoon, he stopped by the cookie shop and bought each of us one of our favorite cookies. Again, he kept it as a surprise, telling us only that he had a treat for dessert. “By Saturday night,” she said, “I was in orbit. I had no idea what had come over Jim, or if it would last, but I was
enjoying every minute of it. After our dinner at the restaurant, I said to him, ‘Jim, you have to tell me what’s happening. I don’t understand.’” She looked at me intently and said, “Dr. Chapman, you have to understand. This man had never given me a flower since the day we got married. He never gave me a card for any occasion. He always said, ‘It’s a waste of money; you look at the card and throw it away.’ We’d been out to dinner one time in five years. He never bought the children anything and expected me to buy only the essentials. He had never brought a pizza home for dinner. He expected me to have dinner ready every night. I mean, this was a radical change in his behavior.” I turned to Jim and asked, “What did you say to her in the restaurant when she asked you what was going on?” “I told her that I had listened to your lecture on love languages at the seminar and that I realized that her love language was gifts. I also realized that I had not given her a gift in years, maybe not since we had been married. I remembered that when we were dating I used to bring her flowers and other small gifts, but after marriage I figured we couldn’t afford that. I told her that I had decided that I was going to try to get her a gift every day for one week and see if it made any difference in her. I had to admit that I had seen a pretty big difference in her attitude during the week. “I told her that I realized that what you said was really true and that learning the right love language was the key to helping another person feel loved. I said I was sorry that I
had been so dense for all those years and had failed to meet her need for love. I told her that I really loved her and that I appreciated all the things she did for me and the children. I told her that with God’s help, I was going to be a gift giver for the rest of my life. “She said, ‘But, Jim, you can’t go on buying me gifts every day for the rest of your life. You can’t afford that.’ ‘Well, maybe not every day,’ I said, ‘but at least once a week. That would be fifty-two more gifts per year than what you have received in the past five years.’ I continued, ‘And who said I was going to buy all of them? I might even make some of them, or I’ll take Dr. Chapman’s idea and pick a free flower from the front yard in the spring.’” Janice interrupted, “Dr. Chapman, I don’t think he has missed a single week in three years. He is like a new man. You wouldn’t believe how happy we have been. Our children call us lovebirds now. My tank is full and overflowing.” I turned to Jim and asked, “But what about you, Jim? Do you feel loved by Janice?” “Oh, I’ve always felt loved by her, Dr. Chapman. She is the best housekeeper in the world. She is an excellent cook. She keeps my clothes washed and ironed. She is wonderful about doing things for the children. I know she loves me.” He smiled and said, “Now, you know what my love language is, don’t you?”
Janice’s primary love language was receiving of gifts, not everyone feels that way over a gift, most don’t even value the gift given to them, they might have preferred for their spouse to spend more time with them or tell them how much they value them with words, instead of getting them a gift, that is because this isn’t their primary love language. Take note, I said earlier that everyone loves receiving gifts, that is because almost everyone has this as their secondary language.
There is one dialect of this language which is:
- The gift of self
4. Acts of Service:
Before we leave Jim and Janice, let’s reexamine Jim’s answer to my question, “Do you feel loved by Janice?” “Oh, I’ve always felt loved by her, Dr. Chapman. She is the best housekeeper in the world. She is an excellent cook. She keeps my clothes washed and ironed. She is wonderful about doing things with the children. I know she loves me.” Jim’s primary love language was what I call “acts of service.” By acts of service, I mean doing things you know your spouse would like you to do. You seek to please her by serving her, to express your love for her by doing things for her. When this is the primary language of a woman when the husbands start learning how to communicate love to her through this means, some culture will consider the man as a weak man, but it isn’t a weakness, it is actually a strength.
One thing that we must address in this language is, never take advantage of your partner who is trying to communicate “I Love You” in this language because when you do so, it’s a clear signal that you don’t love him or her anymore. Love doesn’t take advantage of people
“I have served him for twenty years. I have waited on him hand and foot. I have been his doormat while he ignored me, mistreated me, and humiliated me in front of my friends and family. I don’t hate him. I wish him no ill, but I resent him, and I no longer wish to live with him.” That wife has performed acts of service for twenty years, but they have not been expressions of love. They were done out of fear, guilt, and resentment.
5. Physical Touch:
As I am composing this particular love language, am currently smiling because I know a lot of people if not everyone loves being touched and the first thought that might cross your mind is, this is your love language, but before you jump in conclusion, let me cite a perfect example from the book, (Remember you can get a copy of the book here. or you can get the audio version for FREE here.
I remember the husband who said, “Dr. Chapman, my wife is a gourmet cook. She spends hours in the kitchen. She makes these elaborate meals. Me? I’m a meat and potatoes man. I tell her she is wasting her time. I like simple food. She gets hurt and says I don’t appreciate her. I do appreciate her. I just wish she would make it easy on herself and not spend so much time with the elaborate meals. Then we would have more time together, and she would have the energy to do some other things.” Obviously, “other things” were closer to his heart than fancy foods.
In the above example, the woman is trying to communicate her love through the language of Acts of Service, but that wasn’t the love language of her husband, I would also like to clarify that her cooking was not a bad thing, but when trying to show your spouse that you love them, first speak in their language before speaking in any other language. In her case, it meant she should have spent more time with her husband intimately than she spends in the kitchen.