Years ago, at a Christian Women’s Retreat up in picturesque Muskoka, I learned which love language I have.
The retreat offered many workshops to choose from and I opted to attend one on making marriages work. What I learned changed my relationship with my hubby.
The workshop was based on the book, *The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.
The five love languages are five different ways of expressing and receiving love:
- words of affirmation
- quality time
- receiving gifts
- acts of service
- physical touch
The premise is that each of us has two main love languages — one to express love and one to receive love. If I express love to my hubby in one way yet he receives it in a different way he may not feel the love I intended.
Once you understand your love language and those of others it can help foster healthy relationships.
I learned that my hubby receives love in the form of words of affirmation. In the past, I may have just given him a hug and said, “Thanks”.
But now I deliberately tell him how much I appreciate him. In addition to giving him a hug, I say things like, “Thanks for cleaning my car headlights. I can see much better at night now.”
He likes to show his love in acts of service. He does things for me like cleaning the headlights of my car. I realize now that when he fills up the windshield washer fluid or cleans the coffee maker, or updates my phone plan he is saying he loves me.
I also learned that I both show love and receive love in the same way; in the form of gifts.
For my 50th birthday, my work colleagues baked me a cake with a picture of a lighthouse on it. They knew my affinity for nautical things and showed me love by decorating my office with blue banners and giving me an ocean-themed picture frame.
It now made sense to me why I like to shop for others. I like to find the perfect gift that I know they will appreciate. It’s my way of showing love to friends and family.
It also clarified why I become despondent when I receive a gift I perceive as lacking in real thought and consideration.
One Christmas, I received a box of chocolates with brandy liquor inside. Not something I have ever expressed a desire or liking for. Obviously, this person did not put any thought, or love, into the gift. I “regifted” to someone I knew would love them.
My mom loves it when we spend time together as a family. Quality time is her love language. One of her favourite memories is when all four of her children, along with their spouses and kids, rented a home to spend the weekend together.
Mom doesn’t care about receiving a gift for her birthday or Mother’s Day, but she does care if you don’t visit.
Physical touch was one love language that the pandemic made unavailable to many. Social distancing, elbow bumps, and self-quarantines made it impossible to receive love in this manner.
When one love language is impeded, it’s important to learn another.
You can receive love in all these five ways, but it’s important to know which love language is your primary. Otherwise, it could lead to misunderstandings and hurt feelings. A partner may love us but they are showing us in a different language.
What is your love language?
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