Has there ever been a book that has made a huge impact in your life?
First, let me say that there have been a few books that have impacted me and my relationships (How to Win Friends and Influence People, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, The Secret, Personality Plus to name a few), but I will tell you about one book that has really impacted me and my relationships and it is The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.
This book explains that people have different love languages. It helps you to explore how the people in your life give and receive love. It also explores how you receive love and what makes you feel loved, how your love tank gets refueled and how to refuel the tanks of those you love. Dr Gary Chapman explains that it is easy to feel unloved (even when you are very much loved) because you aren’t receiving love the way you want to….. what could be happening is that the other person is giving love based on their OWN love language. The good news is that it is just like learning anything new, practice makes perfect and you will indeed learn this new language that will enhance all your relationships moving forward.
The 5 Love Languages:
Words of Affirmation – The book talks about the power of your words, it also states that many couples have never learned the tremendous power of verbally affirming each other. Verbal compliments are powerful communicators of love, emotional support or encouragement. Mark Twain once said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” Good for Mark Twain, but there are not too many husbands and wives who can survive on six compliments a year. If this is your love language, you feel most cared for when your partner or loved ones are open, encouraging and expressive in telling you what you do that they appreciate, how amazing they think you are, how much they appreciate you, etc. Encouraging words can go a long way, even if that isn’t your love language. Speaking from a place of kindness and sincerity will help those words to be received in the manner from which we mean them. Sometimes our words are saying one thing, but our tone of voice is saying another. People will usually interpret our message based on our tone of voice, not the words we use. http://www.5lovelanguages.com/faqs/love-languages/
Acts of Service – If your partner offers to do the dishes so you can take a load off or if someone offers to take on the kids so you can go swimming a couple of times a week (or relieving you of some other task) if that gets your heart going and fills up your tank, then this is your love language. You’ve heard the saying “actions speak louder than words”, this is the mantra for people who have Acts of Service as one of their love languages. The 5 Love Languages remind you that Acts of Service isn’t about being someone’s maid or slave. Dr Chapman reminds us that when we treat our spouses as slaves, we remove the possibility of love because we remove their freedom. “If you were a good spouse, you would do this for me” is not the language of love. “You will do this, or you’ll be sorry” is manipulation, not love. One sure fire way to defeat the joy of doing things for someone is by nagging. In regard to nagging, my husband and I came up with this little reminder: Once is asking, twice is a reminder and the third time asking something to be done is nagging. I don’t always remember that, because my thinking is if I wanted you to do something later, I would ask later so when I ask for something to be done, I generally want it done now however, I am working on changing my way of thinking around that. I’m over 50 years old and I still need to be reminded that everything doesn’t need to happen on my time frame and I know that when I get into nagging, I am certainly not talking my husband or kids love language (if this is their language at all). If acts of service are to be acts of love, they need to be given freely and without conditions. Requests give direction to love, but demands stop the flow of love. That is powerful in my opinion. Sometimes, it’s hard to not take advantage of someone who does things for you – it can creep up on you slowly and is something to be aware of if this is your love language. http://www.5lovelanguages.com/2009/02/acts-of-service/
Physical Touch – This love language is just as it sounds. Holding hands, kissing, hugging, back rubs, or an arm around the shoulder are all ways of expressing love by physical touch. If these things make you feel most loved then this is your love language. For me, this was a hard one because I didn’t grow up in an overly affectionate environment, but my husband did. We hugged each other, patted each other’s backs when we “done good”, but it wasn’t like we lived for the hugs and kisses that other families did. But I did learn to speak this love language. If I can do it, you can do it! If you have a loved one who’s love language is Physical Touch, remember that your words may mean little, but your physical touch will communicate that you care. A hug is worth more than a thousand words! http://www.5lovelanguages.com/2009/03/speaking-love-through-physical-touch/
Quality Time – This love language is about being together, fully present and engaged in the activity at hand, no matter how trivial it may seem. It’s giving someone your undivided attention. One of the most important aspects of Quality Time is quality conversation. Quality conversation entails sympathetic dialogue where two people are sharing their experiences, their thoughts, their feelings, and their desires in a friendly, uninterrupted context. Here are some tips on how to have a quality conversation with people:
- Maintain eye contact when someone is talking to you.
- Don’t listen to your loved one and do something else at the same time.
- Listen for feelings. Ask yourself, “What emotion is this person experiencing?”
- Refuse to interrupt. Such interruptions indicate, “I don’t care what you are saying; listen to me.”
Receiving Gifts – Everybody loves a gift. You know that feeling when you receive a gift that is personalized for you? A gift tells you that someone is thinking about you. For some people, the giving and the receiving of gifts is a primary way of communicating love, affection, and appreciation, but don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous – so would the absence of everyday gestures. Gifts are visual representations of love and are treasured greatly.
Here are a few points to note about gifts in the spirit of The 5 Love Languages, courtesy of Stellar Coaching and Consulting (https://www.stellarcc.com/2012/07/02/love-languages-part-three-do-you-know-how-to-give-gifts/)
- Cost is irrelevant. Gift-giving, particularly within the context of love languages is not about how much one does or doesn’t spend. Gift giving is about showing that you care, showing that you’re thinking of someone.
- Gifts can include those that are purchased, found or made.
- For those whose primary love language is “gifts”, gifts say more than “I love you” – they say “I see our relationship as worthy of this investment”.
- The gift of “self” is a legitimate gift – this can feel a little like quality time, and it’s still a gift – particularly during difficult or challenging times, like times of crisis or illness.
If gift-giving is not your primary love language, learn it. Just remember that gifts are a vital expression of love, especially for those who have this as their primary love language.
My love language has changed and evolved over the years. When I was first married, it was all about words of affirmation and physical touch but as I have gotten older, I tend to lean towards Quality Time and Acts of Service (but I do still love receiving a gift now and then!) Pick up the book today, you never know, it just may take your relationships to a whole new level!