Sunday, October 9, 2011

Love Languages

According to Gary Chapman (The Five Love Languages The secret to love that lasts), there are five ways that humans communicate love for each other.  Much like spoken language these five love languages can sometimes get "lost in translation."  While we all have the ability to understand each language and many of us are "multi-lingual" in this area, most of us favour one language over another.  Our most fluent love language is formed by our upbringing, genes, past relationships and life experiences.   Chapman asserts that if we are to be effective in our relationships we need to know each of the five love languages and discern the language we are fluent in, as well as, the language of our partners.  Chapman has written a series of books applying this theory to almost every relationship definition: teachers, students, colleagues, parents, children, leaders.  

You are probably wondering why I am telling you this....

Gift giving is one of the love languages.  However, if giving a gift is for the purpose of communicating love, perhaps we need to consider a different language.  So, below is a crash course in the five love languages.  There is also a link to more info on Gary Chapman and his books if you are interested to learn more.   

The Five Love Languages in no particular order and simply defined: 

1. Gifts: a material gift (possibly as a result of sacrifice) shows love or appreciation.  It is reflected in our society as we give gifts to celebrate most special occasions.  However the material cost does not indicate the degree of love.  It is the thought and existence of the gift that counts. 

2. Acts of Service: by doing something to serve your partner (or child or friend) you can show them love.  For example, cook a meal, help out with housework, run an errand.  Put very simply, take their load and allow them to rest. The key to this language is performance of the act without being asked... a good deed of sorts.  

3. Words of Affirmation: showing love through your words.  Saying: please, thank you, I love you: are just the main ones.  The words need to be sincere and are better if they provide encouragement.  

4. Physical Touch: self explanatory? not really.  Married couples often interpret this as "SEX."  This is important in a married relationship but it is not the only way of showing love through touch and marriage is not the only relationship definition.  Holding hands, a pat on the back, a hug, a massage, a high five, even a friendly punch on the arm can be a way of reaching out to say I love you.   

5. Quality Time: an interesting language.  Quality time is uninterrupted (as much as it is within our control), undivided attention to each other.  This does not mean looking longingly into each others eyes.  It means, talking, playing a game, laughing together or enjoying a shared experience.  Notice it is not quantity time, but quality time.  A five minute phone call can provide quality time for a relationship if that is the only possibility.  

WOW.. that is much more than I planned on saying.  So... be continued...