Speaking Love

A friend of mine recently posted a quick summary of the Five Love Languages (see the bottom of the page) that got me thinking again. For those unfamiliar with them, the “five love languages” are the five ways that we each express and experience love. It was developed by Dr. Gary Chapman, a pastor in North Carolina.

I first read the book (creatively titled, “The Five Love Languages”) years ago and, despite a bunch of unnecessary religious stuff, found it very valuable. It really helped me to think about how I express love and how I prefer to receive it. I was able to more clearly communicate with my partner to make sure both of our desires were met. It is so common for relationships to involve a level of miscommunication because those involved speak a different love language.

I have two primary love languages that I think shift slightly in importance depending on the person or circumstances.  I tend to interpret “Words of Affirmation” as a sign that someone loves me or cares for my well-being. Hearing that someone loves me or that they appreciate me or value my writing means the world to me. I also really value “Physical Touch”.  When I love someone I tend to want to hug them, hold hands, and curl up with them on the couch. This goes for friendships as well and I think it is a shame that there isn’t more hugging, kissing, cuddling, hand-holding, and physical touch in non-romantic relationships (but that is probably a different blog post).

I’m pretty neutral on two of the love languages (“Quality Time” and “Acts of Service”) but one love language actually makes me feel uncomfortable usually. “Receiving Gifts” makes me feel awkward. I am TERRIBLE at both receiving and giving gifts. I feel uncomfortable, guilty, and self-conscious. I know logically it is an act of love from friends but it ties my insides up in knots.

So, if you are interested in figuring out your love language I highly recommend taking the little quiz at this website (it is in PDF form as well if you don’t want to hand over your email address) and try to get your partner and friends to do it as well. It can really open up communication and increase your understanding of each other. And if you know how other people receive the love you can speak their language and be a better partner/friend/parent to them.

The Love Languages:

Words of Affirmation – Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important – hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.

Quality Time – In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really there – with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all the chores or tasks on standby – makes them feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.

Receiving Gifts – 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.

Acts of Service – Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Act of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.

Physical Touch – This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, playing with hair (my favorite), and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face – they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.

 

Wanna stay in touch? Got a question for me? Want to tell me why I’m wrong and are curious how I got everything so backward? Have an idea for a blog post? Drunk and wanna send me a snapchat? Wanna become penpals and send each other letters in the mail about life in general?

Feel free to reach out at any of the ways below while I take a Facebook break!

Email address: pjneiger@gmail.com
Instagram: @peterneiger
Questions:  pneiger.sarahah.com or www.surveymonkey.com/r/XYRDXHH
Snapchat: @pneiger
Also, I wrote a book about a cross-country bicycle ride I did!
“Wandering Oak: A Rite of Passage”

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