If there is one piece of advice I can give you on your journey to self improvement it’s this. Learn about love languages. I found them a few years back and they have been rather influential. They’ve provided insight into myself and into my relationships (romantic, platonic and familial).
Learning my love language has helped me express how I need to feel love. Which in turns allows the other person (whomever it may be) can better understand when I’m expressing love. They can understand when I’m using my love language and think “oh hey, they’re showing me love” ultimately making them feel the love as it was intended! No messy miscommunication or unmet expectations.
There’s a secondary benefit. Sometimes when I write I love to embody the cheesy personalities of infomercial personalities such as the legendary Billy Mays and Vince Offer. Can you hear their enthusiastic selling now?! BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE! Heh. Okay so secondary benefit. Not only will they be able to understand your love language but with effort they can express love in the way YOU need it. They can learn how to express love in ways you appreciate, that you understand and desire.
What exactly are the Love Languages?
The Love Languages were created by Gary Chapman, they are simply put, the way we communicate love. According to Dr. Chapman there are 5 love languages: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. Each one has their own special way of sharing love. They kind of are obvious by reading their names but! I won’t lead you awry my dears.
Words of Affirmation: individuals with this love language express their love through words. Things like writing letters, expressing their feelings vocally, and complimenting.
Acts of Service: doing chores or a task for others is the essence of this Love Language.
Receiving Gifts: in the words of the wise, “diamonds are a girl's best friend!”
Quality Time: when your down time together or sharing a hobby means the world to you.
Physical Touch: you know that spark you feel of a first kiss? For some that never dulls.
How to Find Out Your Love Language
A test. Taken here:
It’s really, really, really, easy to follow. But I will mention the questions at times can be hard to choose. It’s an either or choice kind of quiz. Only two options with no way to explain yourself, so if you’re an overthinking, word lover affectionate person like me you may have a hard time deciding which is “more like you”.
I completed my quiz years ago, but thought I’d experiment and see if anything changed. I took the “Couples” Quiz and completed it in about 10 minutes or so. Turns out, things do change. I used to be a strong “Words of Affirmation”. This time it’s second place to “Receiving Gifts”. The psychological nerd I am, is curious as to why this would change. Hm. I must sit on that for a while... aha! It may have something to do with saturation and deprivation.
Here’s my Love Language breakdown:
32% Receiving Gifts
29% Words of Affirmation 19% Acts of Service
10% Quality Time
10% Physical Touch
I like that the results are percentage based, because I believe we all give and receive love differently for different situations, and thus there must be some of the other love languages involved. We are not solely just one type. We are human.
Now What Do You Do With It?
Now you watch and pay attention to the love languages in your close knit group of people. How do you express your love? How do you like to be loved? Once you know you can share with your partner, you can openly communicate about your needs and wants. All the while being able to share to them how you love them, what are your ways showing your appreciation for them. So they too can pick up on what you’re putting down, what you’re showing them. Making one big cycle between the two of you. They feel loved, you give love, they give love and you feel loved. Making everyone feel heard, understood and well loved!
That’s the first step for couples. Dr. Chapman has grown and expanded his collection of books and references to teens, single individuals and children. Once you know your love languages you can assess what they are in your family and friends and open the same kind of communication. Expressing and sharing what you need leads to stronger intimacy and stronger relationships as a result.
So go, have fun, communicate and spread your love! And don't forget to tell me your stories in the comments below!