This is an old post, from 2016, with a few additions. The five languages of love are important tools in successful relationships so this post is worth repeating.
Recently I heard about “the five languages of love” so decided to research the theory.
What are the Languages of Love?
The thought process in the languages of love theory is that people vary in what they need from their partner to make them happy and content in a relationship. The five options or “languages” are listed as:
- words of affirmation
- acts of service
- receiving gifts
- quality time
- physical touch
How to Use the Languages of Love
Simply put, if you want to be in a successful relationship, you have to know what your partner’s love language is and make sure your partner knows what your love language is, especially if they differ. Since both people in a relationship can come from different upbringings, backgrounds, cultures, etc, their individual love languages will often be different. Acknowledging that your partner has a different love language than you do appears to be the first step towards a successful relationship.
I would imagine that some people are content with just one language of love while others need more than one. That’s where it might get tricky as your job in a successful relationship is to provide what your partner needs. Some people are needier than others and needs do change throughout life. Be aware of changing needs on both sides and be prepared to adjust accordingly. Frequent re-evaluation is highly recommended.
Do Your Homework
If you are not sure what your language of love is, ask yourself what makes you feel loved. What makes you feel unloved is important too.
Do your homework. Find out what your partner’s language of love is. Make sure they know what yours is. Be sure to ask them theirs and tell them yours so there is no room for misunderstanding. Do not assume you know theirs or they know yours.
My Language of Love
I know my language of love is “acts of service.” I don’t need expensive gifts or fancy words or someone to hold my hand. I do however like to know that when I need support or something (that I cannot do myself) done, I know where to turn.
“Acts of service” sound very rigid, almost implying contractual services. I’m pretty sure the experts do not mean that instead mean sharing duties or things that need to get done in a household. Things such as:
- household chores like cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping
- parenting things (I won’t call them chores) like playing, feeding, bathing, bedtime routines
- shovelling snow and cleaning off vehicles (although I do love to shovel for exercise in the winter)
I am so impressed with how the younger generation has removed the gender-based roles in relationships. I know, I am dating myself. No longer is it only the mother/woman’s role to cook, clean, look after the kids while the father/man’s role is to go to work outside the home. Part of this evolution came about with the increase in double-income families, but another is acceptance, acknowledgment, respect, and compromise. I am so proud of my two oldest sons who have embraced this evolution, actively and emotionally committing to their roles as daddy and husband/partner.
I broaden the term “service” to include acts of kindness too. Nothing (to me) is more attractive (on anyone) than kindness. Conversely, meanness is very unattractive.
My Parents’ Language of Love
So, how do we develop our own language of love? Do we inherit it from our parents, like we inherit eye colour and other physical characteristics or interests and talents?
I assume my own preference is because my parents (at least in my perception of their relationship) used that method to show they loved each other and our family. We were not ones to express our love verbally, in fact, I don’t remember either of my parents ever saying “I love you” to each other or to us kids. But they both worked outside the home (my mom only after my youngest brother started school) to provide a home, food, and clothing for our family.
Were my parents happy in their relationship? Not always. I do know my father was devastated when my mother passed away, and her last words to me were “look after your father.”
Actions speak louder than words.
Raising our own Children
That language of love witnessed in my childhood (my husband was raised similarly) is most likely why we raised our children with the “acts of service” language. We knew no different. I know my children know we would do anything for them, still, even though they are now self-sufficient. Is that because we told them that fact often? No, but I hope we showed them with our actions.
I admit that I never gave much thought about what they needed or still need to feel loved, just assumed they knew/know.
I probably do not tell them I love them often enough; it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks.