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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Love Languages

Last night, Kiddo1 sat me down in the living room and said, "Mama, I want to talk about Christmas.  I want to talk and you want to write this down.  Here's what we need to do about Christmas..."  This is very typical for my 4.5 year old, first born daughter.  She is not being bossy.  She is worried about Christmas.  See, her love language is gifts.  When I travel for work, I always try to bring back something for her (even if it is the hotel soap) because a gift, no matter how small, means love to her.  It's her "love language".  It's how she receives love.

This is certainly not my invention.  No siree. Dr. Gary Chapman wrote a phenomenal book "The Five Love Languages".  If you've not read this book, you must.  It will solve all manner of mis-communication.

According to Dr. Chapman, the five love languages are:
Physical Touch
Quality Time
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service

All of us have a primary love language and most of us have a secondary language.  Kiddo1 is Gifts, primary and Physical Touch, secondary.  When we sit together to read in the evening, she always says, "Rub me, Mama.  Rub me."  And I'll rub her back or arm while I read.

I'm not entirely convinced but I think that Kiddo2's primary language is Quality Time.  He just likes to be near you and he doesn't like to leave home.

Kiddo3 is a wildcard.  I think her love language is Horrendous Messes.  That seems to be when she's the happiest.

A rather large challenge in our marriage is that Hubby and I have completely different love languages.  He is Physical Touch, by a landslide.  Like nothing else even comes close.  I, sorry to say, am not.  Physical Touch is my last love language.  A friend of ours shared with us that the animal equivalent of Physical Touch is a cat.  They crave touch.  Have to have it.  Will rub themselves on your leg just to feel touch.  That, my friends, is my husband.  I can stand completely still and he will still hug me.  Or hang on me.  Or touch me in some way.  And remember, Physical Touch is my LAST love language.  I have a touch quota and when that is filled, I don't want to be touched.  And with three small children who require all manner of touching throughout a day, I get "touched-out" pretty fast.

As you might imagine, this does not communicate LOVE to my husband.  It communicates the opposite.  I don't want him to feel unloved so I shower him with my love language, Acts of Service.  I do things for people.  I'm a do-er.  If you really want me to be over-the-moon about you, just do something for me or help me do something.  Oh boy, I love it.  I absolutely love it.  Hubby does not.  He doesn't understand why anyone would/should work so hard.

If you're wondering what my animal equivalent is, it's a goldfish.  Clean my bowl, feed me, watch me from afar.  That's what makes me happy.

It was devastating in the first few years of our marriage when I would do my darnedest to fix Hubby's favorite meal, tidy up his things, do little jobs for him and he wouldn't even notice.  And if I pointed them out, it didn't really matter to him.

Only after understanding that we have different definitions of love, could we really start to communicate effectively.  It was unbelievable to Hubby that I couldn't care less if I was hugged, but I'd be head-over-heels for him if he put the dishes away or bathed the kids.  And I couldn't believe that someone wouldn't want to jump at the chance to help someone they loved.

Have we completely figured it out?  Nope.  But we know what makes the other tick and we're working hard to meet each other's needs, even if it isn't what we think of as LOVE.

So, have a difference in love languages caused any miscommunication in your relationships??


  1. Absolutely. We haven't read the book you mention, though I've seen it, but we did figure out somewhere way back there early in our marriage that my hubby's love language is service, and mine is not. He is the doer in our duo, for sure. My way of loving is quality time - I'm a good listener, I am patient and willing to sit and just "be" with you - this has been a great gift with teeenage girls around me! For my busy husband, it's a little hard to fit it in - he has to be home and receptive for my way of loving to work. We didn't label our ways of loving way back then, we just figured it out after some frustration. It wasn't an instant fix either, we had to keep plugging away. It doesn't hurt to grit your teeth and do it the other person's way a bit, either - they sure appreciate it.

    1. It is a constant work in progress. "Grit your teeth"...hee heee. That's what it is some days!!


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