I’m sure a lot of you have heard about the Five Love Languages, by Dr. Gary Chapman… and if you haven’t, let me catch you up to speed...
Dr. Gary Chapman is the associate pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. As a pastor and a practicing counselor, Chapman naturally led couples in both marriage and pre-martial counseling.
After years of feeling like he was listening to people tell the same struggles over and over and over again, Chapman began to realize that there are five things which all people tend to crave the most when it comes to feeling loved. These five things include:
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
Chapman’s theory was that everyone in the world falls into one or more of these categories when comes to how they perceive or feel loved.They react the best to their spouse or loved ones when they are being pursued by their specific love language. One person may crave words of affirmation while another person may feel most loved when they receive gifts.
For instance, when I began dating Ronnie, all he ever did was focus on helping me solve my problems. He left a lot of emotions and romantic gestures out of our relationship. I was always thankful that he made my life easier, but what I actually craved were words of affirmation and physical touch.
I was grateful when he would do my taxes or my FASFA for college, but it did not always make me feel loved in the way that he hoped it would.
I desired his attention in a different way. I needed to receive his attention in my love language, not his. Unknowingly, he pursued me in his love language and I pursued him in mine. I always left him poems and notes, thinking that he would feel loved and cherish the words I had written for him, but he never cared about them in the way that I hoped he would. For a while we had it backwards, which lead to a lot of confusion and hurt feelings. However, once we learned what love languages were, it changed everything.
Chapman designed the love languages theory as a way for two people to understand one another in a deeper manner. It would allow a couple to each give their love in a way that makes the other person feel valued. When you take the time to care about each others wants and desires, you both are going to receive and give love in such a manner that it flows easily and is received well.
Love languages matter because they are the core of who we are as people. Our innate and personal qualities for life flow from how we view love.
Even outside of our romantic relationships, we show and receive love through the lens of our love language. The way in which we engage our friends, parents, siblings, and co-workers are all a direct result of how we view love.
Take a look at how Gary explains each love language and see which one appeals to you the most!
1. 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.
2. 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 being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.
3. 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.
4. 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 “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most wants 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.
5. 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, 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.
Understanding love languages is so delicate and important because it allows us to love and show appreciation for our spouses, boyfriends, and others in a deeper way! It is tuning into the feelings that the Lord placed over you specifically and catering to it!
As Christians, we should want to serve our brothers and sisters in the best way possible, and through beginning to understand the world of Chapman’s love languages, you can serve them even more! Especially in marriage, where love should be sacrificial on both sides, learning how to properly and effectively love your spouse is so very important.
If we care enough to invest in the needs of those around us, we are going to build better and stronger lasting relationships that point toward Jesus and who He is. When we are approaching life with a servants heart, then we are modeling the man that He was.
It is a foolproof plan!