Monday, September 29, 2008

Please Speak My Language

The Five Love Language

Paraphrased from Gary Chapman’s* best selling book

You have been in a relationship where no matter what you did; the other person felt NEGLECTED? You’ve been told repeatedly that you are loved; yet inside you feel empty and separate? Did you wonder what you were doing wrong -- why you just couldn't effectively communicate your connection to someone?

Through his counseling, Gary Chapman has found that there are five main love languages:

  1. hearing words that affirm
  2. quality time spent together
  3. receiving gifts and tokens of caring
  4. having things done for you
  5. physical touch and connection

All of us need all five forms of love, but there is one (or perhaps two), that is our "primary language" and crucial to our feeling loved and cared for. If our partner does not speak to us in our "primary language”, we feel as if something is missing, and we feel unloved, even if they are speaking to us in their own "primary language." The other person may love us totally and completely, but we do not experience what they say or do as being loving toward us. The same is true for them -- we can show great love for them but if we are not using their "primary language", then they feel abandoned and unloved. Therefore, we need to learn to develop all five-love languages, especially those of our primary partner.

Your primary love language is evident in two ways: you speak it more often than the other languages, and you feel most loved when it is spoken to you. The languages are same whether you are a romantic partner, friend or parent.

(1) Words of Affirmation: Otherwise known as verbal appreciation, this love language applies when you need to hear, "I love you," as well as other words of appreciation, words of encouragement, praise, kindness and words that build you up. If you do not hear them, you don't feel loved. How does this work? When we emphasize the positive, it encourages other people to be more positive in return. For example, a wife may always seem to be asking her husband to do one thing or another (see Acts of Service below). For instance, she asks her husband to wash the cars but they do not seem to ever be washed. If she tells him how much she appreciates how hard he works, and makes a point of commenting just on his positive qualities, rather than repeating and repeating her request that he wash the cars, magic can happen if this is his primary language. Once he hears in his own language that she loves him, the cars are washed. Her affirming comments helped him find the energy and desire to do the job.

Other examples include:

  • Your spouse tells you how much his or her friends appreciate you.
  • Your friend says, "You really did a great job on that. I appreciate it!"
  • Your partner shares about a recent business success you had while talking to friends during a party.
  • Your friend compliments you on how well you handled a difficult situation or decision
  • Your boss tells you how pleased she is on the quality and progress you've made on a work project
to be continue...

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