Friday, January 20, 2012

What Language Are You Speaking?

I'm sure by now you've all heard of The Five Love Languages, a book by Gary Chapman that is based on his theory that love is expressed in five different ways or "languages." Just in case you are not familiar with it yet here is the basic break down - Chapman's theory is that if we were aware of what love language is most pleasing to us and what love language the people around us most appreciate then we would be better communicators of our love. The book explains each language and then you take an easy little quiz to determine what your love language is. 

The five love languages are:
(1) Quality Time, Not just time together, but time spent focusing on each other
(2) Words of Affirmation, Verbal appreciation, compliments or encouragement
(3) Gifts, Receiving something that took time and thought, doesn't have to be expensive
(4) Acts of Service, Helping with things such as chores out of love, not obligation
(5) Physical Touch. This ranges from handholding to back rubs to... well... you know...

You can take the quiz here! Do it... you know you want to!

I had skimmed the book years ago but I couldn't even remember which language I was... Thankfully, before Brandon and I got married we received a copy from a church friend and we went to marriage counseling at Life Church and they had us take the quiz again! I was a little surprised to discover that we were both "Quality Time." Now looking back on it, it makes perfect sense - we both have jobs that are demanding of our time (obviously, B's work is much more demanding than mine, but during basketball season I  can work 2 to 3 games a week) so when we get time together, we don't want to waste a single second of it. This also explains why we love to make mini-road trips together... We are always excited about where we are going but sometimes, we are equally excited to be stuck in the car together for a few hours!

Just because you are primarily one type of love language doesn't mean that the others don't matter... My highest score goes to quality time, but then it's a complete tie when it comes to the other four! For example: When we are at church or out to eat, I love for Brandon to put his arm around me. To me this type of physical touch makes me feel that he is proud to be claiming me as his. At the same time, I show Brandon love through acts of service. I love to do things to make B's life easier. I understand that I can't understand his stress from work, nor can I make his work any less stressful... what I can do is make his life at home as stress free as possible. That may mean making sure he never runs out of clean scrubs, or handling all the bills and keeping up with our budget, or trying my best to make sure dinner is at least underway by the time he gets home - regardless of what it requires, I try to take on as much as I can for him. It's not that he isn't capable of washing his own clothes or feeding himself, he did all of that just fine by himself before we were married, I just do it for him because I want him to feel loved, I want him to know that his wife wants to make his life as easy as possible.

Another thing I find interesting is how your love language changes depending upon who you are giving your love to. I think I mainly show Brandon love through acts of service. I tend to give my dad as much quality time as possible. I prefer to show my mom love with gifts, although lately they've been a bit sparse. Little brother, well, he just gets words of sarcasm but I'm pretty sure that's his love language... Outside of those specific people I tend to be a gift giver. I love, love, love to give people presents! I truly believe that when I give someone a gift, they feel my love. The gifts I give aren't necessarily expensive, lots of times I just take them a dessert I've made or something small that I saw while out and about that made me think of them. My thought is that if something made me think of someone or if I took the time to make something for someone, then I've shown them love. Makes sense to me...

But here is the kicker, the part I don't really understand... What happens when one love language starts interfering with another? What happens when I'm trying so hard to show Brandon love through acts of service that I neglect the quality time he really wants? Ok, maybe that one's too easy because clearly I should put down the laundry and make room for a little QT... but what about when I feel like I should give my parents a little love, but doing so would require hitting the road and leaving B at home? What happens when we have babies, there's no way they don't interfere with your quality time! (And I'm just asking for curiousity sake, we aren't pregnant and we aren't adopting, I just like to think ahead.) Ol' Chapman should have written a Part II...

So, let me know your thoughts, suggestions, words of wisdom. Don't be afraid to make a comment, comments make me happy! I think comments fall under words of affirmation and gifts, it's like double love! And while you're at it, please share what your love language is... Were you surprised? What love language do you speak when giving?

Be Blessed!

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