Love is one of these mysteries. It nurtures and enriches our lives. Love is the deliberate act of valuing someone more than you value yourself. Love is the deliberate act of caring for, and listening to others. Love is wanting others to succeed, to be happy and fulfilled.
The famous psychiatrist and best-selling author Scott Peck (Peck, 1998; Peck, 2003) marveled “love is the will to extend oneself to nurture one’s self or somebody else’s self for the purpose of spiritual growth.” This is an invitation to turn towards ourselves and others. There is goodness and a warm heart in every person. Paradoxically, our experience of the sameness of being human brings us closer to love.
Learning your love language.
“Love languages” are a concept developed by marriage counselor Gary Chapman. It’s not backed by scientific research, rather, it’s based on his anecdotal research from 30 years of marriage counseling. And it sure does make a lot of sense. “My conclusion after thirty years of marriage counseling is that there are basically five emotional love languages—five ways that people speak and understand emotional love. In the field of linguistics, a language may have numerous dialects or variations. Similarly, within the five basic emotional love languages, there are many dialects…The important thing is to speak the love language of your spouse,” Chapman says.
In our today’s times knowing your love language not just help us in our intimate relationships/ marriage, but also in our other relationships and helps us to share our love with the people we care for.
Chapman (2014) says that #love entails five languages:
Love language #1: Words of affirmation. Words that emphasize the pleasant, joyful, and beautiful aspects of life. It is easy to speak and hear words of affirmation we are intimate with, somebody we trust dearly, and who is open. Can you speak lovingly to a co-worker, parent, stranger, or your worst enemy?
Love language #2: Gifts. A gift coming from the heart is something that says “I was thinking about you. I wanted you to have this, I love you.”
Love language #3: Acts of service. In our self-centered society, the idea of service may seem anachronistic, but the life of service to others has always been recognized as a life worthy of emulation. Are you a public servant, a servant in the community, or a loved one? A service that comes from the heart, not out of responsibility or expectation by others.
Love language #4: Quality time. We may be in the presence of people all day long, but we do not feel connected. Quality time means a time of genuine togetherness, undivided attention, mindful listening, and a shared space where both are fully present.
Love language #5: Physical touch. When we were babies, before we could even crawl, we thrived on love. Babies who are held hugged and touched tenderly develop a healthier emotional life than those who are left for long periods of time without physical contact. In modern society, we are often afraid to be touched and create distance because it could be misinterpreted. In Western culture, we are afraid to touch due to our socio-cultural conditioning. So we sit back in loneliness and physical isolation. No hugs, no touch, perhaps a text message or tweet instead. The body is made for touching to bring forth love.
Do you see?
Knowing your love language gives you the communication to explain what’s most important to meet your emotional needs and also the insight to figure out what’s important to you in your relationships; not just romantic ones but also with your close family and friends.
Ask yourself today?
What are your love languages? How can you use them to improve your relationships?