The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman has been one of the most helpful relationship books to me over the past 25 years or so. The basic premise is that we all have a “love tank” that needs filling and most of us fall into one or more of the 5 categories of how we feel loved and express love.
Understanding yourself and how your love tanks is filled can sometimes feel a bit selfish. I think especially if you’re one whose love language is Receiving Gifts. For the sake of providing some background, these are the 5 Love Languages that Dr. Chapman proposes:
- Acts of Service
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch
- Words of Affirmation
I don’t know the psychology of it all or why people feel loved in different ways, but I know my own Love Language(s). Although experiencing them all would make me feel appreciated and seen, there are two specific areas, that when given or provided for me, truly make me feel loved. Or so I thought.
I never thought of myself as a Receiving Gifts type person. I mean I like getting gifts. Who doesn’t?! But recently I have unexpectedly received 3 gifts from 3 different people, and I have felt so filled with love by them! Maybe it was because they were given without a holiday or event attached, but simply because they thought of me. As I told the story to one of my daughters, she mentioned how thoughtful and intentional they were. Maybe that is why these gifts meant so much? Although they were gifts, the motivation behind them really spoke more to my primary love language(s), Words of Affirmation and Acts of Service.
In receiving them, these gifts meant they thought of me and wanted to recognize me, and it was their way of telling me so (Words of Affirmation.) In the actual act of giving, I interpreted it as making a physical effort by using their time and talent to show their appreciation of me. (Acts of Service)
I strongly encourage you to order and read this book because I believe that it’s one of the best things you could do for yourself and the people you love. Just because we love someone, we can always do it better. To do it well would mean that they truly feel loved by you and the best way to make that happen is to know what fills their love tank. Here’s a hint – if you just can’t figure out someone’s love language, ask them. If they look at you with a blank stare, consider how they naturally express their love to others. It’s usually in the same way they want it returned to them. Then buy them the book!
If I were to apply hashtags at this point, they would be: #knowyourlovelanguage #knowtheirlovelanguage