I appreciate anything that helps me get along with those I care about- my spouse, kids, friends, siblings, patients, and coworkers. I’ll bet that you too care about relationships. Let’s break down the “5 Love Languages” by Gary D. Chapman.
This book was written for married couples. In summary, after many years of marriage counseling, Chapman concluded that there are five emotional love languages or five ways that people “speak” and understand emotional love.
He also believes that once you identify and learn to speak your partner’s primary love language you’ll have a happier, more loving marriage.
I think the principles laid out in this book are sound and can be applied to all relationships.
The 5 Love Languages are:
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
Love Language Cocktail
A friend and fellow health care worker, Shane, drove to my workplace and presented me with a hot soy latte from Starbucks. It was such a nice surprise. I was so happy to get such a treat. I began to sip this liquid goodness when Shane, said, “Wait! You didn’t read the cup. Words are my love language!”
On the cup were these words:
“I hope this cup of joy brings you as much warmth and joy as you do to me.”
I said, “Acts of Service are my love language, with gifts a close second, and I’m beginning to think that words of affirmation are my new love language.”
Shane explained that words followed by action in the form of an act of service or gift-giving are a love language cocktail.
I enjoyed this cocktail long after the cup was empty.
Here are some examples to get you speaking the languages of love, appreciation, and caring.
Words of Affirmation
“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”
― Rudyard Kipling
These are nice words that you say or write. Examples include writing a note or letter to someone telling them how much you appreciate something they did or said or maybe just the way they are. You could drop an email to your local listener-supported radio station telling them you liked the compilation of music this afternoon. Leave a note for your coworker telling them specifically something they did that contributed to the organization. Write a note before you leave for work in the morning for your kids or your spouse telling them one thing you appreciate about them.
Acts of Service
“Great acts are made up of small deeds.”
— Lao Tzu
These acts don’t have to be big gestures. Sometimes it’s the small things that you do for someone that really makes their day easier.
You could empty the dishwasher for your mom, put gas in your wife’s car, Pick up around the house before anyone asks you to do so, or rake your neighbor’s yard.
My husband Mike’s love language is acts of service. If he asks me to do something, I do it right away if I can. Even if I’m busy at the moment. Even if I think it can wait. Acting quickly is my way of saying, “I love you.” Seeing it done, is his way of knowing that I love and appreciate him.
“You can always tell what kind of a person a man really thinks you are by the earrings he gives you.”
― Audrey Hepburn
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a gift. You can buy someone a small bouquet of flowers, you can make a card, you can buy someone their favorite candy bar. Whenever I visit my brother he sometimes gives me a little gift that he made. Once he gave me a rock that he made into a magnet with Rick from Rick and Morty painted on it. We both enjoy that show. I smile when I see Rick on my fridge.
“The best gift you can give anyone is to spend quality time with them.”
― Laurence Overmire
Quality time can be just a few moments of an uninterrupted concerted effort of listening to someone else. It can be a morning coffee chat. It can be a picnic, a hike, a road trip. If you have a friend that needs quality time with you to feel appreciated, schedule that time with them. Put your cell phones away too.
“Everybody needs a hug. It changes your metabolism.” – Leo Buscaglia
Touch doesn’t have to be sexual. It can be a hug, playing with your child’s hair, or giving a little scalp massage to your spouse who has had a rough day is a form of touch. Before The Time of COVID, when you could still touch people, I often reached out over the counter and touched my patient’s hand when she was really struggling with something. No matter what the words you say, a touch brings more comfort to someone who is suffering whose love language is touch.
Here’s the link that will take you to the site where you can a quiz to find out your love language.
Start a Discussion on Love Languages. It could result in a lively conversation. It could soften hearts, heal a relationship, mend a rift, and create ripples of good vibes in your home.
Finding out the love languages of others and implementing it can make you a better friend, parent, boss, and spouse. It’s a simple thing that can make a big impact.
If you know your love language you can tell your spouse, family, and friends and they can better support you. They want to support you.
Let me know how, when you’re with someone you feel appreciated and cared for. I would love to hear all about it.
Here’s the video we shot for this post in Highland Square with a special appearance by Ariel McCleary.