I took a class over the month of January at Messiah called The Foundations of Marriage and Family. Now when I tell people the title of my class, I get one of two responses.
A: the person looks intrigued and say something to the extent of, “That sounds interesting!” or B: they look at me strangely and ask if I’m preparing to get married and start a family. I’ve always been incredibly interested in different aspects of marriage and family life and how to improve my relationships and communication skills with others.
My class started talking about Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages. I discovered the 5 Love Languages website this summer when one of my friends suggested that we all take the test and find out what our love language was. The way this works is, you take a questionnaire and at the end, it ranks the 5 Love Languages (words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch) into the order in which you receive and give the best and most often.
Not only is this a fun activity to do with your friends or with your partner, but it is also super important when it comes to understanding any sort of relationship. People give and receive love so differently and sometimes we can make the mistake of thinking that someone is upset with us or doesn’t love us as much as we love them. Most of the time this isn’t the case, it is just the fact that the other person gives and receives love differently than you do.
1. Words of Affirmation
The first love language is words of affirmation. People with this love language need to be verbally encouraged. Compliments mean the world to these types of people. This person is empathetic and tries to see the world from their partner’s perspective. Verbal acts of forgiveness are important to these people as well. How often do you tell those you love in your life how much you appreciate them? How about verbally apologizing and trying to make things right? Being an encouraging friend or partner is so important in a relationship and provides a sense of trust to all involved.
2. Quality Time
People who have this love language value meaningful time with the people they care most about. Making sure the time is focused and there are little to no distractions is key. It doesn’t necessarily have to be doing an activity together. People with this love language are also a huge fan of quality conversation. Finding an activity that both you and your loved one can enjoy together is not only tons of fun, but healthy for a relationship.
3. Receiving Gifts
This love language puts a huge value on giving tokens of love. It is usually not the monetary value of a gift, but the sentimental value that is the most important to this type of person. Giving the gift of yourself and your time is another way to show love in the most effective way to this love language. Everyone loves to be appreciated and gifts are always nice. It is truly the little things that matter most.
4. Acts of Service
This one is actually my personal love language and I believe it is the most misunderstood. In many cases, people don’t think of doing something such as doing the dishes one night or picking up something at the grocery store an important demonstration of love. But for the busy mom, dad, or college student, checking anything off of our to-do list would be hugely appreciated (and may even bring us to tears). Thinking of things you can do to make someone’s day a little brighter is never a bad idea.
5. Physical Touch
Touch is a super powerful thing. It can be a great way of communicating feelings as well as love for each other. Touch shows faithfulness and commitment towards one another. When this person has a bad day, something as simple as a warm embrace can be a game changer.