A: “I don’t feel like you love me.”
B: “What do you mean? I cook for you, I clean for you. You don’t have to lift a finger around here. How can you say that I don’t I love you.”
Does this sound familiar?
An important influence on our ability to build healthy relationships is our ability to give and receive love. According to Dr. Gary Chapman, there are 5 languages through which we express love. It is commonly understood that the way we express love tends to be the way in which we best receive love. The 5 languages are described below:
1. Words of Affirmation: Communicating love and appreciation by using words that build the other person. Ex: “You did a great job with the children today.” ‘Thank you for finishing the laundry before I made it home.”
2. Acts of Service: Doing something that you know the other person would like. For example, completing a chore, baking a cake, washing their car, or installing a new tv/appliance.
3. Quality Time: Giving your undivided attention. Examples include watching tv, having dinner and/or taking a walk without being in/on your phone. Can also include active listening (asking questions for clarification, rephrasing, restating what was said to show understanding).
4. Physical Touch: Holding hands, hugging, high five, hand on the shoulder, sexual intercourse, pat on the back, hand on knee.
5. Gifts: A gift that says “I was thinking about you,” “I appreciate you,” “I am grateful for what you did.”
Dr. Chapman initially described the languages in terms of love in romantic relationships; however they can be applied to your development of relationship with anyone in your life. The 5 Love Languages website has quizzes available for couples, teens, children and singles. Being familiar with your love language can be helpful with setting and explaining the expectations you have for your loving relationships.