Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What Language Does Your Heart Speak? Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages

In the last few weeks, this book has popped up in my conversations with clients and friends, so I feel called to share the info with all of you. Many years ago, I watched an Oprah Winfrey show with an author, Gary Chapman who wrote the best selling book, The Five Love Languages. I remember watching couples dish out their concerns with one another on the show and finding no resolution. Chapman told these couples they just didn't understand what language the other hears.

Often times, in our relationships, we bump into conflicts. We can't understand where the other person is coming from. Conflict is simply a call to love. A call to be loved. So when someone is lashing out or withdrawing or causing distress in our lives, you simply aren't speaking their love language. If you want to cultivate that relationship, then it's important to know what language their heart hears. It may seem totally off the wall to you that is how they feel loved but if we have compassion and understanding, relationships can flourish.

The Five Love Languages

1. Physical Touch - The need for cuddling, hugs, kisses, sex, holding hands. This person feels loved most when making direct physical contact with another.

2. Acts of Service - The need for helping with chores, errands, work, parenting, often times, without being told to do it. This person feels most loved when their partner/family member/friend has helped with a chore or ran an errand or made life a bit easier in some way. Their heart is warmed by the care and thoughtfulness.

3. Receiving Gifts - The need to receive physical gifts as tokens of your love expressed. This person feels most loved when receiving gifts. Their love bucket gets filled when others show thoughtfulness by giving gifts that matter to them.

4. Quality Time - The need to spend special time with out distractions and interruptions. This person feels most loved when their partner/family member/friend spends time with them doing things they love to do while giving them their undivided attention.

5. Words of Affirmation - The need to hear compliments, praise, encouragement often. This person feels most loved when their partner/friend/family member offers support through kind and encouraging words given authentically.

Chapman offers a quiz on his website, that is super helpful to understand your own love language, your relationships' languages, and even your children's love languages.

In my own life, I can see how some of my conflicts have played a role in not understanding the other's love language. I rank neck and neck in high scores with Words of Affirmation and Acts of Service. (side note: If your partner is speaking your love language often and you still aren't feeling loved, chances are you are not speaking this love language to your own heart, so be sure to be speaking your love language to YOURSELF. Self- love must be cultivated too. Its not your partner's job to do that for you.)

So when I go to give love to someone, many times, I have spoke my personal love language to them and it didn't work! WHAT?!??! They couldn't hear it as clearly as others! Its not the same for everybody. Nope! That's where the compassion and understanding piece comes in. Even though its not how you feel loved, you must see it from their side and work on speaking their heart's language.

Receiving Gifts is last on my list. For one of my daughters, that's hitting a Grand Slam in the Love Field. She beams and hugs and jumps up and down when you take the time to give a gift that she really loves. It was hard for me at first to really get it. You can be fluent in other languages too. She also hears the language of quality time very well. When she receives gifts and spends uninterrupted time with me, I know her love bucket is filled and runneth over.

Chapman's books have changed many, many lives, including mine! If you feel called to take the quiz, check out his website and let me know your thoughts.

What language does your heart hear? What language does your partner's hear?

Love and Light,

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