Speaking Another Person’s Love Language

Birthday GiftsGiving a gift can open doors;
    it gives access to important people!
Proverbs 18:16 (NLT)

Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages is an interesting read and provides some great fodder for conversation and understanding. According to Chapman, there are five love languages:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Acts of Service
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Quality Time
  • Physical Touch.

While I think we all respond positively to any act of love, Chapman contends that we all have a bent towards a particular love language. If I understand my spouse’s love language, then I can love her well in a way she will respond most favorably. If I try to relate to her in the love language that I speak most fluently, it may never have the desired effect because my primary love language isn’t her primary love language.

I have learned that Wendy’s primary love language is quality time. She wants to be with me, and she wants me to take the time to just “be” with her. When I am on the road for a week-long business trip it creates a relational drain. I try to make sure not to schedule too much right after I get home from a trip, but carve out time to spend just with her and fill up her love tank. If I want to really love Wendy actively, then I know I should drop what I’m doing and hang out with her in the kitchen, sit on the couch with her to watch a movie, or just sit with her at the table and read the newspaper over breakfast.

While I enjoy time with Wendy, one of my primary love languages is receiving gifts (which, I’m sure, is why the proverb above leapt off the page at me!). I love to give gifts and I love when people are thoughtful enough to give me a gift. Wendy has come to understand this, much to my relational pleasure. My birthday is next week and last week when I returned from a business trip there was a large stack of colorfully wrapped birthday gifts sitting in the living room next to the television. For two weeks I get to sit on the couch in the evening and see those gifts sitting there staring at me. They make me feel like a kid at Christmas and remind me that Wendy loves me. She’s speaking my love language.

And, love languages aren’t just a matter for spouses. Wendy and I talk a lot about love languages as we think of our family and friends. We try to discern their primary love language and remember it on occasions we want to express our love for them in tangible ways. If you’re interested, there’s an on-line test right on the homepage of Chapman’s site which allows you to determine the love language of you or your child. Give it a whirl and share in a comment what you found out! 🙂

There is an index of all of Tom’s chapter-a-day posts.

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