For now I’m going to cover the basics of the 5 love languages, and get into the motivational gifts, but Gary Chapman has written several books about the love languages so we may come back to them at some point. If you want to explore, he has a book for married couples, for parents about kids, and even for singles.
The basic idea is that there are 5 ways that people show and receive love, 5 love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts of service, and giving gifts.
What I want to focus on here is that we each have 1-2 primary love languages, these expressions of love mean the most to us, we prefer to receive love in these ways and these actions speak more easily to us. When people do those things we automatically ‘hear’ or ‘feel’ the love they are trying to convey.
You can probably guess yours pretty well by thinking about what you appreciate most and what you miss the most when you don’t get it, but to help you identify your top language and how much you value all 5 of them, take the free test on the 5 love languages website.
I read the original book years ago and have kept them in mind throughout 10 years of marriage. I’ve known that my top two were words of affirmation and touch, and my husband’s top one was quality time. I just took the test and noticed something interesting, acts of service has become a close third. Reviewing the motivational gifts recently in order to write and share about them have reminded me that my husband’s motivation gift mix is not highly verbal, but does like to do things. I can see that over years of being married, I’ve adjusted to his gifts and learned to receive love the way that he gives it the best. He has also made adjustments based on what he’s learned is important to me.
Also, my oldest two sons are old enough that I can tell what their primary love languages are. My eldest’s love languages are words and touch, so meeting his needs comes naturally to me because they are the same as mine. I can tell him I’m proud of him and give him a hug, or admire a creation he spent some time making and we both move on with our day. My other son’s love language is clearly quality time, just like my husband’s. As an administrative motivational type, I like to be active, productive and getting stuff done. So I have to be intentional about spending quality time with each of them. This is part of living my values, because I have a high value for family and relationship and these are obviously my most important relationships. Recognizing these truths about my family helps me set priorities on a daily and weekly basis.
Take the test, record your results and journal some thoughts, and either ask your spouse to take it too, or take some time to reflect and write down what you think theirs are. I find the love languages are usually pretty evident in life once you are aware of the concept, and it is worthwhile to stop to reflect and consider how it can help you with your most important relationships.