Those of you who follow our podcast, Love + Money, have heard us talk about Gary Chapman and The 5 Love Languages series of books. We even had Dr. Chapman as a guest for one of our podcasts!There’s a reason that we love the Love Languages so much…it’s because we care about our love for each other, the love within our family, and helping others discover how they can love themselves and others to the fullest extent possible. We even put that lovely love word in the title of our podcast.
Love Matters at Devlin Worldwide
At Devlin Worldwide, our focus is on wellness, family, and success and we know that love is integral to that focus. We have benefitted from Dr. Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages in our own relationship, but we’ve also come to understand that knowing your own and your partner’s love language isn’t just something for romantic love relationships. Understanding love languages is also key to familial love, friendships, and even our interactions with colleagues in the workplace and business world.
Anyone in any sort of relationship with others (and let’s face it, that’s every single one of us) can benefit from learning about love languages. So much so that Dr. Chapman has expanded upon his initial book and now has books that deal with the 5 Love Languages for children, teens, the workplace, singles, military personnel, blended families, families with special needs… the list goes on.
Loving and Feeling Loved
We think that the Love Languages are important…but why? Dr. Chapman explains that people give and receive love in five unique ways. That means that if someone expresses love in a love language that is different from our own, we may have difficulty feeling it as love. For example, if your love language is physical touch, you may express love through holding someone’s hand or giving them a hug. It also means that you feel loved if someone holds your hand, gives you a pat on the back, holds your hand, etc. But… and here’s the kicker… if your love language is not physical touch, but acts of service, you may not mind a hug, but it doesn’t give you the feeling of being loved as much as if someone washed your dishes or pumped your gas for you.
What Are the 5 Love Languages?
You can learn all about the 5 Love Languages in detail in Dr. Chapman’s books, but here are some brief explanations of each to whet your appetite and help you get started.
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
Words of Affirmation
If your love language is Words of Affirmation, you give and experience love through spoken affection, praise, or appreciation. If you don’t hear things like “I love you” or “You’re an awesome friend” or “Oh, my goodness, that was the best apple pie I’ve ever tasted,” you will feel as though you are not valued or appreciated. Hearing these kinds of affirmations, compliments, and praises, however, will make you feel the love of the person saying them.
Acts of Service
This Love Language is the epitome of the old phrase “actions speak louder than words.” If this is your love language, you respond to what people do rather than what they say. The laundry that was sitting in the dryer got folded? You feel loved! You washed the car while your partner was napping? You were being loving! Conversely, if someone has this love language and isn’t on the receiving end of any acts of service, they will tend to feel unloved, alone and unsupported.
People with this love language experience love when they have a physical, tangible sign of that love. It’s not that they want/need everything…it’s often a very small and inexpensive token that makes them feel loved. They just like to know that they’ve been thought of and remembered. If this is your love language, you’re the kind of person that will pick up a small gift for a friend for no reason… other than you thought of them when you saw it.
This love language is all about being with another person. For people with this love language, words, actions, and gifts are nothing compared to being able to spend time with someone. Loving someone means giving them your full attention in the moment. If this is your love language, you don’t check your phone while eating dinner with your loved one. If this is your love language, you may feel neglected or unwanted when it feels as though your loved ones are not making time for you.
Quick disclaimer: this isn’t necessarily about romantic intimacy…it can be that, but giving a friend a pat on the back qualifies too! Those who love through physical touch feel connected to others via physical means. Holding hands, hugs, a pat on the hand or the back, shoulder rubs, an affirming touch on an arm…are all ways of expressing love. Obviously, some forms of touch are not appropriate in certain relationships. You wouldn’t give a work colleague a light kiss on the forehead, even if they just bashed their knee into a filing cabinet. But you might do it for a child who just stubbed their toe. When people whose love language is physical touch don’t receive any form of physical contact, they tend to feel undesirable and unwanted. They feel loved by actually feeling another person.
You may have immediately recognized yourself in one of these descriptions. But if you’re still uncertain as to what your own love language is, you can take an online quiz to help you find out.
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