Love. The universal thing we can all agree upon. We all want it.
What’s perhaps more important than wanting it though, is how we give it and how we receive it.
It seems we keep asking the questions why so much hate, divorce, anger, hurt, & resentment?
The answer may actually be quite simple.
I heard about love languages a long time ago. In fact, my sister-in-law left the book(see below) in a coffee table she gave us many years ago. I looked at it and never read it of course—thought it looked kind of silly—who’s got time for that? Ha! 😆I did however unfortunately spend the next decade plus pretending I knew what my spouse wanted. Something was the problem, but surely it wasn’t me!
Fast forward several years and many reoccurring arguments later. I accidentally began working for a network marketing company and found myself leading a large group of people with a similar passion to help others. In an effort to work more effectively together and to get to know each other better we took an online quiz(also see below) to find out what our love language was. This was just a fancy way of saying—in what way do we best receive love? How do we feel valued? How do we feel appreciated and/or cared for? As you might find out, figuring out how people feel loved and or valued works in all areas of life.
Wouldn’t it be great if we knew how everyone wanted to be loved? It is possible!
I found after doing this exercise with my team that the expectations for a significant other versus a friend or coworker are different. What I expect of my spouse is more than that of others so the love language is different. The creator even made one for children! How genius is that? Since implementing this I’ve noticed I parent differently too as all kids receive love in different ways.
Do you have a child or maybe multiple kids you seem to butt heads with more than another? Perhaps we aren’t loving them the way they receive it?
Around the same time as this test, I coincidentally stumbled upon a talk show which featured a couple that had been on the brink of divorce. The husband was the one who explained to the host how learning their love languages had saved their marriage. He realized he had spent many years loving his wife the way he wanted, NOT the way she did. You could see the genuine caring & concern from the guy. He desperately wanted to make his wife feel loved, he just hadn’t been doing it the right way. He said almost immediately once he started showing his wife he cared about her in the ways she needed, it changed their relationship for the better. She in turn started doing the same and they’ve now never been happier.
After seeing that show and how genuinely happy the couple was, I thought I might be time to give it a try in my own marriage. It couldn’t hurt.
Let me first say, that my hubby and I are a continuous work in progress and seem to fail more than succeed. It seems the biggest key to success with this is that BOTH sides participate!! You have to be willing to meet the other person at their love language. And when we fail—which is often—we have learned to recognize it and also to ask for or remind each other of what we need. I admittedly am a little better at recognizing & asking—but he is willing and is continually trying so I’ll take it!
Before I go any further I should probably point out what these love languages are. There are 5!
I’ll start with mine in order of importance—
2)Words of affirmation
3)Acts of service
1)Acts of service
3)Words of affirmation
The concepts and ways to implement them are pretty simple once you figure out what you and they are asking for.
I will continue to use my marriage as an example because since starting this I have seen a huge difference in our relationship. It did take me starting it, but it wasn’t long before I noticed the change and benefits for both of us!
My first and most important love language is Quality time— aka attention, undivided, uninterrupted. Also one of the hardest things to achieve because well—life. There’s never enough of it yet I want more of his. When I don’t feel like he’s spending enough time with me or I’m not his #1 priority I don’t feel as loved and disagreements arise. Same goes for his love language. His is acts of service! If the house is disorganized or a mess, he starts to get anxious. If he’s hungry or if the kids are hangry, I can feel the utter annoyance and more disagreements ensue.
How he’s met me at my love language—Makes date nights a priority. He even sets up the sitter! Which shows me doubly how much he cares because he’s taking his time to make time for me! He also sets time aside every night to sit with me after the kids go to bed. We talk about and review our day. He gives me his undivided attention. No electronics, work, etc involved. That is HUGE!
Ways I meet his love language—I cook! Lol I wanted to test this simple theory that the way to his heart was most definitely through his stomach. Seems easy right? Ha! Well I made dinners, lunches, etc for an entire month almost and wouldn’t you know, he was as pleasant as a peacock! We hardly argued or disagreed at all! It was a revelation! Seeing how happy he was made me want to continue.
And when I can’t meet him at his love language I call in reinforcements. Sometimes time is best spent elsewhere and you should hire out and utilize somebody else for their gifts. I know organization is an act of service he likes, but ironically it’s not either of our best qualities and we aren’t good at it, so I hired somebody to clean. It was a great decision!
Here’s where things can get complicated! Remember that the other person is almost always going to fall back to THIER number one.
My husband is a doer. That’s why acts of service is his love language. He makes breakfast almost every morning. Shouldn’t that be enough for me to know he loves me? One would think. Even though pancakes are close to my second love language #foodislife—it’s not my number one. I have also through this journey learned to be grateful and recognize he is loving me, just at the moment it’s his favorite way not mine. #gratitude This goes the other way. I often want to talk as words of affirmation are my second love language. I want to hear or read why I’m loved or hear I’m appreciated. He’s not a talker. Therefore this is an area of constant work for us. Ive gotten better about recognizing when I need it and he’s getting better at showing or telling me why I’m special. And he does, just not as often as I want. I’m also currently working on patience. Lol
They’re definitely the exception, but don’t we all know a few couples that never seem to argue or disagree? Maybe it’s as simple as having equal love languages. OR maybe they figured out sooner what the other one needs and started loving them that way?
I can say without a doubt that this has been a game changer for us and I could give many more examples of how this has been playing out in my marriage—but what I really hope in writing this is that other couples will figure out how their partner wants to be loved and than decide if they’re willing to meet them at it. Time and again, over and over. Will it BE work? Yes! But will it work! Yes!
Look at your partner right now and ask yourself are you loving them your way or theirs? More importantly, are you willing to speak their love language?