What can often happen in relationships is we give love in the way we want to receive it. This makes sense, doesn’t it! If I fly to a foreign country, I might try to speak the language of that country. I might pull out my little book or open up Google translate and attempt to say a few words to display my respect for being on their land and a guest in their culture. However, I still will likely feel most comfortable if someone speaks my language. Have you ever been trying to speak the native language in a foreign country and suddenly someone starts speaking your language and there is a bit of relief! Your shoulders drop, you might smile because – well, it’s just a bit easier to communicate!!

I have found the most important aspects about love languages are:

  • Knowing your type – knowing how you want to be loved
  • Knowing the type of your loved ones – knowing how they receive love

The 5 Love Languages

Gary Chapman identified the five most common ways people give and receive love. They are:

  • Quality time
  • Words of affirmation
  • Touch
  • Acts of service
  • Giving gifts

Without doing the quiz – which I definitely encourage you and your partner or family to do – you might have a sense of which ones are most/least important to you just from a quick glance. Can you also identify the ways that are most/least important to your partner/family? Are there discrepancies between them, or do you speak the same language?

Now comes the challenging part.

Can you communicate to your partner/family about how you receive love? Can you communicate to your partner/family in the language of how they receive love?

If challenge accepted – way to go!! A couple of helpful tips:

  • Acknowledge the effort. Remember you/they are trying to show you love, you/they are just speaking a different language. Keep in mind love is there. “Thank you for xyz, I know you were showing me love in doing that.”
  • Embrace coaching. Remember you/they might need some specific coaching and how-to’s if you/they are learning a new language. This doesn’t take the magic out of love and instead helps us give and receive in ways that feel really great! “When I’m feeling down next time, it would mean the world to me if you just gave me a hug.”
  • Practice patience and kindness. Remember you/they might get it wrong. If you see attempts and efforts, call them out! It can be very deflating to be trying to learn a new language and not feel encouraged along the way. “Wow! I can really see how much effort you are putting in and I really appreciate it. It means a lot to me and I feel so loved when you xyz.”

Visit the 5 Love Languages website for more information and to take the love languages quiz.