The 5 love languages [1]   Leave a comment

5 love languages

5 love languages

I read the book “5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman and found out in it an interesting source of information regarding people’s response to love. Did it ever happen to you that you demonstrate much love to someone and he/she seems not realise it? Or maybe you’re frustrated or feel unloved even if people around say they love you? Gary Chapman has skilfully portrayed 5 categories of love languages that people understand. This is of course not an absolute way of categorizing it but I found it making sense on several aspects. There’s of course some overlapping between these languages but categorizing them help to see clearer.

  • The Gift Language

Some people feel loved or valued when a gift is given to them. It does not necessarily mean an expensive one but the intention. It can be when you give yourself, your time, a nice meal, flowers or invest your money. The person who is sensible to this language feels “Oh look what he/she did for me!”. Some people assume that the more they give to someone, the more the person should feel loved. However, they can still be deceived that the person did not appreciate their gifts. In this case, the gift language is probably the one of the giver and not that of the receiver. This love language remembers me Jesus giving His life for us (John 15:13).

  • Acts of service Language

It refers to people who feel loved when service are rendered to them. It can be about ironing the clothes, putting out the garbage, cleaning the house or washing the dishes. Doing household activities for your spouse, children or parents can be very meaningful if the one to whom the service is rendered is sensible to that language. It can also be about what you do for your colleagues at work or friends at school. Taken alternatively, if the person does not receive help for domestic chores, no one puts out the dustbin and no one proposes to wash the dishes it makes the person feel unloved. The person feels that he/she always do for others and no one do for him/her. Of course, the service language does not limit itself to household activities. It can be when you help a colleague complete his/her work or propose to carry the heavy groceries of someone leaving a shop. This remembers me Jesus washing the feet of His disciples like a servant (John 13:16).

  • Words of affirmation

It’s mainly about things said to value someone. Many are quick to criticize and if the person to whom the #1 love language are words of affirmation, this person will feel inadequate. Destructive criticism has no goal to help, it tears from within the hearer. However, constructive criticism has growth as objective. When someone criticizes constructively, his/her love is genuine and does not have on his/her agenda the intention to say “You’re a loser, incapable, stupid, good for nothing”. Issues has to be addressed in relationships and suppressing feelings will not help at all. It’s not about who will win the argument. Genuine words of affirmation can easily be distinguished from fake ones. When you say for example the dish was excellent when it was not, you’re fooling yourself and if the hearer discerns it you’ll lose her/his respect. However, if you fail to say/see the qualities of someone, it causes that person to feel inadequate. Many people feel insecure with their physical appearance, intelligence or abilities. They have probably been hurt in the past because of some inappropriate remarks and they closed their hearts to express how they feel. Their parents were probably always making them reproach and they feel that they cannot achieve anything good. Words of affirmation renders the hearer his/her value and dignity. Words like “You’re beautiful, intelligent, awesome, a hard-worker” can really lift up someone who has low self-esteem or some sort of inferior complexity. Sometimes, how you say things has more impact than what you actually say. The tonality used can paralyzed the hearer and traumatized him/her. You probably know the qualities of your parents, friends and spouse but if you fail to praise them how will they know your appreciations? Maybe in their minds they are just waiting for a “Thank you”. Praising someone honestly can be powerful and encouraging. This remembers me Jesus calling His disciples friends (John 15:15).

  • Physical touch

Physical touch is a powerful way of expressing one’s affection and love. This is probably because it deals with the body. We have all been wired to respond to touch. This is a chemical/biological respond of our body which gives some good sensations. However, we must realize that one can still be unfulfilled in his emotions even if touched in erogenous places. If someone’s #1 language are words of affirmation and you have always belittled her/him how do you think that person will feel? That person will feel used. Sometimes, what happens psychologically has more impact than the physical. Many men think that sex is what can make them feel loved. But taken in the right perspective, it is mainly their masculinity which make them desire it. One can still be unfulfilled even after having sex. It is probably because there’re other issues which do not render physical contact pleasurable. What will happen if you abstain to touch someone who feels loved when touched? That person will think you do not desire him/her and will slowly avoid you by respect. Hugs or kisses not given to someone whose love language is physical touch can lead him/her seek for it elsewhere. This remembers me John leaning on Jesus’ bosom (John 13:25) and Jesus touching lepers, those people deprived of physical contact.

  • Quality moments

This love language is what I understand as intimate moments. It can be about spent time together laughing, discussing about plans, sharing secrets, playing games, running together, playing tennis, cooking together or just resting in each others arms. It’s not necessarily about how much time is spent together but about the activities done together. Two people can spend a whole day together without actually making the most of these moments. It can also be about being together without saying anything. It’s the presence of the person which matters. There is a high need of mutual trust and transparency. This remembers me the time spent by Jesus with His disciples in prayers and teachings (John 17).

Chapman also mentioned that there’re many dialects in those 5 languages. For example a man and a woman will not enjoy the same kind of physical touch, same kind of gifts, praises, services and activities.  There’re different ways of expressing each other.

One important thing in relationship between spouses, friends, colleagues and in the family is to know others love languages and one’s personal love language.  By this way we can learn a new language and thus communicate our love and affectation through the channel that is best understood by the receiver. A Chinese and an African can be madly in love, however unless they talk the same language they won’t be able to communicate their love. It requires efforts to learn a new language. It is also important to say that this kind of love is not self-seeking but aims at loving someone else. The interesting thing is that when you love someone without expecting anything in return, this person will love you back. Honest discussions can help improve significantly relationships. Last but not the least, it is essential to mention that the efforts made by an individual to practice the love language of someone having a difficult character will be useless unless the heart is renewed by Christ. The heart of man is evil, selfish and deceitful by nature. The knowledge of the 5 languages will be of no value unless divine love finds its way.

1 Corinthians 13 says:

Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].”


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