Monday, October 12, 2009

What's Love Scot-ta Do With It?

How do you receive love? Does your heart just melt when your special someone whispers those three little words... "I'll clean up?" Would you be filled with joy to get a new necklace from your sweetie, or would you prefer he spend the money on a sitter so you could go out to dinner and spend a couple of hours just the two of you? Or would you rather he just give you a nice, long, foot massage?
Have you read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman? I waited forEVER to read it because often times when the whole world goes crazy for the new "it" book, I stay away from it for about two years. I didn't get into Harry Potter until book 3 came out, for example.**For my fellow single people, you can start with the original book, but be aware that it talks about the Marrieds like all the time. You may want to take The Five Love Languages for Singles as a starter.**

So I'm not trying to make this post an advert for the book, but I just thought since I recently shared some grammar guidelines, that maybe today I'd share some love vocabulary. Chapman isn't the be-all-and-end-all in writing about Love (see the Bible if you want an epic love story) but what his book does is give you a vocabulary.

How do we receive and give love? According to Chapman, in five ways (in no particular order): 
  1. Words of Affirmation - This can be just the words "I love you" or someone saying "Wow, you look great today" or "Thank you for making the sign for the play, you have the best penmanship." In this way, the words affirm [lift up, validate] who you are as a person.
  2. Physical Touch - No, you dirty person you, this isn't just about sex. That's part of it, but ask yourself if you're one of those "huggy" people. If you are, that could be one of the ways you give love to the people around you. It can also be as simple as touching someone on the arm during a conversation, expressing in a physical way the closeness that exists between the two of you.
  3. Acts of Service - Some people don't find it natural to say "I love you" to their spouse/parent/friend. But what they will do is wash their car, mow the lawn, do the laundry, any of a number of things that make life that much easier for the other person. They do it not just because "Tuesday is Laundry Day" but "because I love my family and I want them to be able to look their best without having to worry about washing or ironing their clothing."
  4. Giving Gifts - The people who receive love through gifts are not greedy people. As one of my friends once told me, I could buy her a 50-cent bouncy ball at the store and she would love it because it means I thought about her when she wasn't standing next to me, and I brought her back the thing that made me think of her. And yes, I did buy her a bouncy ball. And she loved it. :)
  5. Quality Time - Yes, watching TV can actually show you care. The person who values quality time may prefer to have face-to-face conversations, but sometimes simply being in the same room is enough. My mom realized that my step-dad enjoyed it when she stayed in the living room after dinner while he watched TV. Did she have to sit next to him and engage in conversation? No, she merely had to be nearby. So she would sit in her chair and do Sudoku instead of doing it in another room, and he would be content.
So, how do you give and receive love? Sometimes we are conditioned into giving love the way we saw our parents do it (in all the positive and negative ways) and so we are not in tune with what really touches our hearts. But try it this way--where do you feel the most lacking in your relationships? How do you finish the sentence: "If only my husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/best friend/sister would ________, then I would know that they loved me." Or finish this one "If only my [person] would stop __________, then I would know they loved me."

The really fun part with all of this is that if you suddenly realize that your husband never says "I love you," and you need that to affirm your relationship, the solution is NOT to tell him how he needs to change. The first step is to figure out HIS love language, and make sure you're actively speaking it. He will then know that you love him, and be more receptive to a request from you of a way he can reciprocate.

So what are my love languages, you ask? I took the quiz at the back of the book and we're supposed to have 2 top ones, so of course I had one top one and two that tied for second. So my primary love language is Words of Affirmation, which is somewhat obvious when you see all the emails I have posted in my office of people who have replied to me saying "thanks, you rock." My secondary love languages are Quality Time and Physical Touch. I may not be great at keeping in touch with people who don't live near me (sorry!) but if you're accessible and I like you, I will want to spend a LOT of time with you. Because just being with you makes me happy. And yes, I am a huggy person. In fact if I don't hug you or even come near you, you might pick up on how I feel about you even if I don't say a word.

In conclusion (I love being able to say that now that I'm not writing school papers), if you want to show me that you love me, all you have to do is cuddle with me for about 4 hours and tell me how wonderful I am the whole time. :)

So how do YOU give and receive love?


  1. Saw you on SITS! Love the Five Love Languages book. Amazing how exact it is. Love the last couple lines in your profile description. Nice to have found you!

  2. Stopping by from SITS! great post!I think I am a gifts person.Just little things!

  3. Hi from SITS. My parents gave me the book for a valentines day gift when it first came out. It took me a long time to read it too because all I think about was they gave me a book on marriage on Valentines Day and I always have been very single.

    I crave physical touch. I need hugs even though I seem to reject them. I give quality time.

    Great post!

  4. This is great! I stopped by from SITS and I'm really glad I did. I've been asking myself stuff like this a lot lately, so I needed it. Great post! ...and I'm going to have to read this book now.

  5. Hi from SITS! Love this post!! I am def a gift girl...I love it when Josh gives me things and leaves me little notes. He is a quality time/physical touch kinda guy. I learned all about these in college in my interpersonal communications class - very good stuff to know!

  6. The man of my dreams is currently in Iraq, and somedays it is just seeing his picture pop up on yahoo instant messenger and a simple "I miss you" that makes my heart melt. It truly makes me cherish every minute that we have to communicate! Thanks for sharing the great read, I will have to pick this one up.


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