Are Love Languages Just For Love?

My Love Language is Words of Affirmation. If I look inward, it is a language not only reserved for love relationships, it's my language in all of my relationships, friendships and also work. I need to hear the words, that I am loved (not at work!), valued, cared about. I need to hear that I matter and that what I contribute to the relationship is meaningful. Without Words of Affirmation, I go to a dark place of not being enough. In all of my relationships, I am fiercely loyal. Without Words of Affirmation, I can feel betrayed. I struggle with self worth, so the absence of Words of Affirmation confirms my worst fears, I am not worthy. For me, the power of affirming words is essential to connection.

The Five Love Languages is a book by Dr. Gary Chapman that describes the way we all express and experience love. Take the quiz to find out what your Love Language is.

Here are the definitions of the Five Love Languages:

1. Words of affirmation – using affirming words to build up the other person. “I appreciate that your thoughtfulness."

2. Gifts – a gift says, “He was thinking about me. Look what he got for me.”

3. Acts of Service – Doing something for your spouse that you know they would like. Cooking a meal, making the bed, bringing home flowers, are all acts of service.

4. Quality time – giving your spouse your undivided attention. Taking a walk together, playing a game, talking and listening, doing something together that is important to them.

5. Physical touch – holding hands, hugging, kissing, sexual intercourse, are all

expressions of love.

In case the definitions above are not relatable, here they are in terms that may be more meaningful to you:

Words of Affirmation: This is a good burrito.

Gifts: Here's a burrito.

Acts of Service: I made you a burrito.

Quality time: Let's go get some burritos together.

Physical touch: Arms around a person wrapped in a warm hug, like a burrito.

I'm not sure that all of the Love Languages translate to all relationships, Physical Touch as an example is not appropriate in the workplace. Maybe that's why there has been so much sexual misconduct in the workplace. I am not making any excuses for bad behavior, just an observation.

What makes relationships so interesting is the intersection of the languages. What is critically important to you may be last on the list for the other person in the relationship. The interpretation that occurs between two people in giving and receiving so that each person is getting what they need really relies on the awareness of these five languages and the ability to recognize and honor both yourself and the other person. In families, dynamics carry through from childhood. Someone who never received what they needed from a parent or sibling can have deeply carved wounds. Not all relationships offer the safety to explore in honesty what each person needs.

For me, this is a work in progress. Knowing my Love Language is empowering and it helps me recognize when a relationship is out of balance and what I am missing in it. Determining whether the relationship can weather an honest conversation so that everyone gets what they need, that requires some tricky navigation. Sometimes, you just need to move on.



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