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February 13, 2012 at 7:49 PMComments: 2 Faves: 0

It's Suggested There are 5 Love "Languages" - What's Yours?

By Jeffrey VanWingen M.D. More Blogs by This Author

As a family doctor, I get to share experiences with people at their highest and lowest times. Often, these involve love.  Heck, I’ve been there myself and along the way, I’ve gained a few things.

In a thriving relationship, love amounts to 200%, each side giving 100%.  It’s not about receiving, but about giving.  And along those lines, love does not keep score.  These are important things to reflect upon each and every day.

The Five Love Languages

I’ve heard love compared to many things.  Love is like the wind- you can’t see it but you can feel it.  Love is like a llama- awkward, adorable and somehow perfect.  Love has further been likened to a fire, a rollercoaster and even the measles.  The most useful likening that I have come across, however, has come from Dr. Gary Chapman who contends that love is like a language that we ”speak. “

In the book, "The 5 Love Languages," Dr. Chapman, contends that people give and receive love differently among five “languages:” 

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Quality Time
  3. Gifts
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Physical Touch

In general, we have one major and one minor love language.  As we receive love in our preferred language, we tend to give it in that same language. The trouble with this is that our partner in the relationship may be speaking another language. For example, acts of service-minded man may spend a back-breaking day planting a rose garden that his wife wants, but at the end of the day his quality time-minded wife is only upset that he wasn’t around.  This may leave the man as frustrated as the wife, feeling that he was acting in a loving way.

Speaking the Same Language

Love is about communication. Communicating how you love and desire to be loved while taking to heart your partner’s “language” can make a world of difference. After all, effective communication is not about how eloquent you are, but rather how accurate the message gets across. And love is more about what is felt than what is given. 

Indeed, when my wife and I focus on giving love as the other would desire (or speaking the other’s language as it were), life is much better.  As I counsel couples in trouble I hear time and again about a lack of appreciation and a lack of perceived love.  These ideas seem simple and fundamental but they are often overlooked.

As you look to give love to that special person in your life ask yourself if you are speaking the right language.  Make sure that your efforts are not lost in translation or not understood.  And remember, the best way to get love is to first give love.

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2 Comments

  • Beautifully stated, Jeff. I have noticed our own languages of love as well. My husband shows his love by doing (driving me to work, filling the car up with gas, running errands...), while I do so with notes, meals, housekeeping... Thankfully we both recognize the importance of touch and of course those three magical words :)

    Happy Valentine's to you!

  • You said it, Jeff. "It's not about receiving, it's about giving."

    The 5 Love Languages is such an eye-opening book. My husband and I book need words of affirmation and a big love language of his is acts of service through cooking. I really appreciate him for that. I do the acts of service through cleaning.

    Thanks for such a great post!

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