There’s been a lot of talk about the five love languages and how you need to love your spouse and people around you according to their love language. Gary Chapman wrote the book titled The 5 love languages. Which explains that we know we are loved when someone loves us in the way that we receive love. The five love languages are; physical touch, receiving gifts, words of affirmation, acts of service and quality time.
I read a book by Danny Silk – Keep your love on and he explains the 5 love languages like this, “I like to compare these languages to different types of fuel. Every person usually has one primary way that he or she receives and shows love – one type of fuel that fills up his or her ‘love tank.” He then says; “Silk goes on to say that showing people love the way they best receive it is equivalent to putting the right kind of fuel in your car. If you choose the wrong fuel, the car will eventually break down. Putting the right fuel into your significant others “love tank” is just as important. It’s not that your spouse needs you to do certain things. The house will continue to run if you don’t do the dishes or plan a date for her. It’s that your emotional connection will be enhanced if you learn how she receives love from you. That might mean doing the laundry or finding a babysitter and taking her out to dinner.”
Basically what is being said is that when we feel loved and know that are loved by someone there is less chance of disconnection. My understanding of this is that we only feel loved and accepted when we receive love according to our love language. I agree with this, but….
My main love language is quality time and coming in close behind it is receiving gifts, (I believe we all receive love according to all of the 5 love languages but not on the same level of importance). In an ideal world for me to feel loved I would need everyone in my close group of friends to spend quality time with me. I have discovered that not everyone shows love in this way naturally. They also may not know what your love language is and just show you love the way they know how, which may be in the form of one of the other love languages. I think it’s important to tell your friends or even colleagues and acquaintances what makes to feel loved. I also think it’s important for us to learn how to “speak” other peoples love languages if it’s different to the way we naturally show love BUT….. I also think we need to learn how to receive love in the way someone shows it.
Let me explain…
David, my husband’s main love language is words of affirmation. He receives love and gives love this way so he is always complimenting me, encouraging me and building me up with his words which is great. For me though, words of affirmation mean very little to me in the sense that it’s nice to hear every once in a while but it’s not really going to fill my love tank to capacity. I have had to learn to receive love this way because it’s how he naturally shows love. I can’t get upset and go around saying he doesn’t love me and he’s not filling my love tank because he’s not spending quality time with me when it’s not his natural love language. This isn’t a get out “love language speaking card” excuse that can be played. David works really hard to speak my love language as well, but he naturally and mostly uses words of affirmation. I know he loves me because I understand his love language a bit better than before. We have also reached an understanding where it’s okay to say to each other that we need each other to “speak” more of our receiving love language to fill our tanks. I also think this is okay to do – you need to have open communication in your relationships to maintain connection. In friendships this may look similar.
Lately I’ve heard and read a lot about how people just give up on their marriage or friendships because they don’t think their spouse or friend loves them. Often it’s followed with how they don’t do things which is directly linked to their love language. This is when I think the whole “love language” thing gets used as an excuse for things falling apart. What I often wonder is if it’s being communicated to the spouse or friend how they need to receive love. I also wonder if they have actually stopped to find out their spouses love language and how they show love, as well as if they have stopped to think about how they show love and if it’s being received by their spouse.
I think it’s important to have an understanding of what makes people feel loved, especially to build connection with people but I also think we need show a bit more grace and acceptance when it comes to receiving love from others. I definitely don’t think it’s as simple as its made out to be – but rather something with some grey areas that we need to work on and figure out as we connect and build relationships.
On a final note… I don’t think we can only rely on our spouse and friends to fill our love tanks. We also need to be looking to God to fill us up. We need to be receiving love from God to be filled so that we can still love others. God tells us in the bible to love others but how do we do this if we feel unloved? God is pretty good at speaking our love language – he is constantly calling me and inviting me to go away with him and spend time with Him. I also know he does the same with David and reminds him of how he’s been wonderfully created.