Love Languages: Why They Can Help Your Relationships & Parenting
While in my marriage and family therapy classes in my undergrad, I was able to study the concept of “love languages” and how they work across several different relationships. Learning about them can be extremely beneficial and can bridge a lot of gaps in family life in a very easy way.
Dr. Gary Chapman pioneered this idea that there are five different “love languages,” or ways people best feel and show love. They differ from person to person, and knowing your own love language as well as your spouse’s and children’s can really help effective communication in the home and can give you a bit more of a roadmap on different personalities and having good relationships with them!
Here is a little breakdown of what these five love languages are. See if any resonate with you or your family members:
Words of Affirmation
Those in this category thrive with praise, and spoken or written words of encouragement. They do best when others affirm, encourage, appreciate, and empathize with them. Actively listening is very important to them.
These people really love close physical proximity. It makes them feel secure. They appreciate non-verbal body language and touch to emphasize love.
To gift givers and lovers, thoughtfulness is very important. It makes them feel like a priority. Things that mean a lot can be very small or not cost anything, but are intentional. They treasure things people have given them and keep them.
Those who have this love language feel loved through sharing time with people. One-on-one time is huge. Uninterrupted and focused conversations mean a lot. Quality time lovers find one-on-one time crucial.
Acts of Service
Those in this category love helping others and love feeling like they are of important use. They feel best when serving others or working towards a cause. They also want to know you’re “with” them and partnered with them. Action phrases like “I will help…” go a long way.
If you haven’t taken the Love Languages quiz, I highly recommend doing so! It’s super interesting to see and very fast. In this same link are quizzes specifically for couples and for kiddos, as well. You can do that here:
Ideas For Application:
A great family night activity might be to sit down and do them together, and learn about each person’s love language and what that looks like. Or you might want to do this with your spouse over a date night to find out exactly what is most meaningful to them. You might even be surprised at your own results.
After you all take the quiz, if you’re doing this as a family, one of the most important next steps is to take time to write down what things are important to each person’s love language and what that looks like, so that you have an easy way of putting it into action. There are a ton of helpful charts and sheets you can find on the Internet as well. Set a family goal that each person does one thing for someone, in his or her love language, per day. See if it changes the dynamic in the household that week and chat about it after.
Or on a marriage level, after taking the quiz together, find things that fit you and your spouse’s love languages and write a list of ideas of how to show that. It’d be fun to do on a date night and then agree to try.
One thing to keep in mind, and that I found interesting, was that my love language with my spouse is very different than it is with my kids or friends. That might be the case for you, too, so consider taking the test more than once with that in mind.
Once you learn about the five love languages, it’s hard to not try to evaluate the love language of everyone you come in regular contact with. Everyone truly has their own, and it’s neat to see how people feel love so much more when it’s in their own love language.
What are your love languages? Are they similar or totally different than those in your family?
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