Gary Chapman’s book, Love Languages, is a good read for anyone in a relationship. However, it is also an educational tool if you are simply looking to improve the ways in which you express love to others.
We each interpret acts and words in different ways. Chapman writes about this and describes how sometimes we may be speaking different “love languages” with people we care about without even realizing it. The five languages Chapman writes about are physical touch, acts of service, words of affirmation, quality time and receiving gifts. He writes that we all respond to these languages in different ways and levels. Not only are these the ways in which we feel most loved, but they are also how we express our admiration and appreciation to others. Various online quizzes and even Chapman’s own book can be used in order to figure out what your particular language is. The languages of physical touch, acts of service and words of affirmation are somewhat self-explanatory, but quality time is one that can be confusing. This is due to the fact that someone may interpret quality time in different ways. To one person, quality time may look like a good conversation, while someone else might want to spend time doing a particular activity.
Another difficult one to understand is the language of “receiving gifts.” This can be an especially tricky one around the holiday season, or even when it is someone’s birthday. It is a ritualistic habit and a special tradition for many people to give presents to mark special occasions. This is a practice that is often assumed and never entirely questioned.
When it comes to love languages, however, it always serves our relationships to ask questions about how we can best show someone the dedication and love they deserve. This raises the question: what do you get someone who doesn’t care about gifts?
We each interpret acts and words in different ways. Chapman writes about this and describes how sometimes we may be speaking different “love languages” with people we care about without even realizing it.
The best way in which to answer this is to go back to the original idea of the book—the intentionality behind finding out what someone’s love language actually is and then doing our best in order to speak it to them.
If someone’s love language is not gifts, find out what it is—and then act on it. Perhaps this means getting their car cleaned instead of getting them a gift card, or taking them out to dinner or a coffee date instead of giving a wrapped present. Making an effort to show people we care about them is a consistent effort. It takes time and patience, but when done properly, it can work to ensure that our friendships are the fullest they can be.
And of course, if someone’s love language is gift-giving, put some thought into it. I promise it will pay off.