Do you remember that special moment? Â You know, the time you put down the artificial midge-fly you were tying so that you could spend time with your husband, and you rubbed the back of his neck while telling him how special he was? Â Meanwhile, he was giving you the pair of mittens he knitted for you, after he heard you say your arthritis was kicking up. Â Well, congratulations, because you two were speakingÂ all fiveÂ languages of love at once.
This harmonious convergence of events speaks to all the communication tools that noted relationship expert and author, Dr. Gary Chapman, extols in his series,Â The 5 Love Languages. Â Dr. Chapman, also a Baptist minister, has achieved world-renown as a Biblical scholar in the field of personal relationships. Â His best-selling series concentrates on ways that people can convey their true feelings to others in ways that are easily accessible to all parties. In the condensed form above were elements of what Dr. Chapman teaches. Â A few notes about these âlanguagesâ appear below. Â These techniques apply not only to spouses, but to all interpersonal relationships:
1. Words of Affirmation âÂ Find something nice to say to somebody. Â It really isnât difficult; it just takes a little bit of effort. Â Show that you notice something positive about another, whether itâs an endearment, or âseeingâ a new hair-do or a hobby achievement. Â Some people call it giving âstrokesâ because it is a verbal âpettingâ. Â To understand it better, turn the tables and imagine the feeling you get when somebody sincerely says something nice to you. Â Thatâs what weâre talking about.
2. Quality Time âÂ Quality timeÂ doesnâtÂ mean giving anything up. Â ItÂ doesÂ mean creating time together. Â What you do or donât do isnât important. Â WhatÂ isimportant is that you are together.
3. Gifts âÂ It isnât the size of a package or the gleam of a gemstone that matters in gift-giving and gift-receiving. Â The important thing is that it lets people express positive emotion in a tangible way. Â Those who prefer to communicate in the âgiftâ love language, put a lot of thought into the gifts they give.
4. Acts of Service âÂ When you oiled the hinges on the screen-door that was driving your mate crazy you were âspeakingâ a language of love. Â When you finally notice that you havenât tripped over a pair of shoes on the stairway in quite some time, itâs because someone else was âspeakingâ to you in a language of love.
5. Physical Touch âÂ Unless you are both professional alligator-wrestlers, physical touch probably doesnât need to be more than an unexpected touch or small caress to speak loudly in one of the least-developed âlanguagesâ of love.
One of the aspects of Dr. Chapmanâs teachings that has been most helpful for couples is learning how to identify one anotherâs preferred love language. Â We often try to show love to others in ways that we appreciate, instead of in their own âlove languageâ and then are baffled by their lack of appreciation. Â When one personâs primary love language is âgiftsâ and the otherâs is âwords of affirmationâ, they are each speaking a foreign âlove languageâ to their partner. Â Understanding this can be very helpful in any relationship, but especially in the ongoing relationship of marriage.
Dr. Chapman isnât exploring deep mysteries. His observations and teachings involve everyday people, living everyday lives. What people do within that context is what ultimately decides how many âlanguagesâ you are fluent in.