One of my sisterfriends introduced this book to me while I was dating my husband. Shortly thereafter, while I was engaged, my pastor did a study on “The 5 Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman and I was blown away by the information I found out.

If you aren’t familiar with the book:

After many years of counseling, Dr. Chapman noticed a pattern: everyone he had ever counseled had a “love language,” a primary way of expressing and interpreting love. He also discovered that, for whatever reason, people are usually drawn to those who speak a different love language than their own.

 The Five Love Languages are –

• Words of Affirmation

Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.

 • Quality Time

In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.

• Receiving Gifts

Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.

 • Acts of Service

 Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most wants to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.

• Physical Touch

This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.

Terence and I took the assessment and found out we were both bilingual and we shared one language. I was primarily Word of Affirmation, then Physical Touch (I swear he converted me to this language, LOL) and he was primarily Physical Touch, then Acts of Service. It was interesting to note that we shared a language and that’s why I believe, even when we’re arguing and all else fails, he can reach out and grab my hand, or pull me close and hug me and almost everything is instantly better. And since we’re both share the language of physical touch, we don’t have to THINK about communicating that way. BUT (you know it was coming), I’m not always in touch with my other language and neither is Terence. There are times were we don’t want to touch (okay, I don’t want to touch – he pretty much ALWAYS wants to touch! see last week’s post, LOL) I want to be talked to and he can’t understand WHY I didn’t make up the bed this morning (Acts of Service) and I’m looking at him like he’s got three horns coming out of his head.

 I can sit here right now and tell you, ‘why yes my husband and I took the assessment and we’re bilingual, blah blah blah” but in the midst of an argument aka “intense fellowship” the last thing you’re thinking about is what love language you’re communicating in! So then, what do you do when you get into those moments of disagreements and no one is talking in a way the other can understand?

That’s a hard question and I don’t have an easy answer. The long answer is – you have to try to remember these types of things when things are going good. You won’t always be perfect…Lord knows I’m not, but I’m waaay better than I used to be. My thing is, I try to remember at least ONE thing/characteristic of my husband’s languages and show him that ONE thing, every day of the week. For him, it’s small as making up the bed everyday, or unplugging my flat iron or putting a new toilet paper roll on the metal thingy when I use it up (I cannot make this stuff up – these have been serious arguments in the Gibson household). For me – it’s TALKING to me. Terence, fortunately, got this really early on (I think it’s from growing up with two women in his household). He ALWAYS tells me he loves me everyday, tells me I’m beautiful most days, and shares something that affirms my soul, spirit and mind on a constant basis.

The funny thing is, it’s crazy how these two VERY opposite things = love to both of us. Terence feels most loved when I’m doing some act of service that benefits him or the household and I feel most loved when he tells me over and over again in different ways. And we both speak the same language when it comes to touch, hugs, and kisses. The main thing you have to keep in mind is, just because that doesn’t mean love to YOU, doesn’t mean it doesn’t mean love to your spouse. If you do it enough – so it will become easier and you won’t have to think “how can I say this in a way that he/she will understand and appreciate” so much. It will become more natural. After a year plus, I’ve finally started putting the toilet paper on the roll, 3 times outta 5. He knows I’m trying…so he tends to ignore the other 2 times I forget 🙂