One of my co-workers asked me if I knew the five languages of love. At first I thought she was asking if I knew the romance languages.... French, Italian, Spanish, etc. No, she explained, the five languages of love are the primary ways in which we express our affection for others and also the ways we feel loved. They are:
- Acts of Service - expressing love through helping.
- Physical Touch - expressing love through touch.
- Gifts - expressing love through thoughtful gifts.
- Words of Affirmation - expressing love through verbal approval.
- Quality Time - expressing love through spending time with someone.
I do make some exceptions. My husband. My parents. My kids. Hugging them feels natural. I also hug family members for whom I know it's important, like my Aunt Julie. She's a hugger. I can adapt. I hug my sister when we are having a sisterly moment but not normally. She's a lot like me when it comes to hugs.
I make it a point to hug my German relatives in genetic defiance to the standoffish personality I inherited from them. As if I'm proving that the Irish and Scottish blood mixed into my gene pool makes me less uptight than them. You should see my Uncle Dieter when I hug him. For just a split second he loses that cool composure and I can see panic in his eyes.
I answered the questions below to help figure out what my primary language:
- How did you know your parents loved you, what did they do that made you know you were loved?
- When you think about experiences that have really hurt or cut you to the core, what were they?
- What do you do when you want to show someone you love them?
My father's approval was so important to me as a kid. Mostly because it was hard to get. Not complaining, just stating facts. When my father praised me it was greatest feeling in the world. Couple that with my deepest hurts in life coming from words of rejection and I have to conclude that Words of Affirmation are important to me. Makes perfect sense. I love words.... reading words, writing words, hearing them spoken by eloquent speakers. Hearing "I love you" is the sweetest sound in the world.
So, as interesting as this is, how can I make it useful in my life? Run around telling everyone to "Tell me you love me." Seems sort of egocentric. Maybe the point is to figure out the love language of the important people in my life so I can express my love for them in the language that's most important to them.