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When I think over all of my relationships, I think of all of the many instances of misunderstanding or bruised feelings that could have been remedied in such a simple way: by using the power of the 5 love languages.
Like a lot of people I know, I went through most of my life (until I was in college) not knowing what a love language was. I’d never even heard the term until about 4 years ago.
I talk briefly in this post on how introverts can improve their relationships that finally understanding what my unique love language is had a significant impact on my relationships, particularly my relationship with my mom.
My mother and I have completely different love languages — which is often what happens among different relationships, with different personality types involved. For the longest time, her love language was giving and receiving gifts (although she believes as she’s gotten older that this has changed). Throughout my childhood, she would try her best to make sure I got whatever I asked for or wanted. #onlychildsyndrome
This was just me being a kid. When you’re 5 years old and see a toy you want, of course you ask for it. She showed her love to me by buying me a variety of gifts.
Note: Our love language is not just how we receive love but also how we usually give love as well.
The only problem?
Receiving gifts wasn’t how I received love.
See where I’m going with this?
My love language (as I would later learn) is quality time, not giving or receiving gifts. You can see how this could get tricky.
We try to have the best of intentions, don’t we? We attempt to give and show our love to those closest to us, but we end up giving our love in the way that feels right to us. Often, we try to show our love using our own love language, not in the other person’s love language.
All those hurt feelings or misinterpreted actions from family members and friends are starting to make sense now, aren’t they?
Before we go any further, let’s talk about what a love language actually is.
What is a love language?
I first heard about love languages a few years ago during my junior year of college. The idea was so fascinating that I subsequently wrote a midterm paper on the subject because I’m nerdy like that.
If you’re unfamiliar with the topic of love languages, lemme break it down for ya.
Pastor and marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman authored his first book in his Love Language series titled The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts, which became a New York Times bestseller.
In his book, Chapman describes the 5 basic love languages that are unique to each individual:
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch.
Words of Affirmation: This love language uses and receives words as an affirmation and show of love.
Acts of Service: This love language uses and receives appropriate actions (such as mowing the lawn or doing laundry) as a show of love.
Receiving Gifts: This love language uses and receives gifts as a show of love.
Quality Time: This love language uses and receives undivided attention as a show of love.
Physical Touch: This love language uses and receives appropriate touch as a show of love.
Chapman explains how your love language influences relationships — for better or worse. You can visit www.5lovelanguages.com to discover your own love language and take advantage of some of the available free resources, such as the blog and free study guides.
To date, Chapman’s book has sold over 11 million copies, and over 15 million people have used his tools to help discover their own unique love languages to improve their lives and relationships.
I want to take a moment to state that I am in no way affiliated with Dr. Gary Chapman. But I will always share resources that I love and have used and believe my audience could benefit from. This is one of those resources. I deeply believe in Dr. Chapman’s books and their power to facilitate a transformation in relationships between romantic partners, family, and friends. If you’re in need of restoration in a relationship, I believe this is a wonderful opportunity and place to start.
How do you determine your unique love language?
Dr. Chapman has created an incredibly useful tool to help others discover their love language through the use of a short, multiple choice test. You can take Chapman’s love language test right here.
Go on, you know you want to. I’ll wait.
Based on the answers you provide, you will be given a unique profile made up of the 5 love languages I listed above. Each love language is rated on a scale of 0 to 12. For instance, if you take the test and rate a 9 in words of affirmation, and that is your highest score compared to the other 4 areas (acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch) then words of affirmation would be your primary love language. If you score similarly across all 5 areas, think about how you express your love to others. That is more than likely your primary love language.
How do you use your unique love language?
By now you probably have realized that understanding your love language is not just for those who are in romantic relationships. Dr. Chapman realized this as well when he had fans of his work tell him that although his original book had helped them, they wanted a book written specifically for singles. He later came out with The 5 Love Languages Singles Edition, The 5 Love Languages Men’s Edition, The 5 Love Languages of Children, The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers, and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition (all pictured below).
After taking the love language test online, I discovered that my unique love language is quality time. Seriously, I will hang out all day with you if you let me. 🙂 I love just chillin’ with my favorite people; we don’t even really have to be doing anything. I love just being around them and all their good, fun energy. My second highest number was for words of affirmation.
I was honestly blown away by how accurate my results were…I was actually brought to tears as I thought about some of the relationships in my life that could benefit from understanding love languages. Immediately, I had my mom take the love languages test online, and we compared our results. Suddenly, years of misunderstanding and failed attempts at communication made sense. We were simply acting out our own love languages without knowing and learning about each others’!
It’s key to always keep in mind that how one person expresses and feels love is not necessarily how another person feels love. (Tweet this!)
After we discussed our results, we knew what each other needed in terms of connection and love. Our relationship has never been better.
Since then, my best friends and I have all compared our love languages and explained how we felt that they were a true indication of how we give and receive love. Our results from Dr. Chapman’s love language test available on his website were spot on! Knowing your love language isn’t about forming a deeper or more stable connection in your romantic relationships; instead, it improves the quality of ALL of your relationships. Since sharing our results with each other, my girl friends and I have improved our friendships and understand each other even better now! It’s incredible how learning this one aspect about another person can have such an impact on the way you care for them and interact.
(Psst! Download the accompanying workbook for this post below!)
Using the power of the 5 love languages for introverts
I believe knowing your love language is especially crucial for those of us who are introverted. As introverts, we don’t always speak up for our needs and desires as often as we should. Instead, our inclination toward quietness often speaks volumes. We may be giving off a different vibe than we intend, such as indifference or boredom. But it’s not because we don’t care — we just communicate differently.
Understanding the concept of love languages can help show you where you might be slacking in your relationships with others, possibly made even more apparent by being an introvert.
It’s okay, boo. It happens.
Learning how to love others (and yourself!) better is a good place to start. When you know yourself, how you work and how you receive love, you’re better equipped to show someone else how to love you. (Tweet this!)
Related: Confessions of an Introvert (part 1)
On the 5 love languages website, Dr. Chapman also includes tests to help you discover your apology profile (definitely recommend!) and appreciation profile, and provides a test for an anger assessment, which I found to be very eye opening not gonna lie, haha.
If you want to learn more about specific issues regarding relationships, check out the 5 love languages blog, which covers a variety of topics from anxiety and communication to patience and sex.
If you’re the type of person who likes to multitask and do several things at once (girl, I feel you), you may like the Building Relationships podcast with Dr. Chapman. According to Chapman’s website:
Building Relationships is a weekly 54-minute radio program offering life-changing insight and realistic advice rooted in the Word of God. Hosted by bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman along with Chris and Andrea Fabry.
One of my favorite aspects of any book is the story behind the characters or actions. We each have a unique story to tell, and Chapman features a few of these stories from past couples who have used his works to rebuild their own relationships.
I can’t recommend Dr. Chapman’s book enough. It’s powerful and has the ability to help repair broken relationships. If you do nothing else after reading this blog post, I sincerely hope you choose to read his book and take the love languages discovery test online.
You won’t regret it, friend!
In February’s newsletter, I wrote about how I sometimes suck at relationships. As an introvert with mild social anxiety , I don’t always put myself out there in situations that I know will make me uncomfortable. Heart-to-hearts with friends or difficult but necessary conversations with family members…I try to steer clear.
But we all want to be understood and loved through our messiness and our imperfections. What we don’t always realize is that the process to be understood and loved starts with us. The work begins with learning more about ourselves and learning how to love ourselves better.
Only then can we teach others how to love us.
Are you ready to start doing your work?
Download the Love Languages Guided Discussion Workbook to get started on your own love language journey.
Did you take the 5 love languages test? What were your results? Do your current relationships (romantic or otherwise) need some TLC? Leave me a comment below and let me know if this post was helpful for you!