Let's talk about the 5 Love Languages. Are you familiar with them already? In case you are not, here is a very quick recap of the book-
Each person has a "love language"- the way they show love, and the way they receive love.
The love languages are-
Words of Affection
Gift Giving/Receiving Gifts
Acts of Service
These are pretty straightforward (I think). If you want to know more about your personal love language, go check out www.5lovelanguages.com. I'm a big believer that relationships that were once successful that eventually fail or burn out, really fail because the couple didn't understand each other's love languages. That may be overstating things or underestimating many things, but that is how strongly I feel about understanding your own and your partner's love languages.
Lately I have really come to understand and appreciate the love languages more than ever before. They don't just apply in romantic relationships. They apply within families, with friends, and in romance. I've really started to appreciate how love languages within a family can color our expectations in others as well.
We have a family story about one of my aunts who in her newlywed years got sick. While she was praying to the porcelain gods, her new husband came in to "help" her - by shutting the bathroom door. She was used to her father (my grandfather) who was a prime example of "words of affection" and "quality time." He was the kind of father who would sit and hold his daughter's hair as she hung over a toilet. Her new husband? Not so much. My aunt was convinced her new husband didn't love her because he didn't do what her father would have done for her.
My grandfather and my father are both "words of affection" types. No woman ever entered a room without my grandfather stopping the conversation to point her out and how well she looked. I'm sure each of my cousins and aunts reading this are smiling to themselves because they know I am right. He would always stop a conversation, hold out his hand to display her, and say, "Doesn't she just light up a room? Isn't she just lovely?" You could be having the worst hair day of your life, and my grandfather could still make you feel like the prettiest girl in the state. My dad has also inherited this trait. While he may not stop conversations to pay compliments, he still loves to send notes or letters of affection. I can't think of one important, or even semi-important event in my life where my dad didn't send me a little note, card, text, or email of support and love first.
A girl can get spoiled with all those words of affection!
But then a girl grows up, enters the harsh cruel world of dating, and discovers not every guy in this world speaks "words of affection." And she'll spend the rest of her life trying to figure out what love language he does he speak, and trying to accept it.
But like I said, the love languages are much more than just about romantic relationships. I've learned that with "Little" it is all about giving her quality time, and gift giving. She doesn't care if I give her 5 minutes or 5 hours worth of time, as long as all the time I give her is just about her. Also, it doesn't hurt to attempt to buy her love with little presents. I've also noticed she LOVES to give me little presents that she makes.
I know that I have inherited the "acts of service" love language from my mother. I can't even count how many times she has gone out of her way to come over and do something for me. Or how every summer when I'd go off to camp I'd come home to find she had redecorated my bedroom (new paint, linens, everything). Or how she'll stay up all night to paint, or sew, or fix something for you. Service is her love language. And as you can see from my test scores above, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
(I actually have to laugh at "quality time" versus "acts of service." To be honest, I barely know the difference between the two things. If you have someone's time, you should be doing something good with it!)
So my question to you, gentle readers, is this-
When you encounter someone in your life who speaks a very different love language from yours, have you been able to adapt and accept their language and feel fulfilled? Have you ever been able to change your ways and show love in their language to their satisfaction? Or have you ever been able to receive someone else's love language and feel happy? (By that I mean, be able to believe/trust/accept their way of showing love and actually feeling loved.)
I truly love studying and understanding the love languages in different relationships. I'd love to hear your feedback on what you think and how you have seen them applied.