What's Your Love Language?

In my office I often hear couples and parents discussing ways they express love to each other and to their children. They often land in a frustrating place and then share a laundry list of things that they do to show their children or their spouse that they love them. The conversation often leads to the discovery that what they are doing for the person they love is not received as love. To really make someone else feel loved, we need to understand their love language. We need to know how they receive love. In the same way, we need to understand how we receive love. Parents and children – and spouses – often have different love languages.

Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages, helps us to understand each love language and to discover what our own love language is. The five love languages Chapman defines in his book: Physical Touch, Gifts, Acts of Service, Quality Time and Words of Affirmation. We often find that if our own love language is Physical Touch, we will work to show love through Physical Touch. The problem arises when our spouse’s or our child’s love language is Words of Affirmation, and we are working to express our love to them through Physical Touch. We may be working hard to show love, but ultimately our loved ones still do not feel loved by us because we are not expressing our love in a way that they can receive it.

We all struggle at times to really feel loved. It can be a constant battle within us, to feel that we are valued by other people in our life. If you are in a relationship and do not feel loved or if someone you love expresses to you that they don’t feel loved by you, take some time to understand your own love language. You can do this by taking this test:  Ask your loved one to do the same. Challenge yourself to better understand the love languages of those you love as well as your own. Sometimes we may have to step outside of our comfort zone in order to let those we care about feel loved in our relationship.

Understanding your own love language and those you care about is the first step in experiencing and expressing love in a way that we all feel valued.