I’ve recently seen a lot on social about “Love Languages” and it made me wonder… Have I been speaking my love language backwards to everyone I fall for?
What am I missing about how to express my love language? Am I choosing to let those who don’t care to learn my love language have my love anyway?
I had to get to the bottom of this, so I did some research (something I am not particularly good at but plan on improving on).
As it turns out, there’s a book all about this by Dr. Gary Chapman. There are five main love languages; Words of Affirmation, physical Touch, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time and Acts of Service.
There’s a tests to find out what kind of love language you speak; before taking the test I decided to make a prediction. I believed my languages to be “words of affirmation”. I based this one the fact that material things have never meant much to me, I don’t need anyone to do something for me, physical touch is a close second but if someone speaks positivity to me and encourages me, reminds me of who I am in a positive and reassuring light I will love them until the sky collapses. I will speak any language of love they want because I feel full.
After doing the test I wasn’t surprised to find I was right. My first love language is “Words of affirmation”
The direct definition that was provided was “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. You thrive on hearing kind and encouraging words that build you up”
To me this was spot on; my runner up is “quality time” and in third “acts of service”. A bit surprised when I saw “acts of service” as my third but then I understood better that it is more like kind gestures or me being let down by failed commitments or broken promises.
Physical touch was my second last and I was a bit surprised by that. I really love physical touch but it does not translate to love for me; I can understand why based on past experiences so it makes a bit more sense.
Last was “receiving gifts” as I presumed; thoughtful or not gifts don’t really translate to love for me. When I was a child my father adorned us with gifts as well my grandparents but it never really translated to love for me as a child it almost felt like the easy way out. While I understand now that I am older that may not be the case as I have been in relationships with those who only know how to express their love in monetary ways.
I encourage you to take the test and understand what love language you speak. Think about the people you love afterward and understand what their language may be. Where do your disconnects lay if you have any.
The other day I came across this quote and I think it falls under “quality time” as it reinforces spending time with a loved one to understand them better. Learning a person comes with patience and time.
“Understanding your partners childhood traumas is a love language”
It particularly sat with me as I considered all the things about my past that I don’t tell others. Accepting love and feeling accepted are particularly hard for me. The feeling of being good enough and worthy heavily stem from my childhood. While I had the most loving and understanding mother I had a very difficult time with my father. I loved him so much all my life and tried my hardest to always impress him but never felt validated. I understand that everyone has their own way of loving and perhaps he loved me the best way he knew how but he wasn’t loving me the way me as a child needed. That was the start of my disconnect with myself and I’ve watched it ripple from one relationship to another, with school, friends, lovers and with myself.
My understanding is that love languages are not limited to intimate lover but also the love you share between friends and family. It is important to offer those around you what they need to feel whole. It’s also important to understand if you cannot provide that you provide what you best know how and that may be the limitations of your love shared.
I wish I had found this a long time ago, perhaps I could have saved heartbreak, arguments, confusion and misunderstandings. Sometimes it takes a little self reflection to better understand those around you.