I can imagine most of you have heard of Dr. Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages. But just in case you haven’t heard about it, the premise is simple: Chapman says that there are five distinct languages that people use to express love: WORDS OF AFFIRMATION • QUALITY TIME • RECEIVING GIFTS • ACTS OF SERVICE • PHYSICAL TOUCH (for more info on the Love Languages and the books, go this page).
I really enjoy reading Dr. Chapman’s books. I’ve read the Five Love Languages for Singles, Five Love Languages of Children (while I may not have my own children yet, I wanted to learn how to adjust to my nephews), The Five Languages of Apology, and The Love Languages of God.
My love languages have slightly changed since the first time I came across the books (By the way, if you don’t know what your primary and secondary love languages are, take the test here.) I took the test again today, and here’s what came out:
Words of Affirmation: 9
Physical Touch: 9
Quality Time: 9
Acts of Service: 2
Receiving Gifts: 1
To my surprise, quality time went up on my list (I think it’s because I now have more time to give) and now, physical touch ranks on the same level as words of affirmation (which has always been my primary language). I guess it’s because I’m a hugger. I used to not hug people as much because I was shy. Yup, I was even shy when it came to hugging members of my family! But in the past couple of years, I learned to give more hugs out freely…as long as it’s in the proper and appropriate context, haha! When it comes to my nephews, though…I hug ’em every chance I get!
I remember several insights that I picked up when I read the book:
– We usually prefer to give what we like to receive; however, it’s not always the case. I have to agree on this one. I never really noticed it before, but I’m a gift-giver. As much as possible and if resources permit, I always like to bring gifts. Birthdays, pasalubong from trips, etc. And I always like giving useful, significant, or personalized gifts. But as much as I love giving gifts, receiving gifts isn’t as important to me. So it’s good to know this insight because sometimes we make wrong assumptions about people (and ourselves, too).
– God expresses love in all 5 ways, and while we have our primary and secondary love languages, it’s helpful and important that we learn to express love in other ways as well. Especially if our loved ones expect to be loved in languages different from our own…gotta learn how to adjust! One of my nephews loves receiving gifts. It’s definitely his primary language. Whenever he sees any of us, he always asks, “Do you have a gift for me today?” That’s why I ended up buying the book about the love languages of children, because I wanted to know how to deal with that without spoiling him. Chapman recommends giving notes, and small things like stickers, because they appreciate that, too. True!
– It’s always good to take the initiative. Don’t demand that people adjust to you–take the first step and adjust to them! The Message version of the Bible says it well: “Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them.” (Matthew 7:12)
Quality time didn’t use to rank high on my list, until I learned that quality time isn’t so much the number of hours you spend with someone. The more important part is what you do when you’re with that person. Do you give that person your full attention, or are you distracted with work or texting or using the internet? Do you spend time doing things that only you like doing or do you make the effort to spend time on things that the other person enjoys doing? For instance, I could spend time dragging my nephew around with me to pay my bills, but I don’t think he’d enjoy it at all! Another thing I learned (I’m not sure if I heard it from one of the pastors or Anthony Pangilinan or Ardy Abello): you need quantity time to give quality time. Meaning, you have to deliberatly make time in your schedule to be able to enjoy quality time with the people that you love.
I’m thankful that God shed light on that area of my life, because I realized how important quality time is. Next up, I want to learn to practice the ‘acts of service’ language some more.
What about you? What are your top love languages and what language do you want to work on? :)