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Sam Dobson Writes: Which Love Language Do You Speak?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Which Love Language Do You Speak?

A couple of weekends ago, Blake's mother threw us an amazing engagement party. It was the perfect opportunity for our immediate family members and our bridal party to meet. Everything went great, the decorations were beautiful, family members were more than pleasant to one another, the food was yummy, and the drinks were definitely flowing. We had a great time and we got some very generous gifts. 

Blake and I are very lax when it comes to receiving gifts. It wasn't about gifts to us and we didn't really want anyone to bring any. Of course, most people brought something for the engaged couple anyways. We are extremely grateful for every one's support, their presence at our party, and for the unnecessary gifts. Anyways, one of my best friends and bridesmaid gifted us a bottle of champagne (cheers!) and a relationship self-help book. This is a gift typical of this particular friend and I couldn't help but chuckle upon discovering it was from her. 

Blake and I were not the offended in the slightest, however, some people who aren't as open-minded as us may be. In the contrary, we were intrigued. So much so, that the very next day while we were nursing our hangovers and shoving greasy food into our stomachs, we started to read The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. We spent a few hours huddled under blankets on our couch, eating french fries in between answering questions from the "Love Language Profile" quizzes. It was very intriguing, especially because a lot of what the good Dr. wrote proved to be true, at least for us. 

The book begins by explaining how every individual speaks a different "love language". So, those actions you do to express love may not register to your partner and vice-verse. The doctor categorizes five major love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. 

  1. Word of affirmation means just that, expressing your love or desire for your partner with your words. 
  2. Quality time refers to spending time together where you actually acknowledge one another and your focus is on each other. Chapman goes on to remind us that sitting next to each other on the couch while you are browsing Facebook and your partner is watching television is not quality time. 
  3. Receiving gifts sounds like it is. Showing love is to give gifts. 
  4. Acts of service would be things like helping with the household chores or taking your partner's car for a wash and oil change. 
  5. Physical touch is more than just sex. A hug, holding hands, or a comforting pat on the back can be a signal of love.  
To me, this explanation of language barriers in relationships makes sense. If my primary love language is quality time and my partner's is acts of service, it won't register in my mind that when he helps me with the dishes he is expressing love. I would feel loved when he goes on a hike with me or wants to play a board game with me. The concept is simple. 

In reality, my highest scoring love language was quality time, Blake's was physical touch. So if I am too tired to have sex, in my mind it's just that, simply me not feeling up for it. In his mind it means more, maybe even that I don't love him. Lucky for me, my significant other always wants to spend time with me. He frequently suggests we go to a concert or take the dogs on a long walk. That is partially why I always feel loved by him. 

I know that a lot of self-help books are full of crap, but some have little gems of great advice. This is one of those books. I'm not saying that you should take every word written in this book to heart and live by it, but it does make some pretty sound sense in my mind about how we can hit a road block when expressing our love to each other. Remember the saying "your actions speak louder than your words". If your relationship is in a rut or if you are just curious, you may want to pick up this little book and find out which love language you and your spouse speaks. If nothing else, it may open up the discussion of both your needs. Communication is key and if you don't know what means most to your spouse in the way of expressing love, you better find out. 

Feeling loved, 



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