We’ve probably all heard at some point in our lives how love is a verb, an action, a choice, not really an emotion or a feeling. Did you know love has a spoken, not necessarily verbal, language?
Actually there are 5 of them.
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
Eons ago, Tommy and I were introduced to The 5 Love Languages. It was a revolutionary concept for us in our marriage. In a way, we each have a love tank, like a gas tank in a car. When it gets empty, the car sputters and often dies. That’s a little extreme but knowing how someone’s love tank gets filled up makes life so much simpler. Well sort of… I say “sort of” because what Tommy and I have found is that each of our love languages ended up being the one that was the most challenging for the other to speak. God’s twisted sense of humor.
The 5 Love Languages can also be used in parenting once our children are old enough for us to see what their primary love language is. You can usually see their love language developing around 6 or 7 years old and then you can usually tell for sure by 8 or 9. At least that’s how it went with our kids.
Sometimes in our relationships we spin our wheels doing this or that when if we knew what filled the other’s love tank, we could focus on that area and not waste our time on the other stuff we think should be working. I could give my husband gifts until the cows come home and he’d say thank you but it would do nothing for him. But if I hold his hand or sit close beside him where our arms touch, you can see the gas gauge quickly rise. Triple bonus points for going to bed at the same time as he does. Physical Touch (no, it doesn’t just mean sex) AND Quality Time which is his secondary Love Language. Tommy knows that I know he loves me when he empties the dishwasher or changes a lightbulb or helps me with something I need to do. He gets triple bonus points if he does it without me even having to ask!!
In our marriage relationship, if we allow our love tanks to get low or run on fumes so to speak, we run the risk of allowing someone else to fill it. This is no good. Similarly in parenting our children, if we as parents don’t keep our kid’s love tanks full they will most likely find someone or something to try to fill it too. Also no good. I’m not saying this is always the case but it is a viable risk and should be taken seriously. It’s also not a full proof way of maintaining healthy relationship boundaries either. Sometimes we just make poor choices and it’s no ones fault but our own.
Take the assessment if you dare. It’s pretty a great conversation starter with your spouse or your older children.
Here are mine and Tommy’s results. They always make me laugh. The highest score you can get on any one language is 12.
Love Language Scores:
8 Words of Affirmation
7 Quality Time
2 Receiving Gifts
11 Acts of Service
2 Physical Touch
Love Language Scores:
5 Words of Affirmation
10 Quality Time
0 Receiving Gifts
4 Acts of Service
11 Physical Touch
The good thing about this is that Tommy and I never really need to be concerned with giving and receiving gifts. However, having one child whose secondary love language is Receiving Gifts, we really have to pay attention to that.
There’s also an assessment online for kids on the link above. It might be more of a challenge to figure theirs out depending on their age but learn what the gifts are all about and start paying attention to your kids and see if you can figure it out. One of the obvious signs for us in two of our kids are phrases like “play with me”, “do a puzzle with me”, “go outside with me”, etc. This would be Quality Time. When you figure out what their love language is, you can honestly quit spinning your wheels on trying to give them hugs and kisses or buying them stuff and spend 10 minutes doing a puzzle or throwing a basketball in the net and all is right with the world for them again.
It’s good stuff and it works! A friend just told me today that she finds it amazing how something so simple could make such a big difference in her marriage.
Check it out.