The other day, some of my friends were talking about “The Five Love Languages” written by Dr. Gary Chapman. According to his theory, there are 5 ways in which most people register another’s expression of love: (1) Words of Affirmation; (2) Quality Time; (3) Receving Gifts; (4) Acts of Service or (5) Physical Touch. If you go to www.5lovelanguages.com you can actually take a quick test to assess your own love language.
It was of no surprise to me that what matters to me most is quality time, and what matters to me least are gifts or acts of service. I am used to being quite independant and getting my own things, much to the chagrin of many past dates, but time spent together is what I treasure most, and sadly it is so hard to find these days. Juggling work and family obligations leaves us all with very little spare time, yet I firmly believe that when the right one comes along, we will make the time.
For those who have already found their life partner, it might still be worth exploring how you express your love versus how your partner wishes you to show your love, because the two may not be the same. Learning what the other one needs and perhaps adapting your behavior to help meet that need is perhaps the greatest act of kindness, which will benefit both parties. This can also be applied in a parent-child relationship. For example, my son takes our quality time for granted right now, and he is not a big fan of hugs, but I know he loves receiving words of affirmation. Trained as a gymnast/dancer, who was always criticized by coaches and judges on a quest for perfection, giving compliments is not something that comes naturally to me, but because I realize my son needs words of praise, over the past few years I have transformed my vocabulary into one full of accolades.
Transformation is not easy, and it will take time. Be patient with yourself and others as you try to learn each other’s love languages. There will undoubtedly come points of frustration– that is normal. Enduring relationships of any kind are usually quite challenging, but just keep in mind that the best things in life rarely come easily.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.