This summer my husband and I celebrated 24 years of marriage. Early in our marriage, after we bought our first house, he often asked if I wanted to go with him to Lowe's. Typically I was in the middle of doing something, and his question baffled me.
My emotional intelligence was relatively low back then, so I can't tell you what my facial expression looked like -- but it likely said "that's a stupid question" because here's what I was thinking:
I don't need anything from Lowe's.
He doesn't need my help with anything at Lowe's.
I'm doing something important.
Why in the world would I stop and go with him to Lowe's?
As you can likely guess, my answer was usually, "No."
A few years later, we learned about the 5 Love Languages (by Gary Chapman). It was eye opening!
We each have a "language" of love -- ways we naturally show love and recognize the loving behaviors of others.
Think of it like this. If I express my great love for you in Italian -- and you don't speak Italian -- my words will not mean anything to you. I could try all day long to tell you of my care and admiration, but you would just hear sounds. The Love Languages are similar. When we don't "speak" the same Love Language, we need to translate in order to understand.
My husband's top Love Language is quality time. When he asked if I wanted to go to Lowe's, in his Love Language, he was saying:
I love you and want to spend time with you.
I need to run an errand, and it would be so much more fun if you were with me.
I know you're in the middle of something, but might your love for me compel you to put that on hold and spend quality time with me?
If he had said those words, I would have said yes to his request! And once we learned about Love Languages, I learned to translate his requests for quality time -- into something I could understand and respond to.
So, what is your Love Language?
- Acts of service
- Quality time
- Affirming words
You can take a self-assessment at 5LoveLanguages.com
Or consider this:
How would you complete this sentence?
I feel loved when …
Specific examples are helpful because the Love Languages have "dialects." One person's version of quality time, for example, may be very different from another person's!
Knowing your top Love Languages and the Love Languages of those you love will help you give and receive love more effectively. Because our Love Languages are very different, this has been hugely impactful for my husband and I!
And this concept is not limited to romantic relationships. It's just as applicable to family members and friends....
Curious how these concepts may apply to the work environment? Gary Chapman and Paul White wrote "The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace" -- to "translate" the application of Love Languages to the workplace.