You can give and receive love in 5 different ways. It was Gary Chapman who introduced this notion in his bestseller “The 5 Languages of Love.”
Knowing these forms of expression of love (physical touch, meaningful words, quality time, gifts and services rendered) is essential to building healthy and fulfilling social relationships . Indeed, each person has a language that is more sensitive to him than the other four.
Knowing another person’s preferred language and focusing your efforts on using it will make it easier to fill your “love tank”. She will feel fully loved.
And when someone opposite feels loved, it’s easier
- to deepen and preserve the relationship with her
- to influence him
Knowledge of these 5 languages of love also allows us to learn to love with languages that we do not master and to learn to receive a language that we do not appreciate.
Moreover, understanding this concept allows you to analyze yourself .
“Was the relationship with my parents bad because I never received words of appreciation from them?” “If my wife complains that I don’t give her enough gifts, does that mean I don’t love her enough?”
Too often, misunderstandings on this level are at the root of misunderstandings. We can love without the other feeling it or not feel loved when this is the case. So it’s time to fix all that.
Let’s go !
1. Words of appreciation
Psychologist William James said “The deepest principle of human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”
Words of appreciation are a language that allows us to express our love through our words and in a very direct way.
They can be of various types. We then speak of dialects. Here are a few:
- Words of encouragement
- kind words
This language is one of those that I like the most. As soon as I hear it, it fills my reservoir of love and I gain a little self-confidence.
I remember in Shanghai, a hairdresser once called me “handsome.” Of course, she told almost everyone every customer. But even knowing that made me feel beautiful and valued.
Try to communicate a little more love by speaking pleasant words. You will see the benefits very quickly.
Thank your mother or your wife for the good meal she prepared. Even if it’s the 25,000th time you’ve eaten this same dish and it was prepared the same way.
Even at the McDonald’s cashier. Don’t hesitate to say thank you with a big smile. The next customer will thank you.
Be careful, however, not to try to manipulate by being dishonest. Saying it without meaning it can destroy your image and give the impression of not being a sincere person.
In Chinese culture, we often fight to refuse a gift.
Me, I grew up in a family environment without the culture of gifts. A polite child was a child who refused everything that was given to him out of courtesy. To the point that today, it makes me uncomfortable to receive gifts. It bothers me that people have made this effort, which I consider to be a costly sacrifice (at least in time). I also tell myself that I did not deserve this gift…
On the other hand, giving gifts, I like relatively well. Even if the choice of the gift, my budget and the packaging are obstacles! :p
I once heard a friend say that the moment she unwrapped the gift, she could feel how much time the other had spent choosing that gift. That by opening it, she felt all the affection and tenderness that the other person had wanted to communicate to her. Giving a gift can be extremely powerful in conveying love. Provided that it is the language of the love of the other.
Be careful, however, not to use the gift as an excuse or as a reward for something. The father who travels all the time and who offers big gifts to his children to try to compensate for his absence, it does not work. The child feels that this is an attempt at redemption. Using the gift as a reward for a deserving act does not quite fit into this framework either. Example: a boss who pays his employee.
A gift doesn’t have to be expensive either. What matters is the attention paid to the other .
3. Services rendered
I was recounting the time when I forced someone’s hand a little to help him. It was the (clumsy) expression of a feeling of love.
I think it’s obvious that we men more easily use the service rendered as a weapon to show our affection. It’s a concrete, tangible and not too awkward way to do it. We sometimes even believe we can disguise our feelings through this technique. I’m telling you: it doesn’t work! Girls are smarter than you think. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing.
On the other hand, as soon as it is a question of expressing feelings not in love, then there, it is the international laziness which invades us. How many times have I done the dishes on my own initiative instead of my mother?…Seriously? Not more than once! (I believe it is 0).
Too often we take things for granted because we grew up with them. It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I really realized how much my mother expressed her love for me by doing household chores and cooking for me. Now that I have to take care of myself on my own, I really realize how tiring it is…
If we opened our eyes and our minds a little more, we would realize that love is much more present around us than we think …
Furthermore, the misunderstanding of this language of love can have very painful effects. Take the example of a husband who works hard at the office and comes home late every night to earn money to support his family. He believes he is showing love for his wife by providing financial security (which is important) as she feels the need for quality time (see next point). The fight will happen sooner or later if no one understands what is going on: everyone tries to impose their own language of love on the other.
4. Quality time
Quality time is generally the most valued of the languages of love . It is about the time we spend with a person. Regardless of the activity in progress, what matters is to find yourself with the other and to be able to discuss, share and feel the presence of the person you love. I am often teased about the fact that I always want to go to McDo with my friends. It’s not for the burgers (only), it’s for the time of discussion and laughter that I anticipate.
In general, women appreciate this language very much. If you’re married or have a girlfriend, you know what you have to do. This is also the case for most of the women around you (mother, sister, friends…), so let’s not forget them!
There may be a tension here because of our masculine nature . On average, guys value time spent chatting or just being together doing nothing less. Let’s say rather that it takes another form. Playing video games for 2 hours without exchanging words other than jokes is quality time for us. One of the difficulties comes from the fact that we are less talkative than women. And that, some women do not understand it well.
The elderly also suffer from this lack. That’s why they often talk to themselves and chat with the Franprix cashiers (while you’re in a hurry to pay for your single can of Coke…).
Giving time to someone you are romantically in love with (girlfriend or wife) is not the same as giving time to someone you love less passionately (elderly people, family, for example). That’s why you really have to be violent sometimes.
5. Physical Touch
With a pat on the back, a handshake, a hug or a kiss, we can communicate love.
I remember my stay in Spain in a university residence. I spoke almost no Spanish and had a hard time understanding it too. After a few weeks, some Spaniards (not even drunk) passed me and gave me big hugs. The message was clear: the little Chinese (who called himself French) was welcome. It filled my tank with direct love! I then felt at ease very quickly in this place.
Physical touch is the most technically easy love language to practice . Sometimes, when I go out and don’t have the time and skills to communicate love to my father, I say goodbye to him with a pat on the back. It allows me to get closer to him physically to create a certain intimacy.
Nevertheless, it is necessary to exercise discernment before taking action. Know that it is better not to do this to girls with whom there could be a misunderstanding. Women being more sensitive to physical contact, be careful not to send them the wrong message. Some may also experience it as a violation of their safe distance. We should also know that some cultures almost never use this language.
Finally, concerning men, it is better to be quite close to someone friendly before doing it physically. It can downright create disgust otherwise.
You can take a free test to find out your love language(s) by clicking here.
Finally, you should also know that 1/4 of people do not communicate the same language of love as the one they like to receive. Maybe you prefer to receive words of appreciation, but rather like giving gifts to express your love.
Now, take the time to digest all this and above all, take action!
To learn more, I recommend the books of Gary Chapman who decline his book for different audiences: