Love In Any Language

Posted: February 17, 2012 in Love and Marriage
Tags: , , , , , ,

One of the things that made this year’s Valentine’s Day so special (even though we said we weren’t going to make a big deal out of it this year) was the way we’ve improved at speaking the languages of love.  I’m referring to the series of books by Gary Chapman which started with “The Five Love Languages,” and expanded from there.

In “The Five Love Languages,” Dr. Chapman identifies five categories through which people give and receive love.  He believes that individuals have a primary love language, much like we have a native language that we speak.  In many relationships, the two lovers have different primary love languages which leads to break-downs in being able to communicate the love that they truly do have for each other.

The five languages of love, according to Dr. Chapman are:  physical touch, acts of service, gifts, words of affirmation, and quality time.  Mine has pretty much always been words of affirmation with quality time as my secondary language.  Ceecee’s used to be gifts, but now is in close competition with physical touch.

I care very little about receiving gifts and Ceecee has never been one for words.  Understandably, that led to some problems earlier in our marriage.  When she would buy something for me, she meant to show love, but I didn’t understand that, because I wanted words and time from her.  When I would write her love letters, I meant to show love, but she didn’t get the message.

When we got back together, we realized that love couldn’t be on our terms.  If we were going to love properly, we needed to give what the other needed, not what we would have wanted for ourselves or what we were comfortable with.  Although it wasn’t natural for Ceecee to speak my love language, she chose to learn to do so.  Even though gifts don’t mean nearly as much to me, I realized that my love for Ceecee has to drive me to meet her needs, even if I don’t always understand them.

This year, during the snow day, I realized that part of what made it so beautiful was that I used all five love languages with Ceecee.  Of course I gave her gifts for Valentine’s Day.  I gave her physical touch with a full-body massage.  We spent quality time together.  I cooked a special dinner for her and pampered her (acts of service) and I gave her many affirming words by writing them on cards and by saying them to her.

The next day, she printed off a love letter that she had written to me.  It was full of affirmation and words of love and committment.  While it’s not a natural tendency for her to do something like this, she knows that it means a great deal to me.  The truth is, there’s nothing she could have bought in any store at any price that would have meant as much to me as the words in that letter.

  1. Debbie says:

    Amen. Love has many languages, but if not spoken in the dialect the other understands, it is empty. Thank you both for learning how to love the other.

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