What love language do you speak?

Love- Pralinen mit Herz I was discussing with a client the other day about conflicts in relationships, in particular child/parent relationships and how the language of love can cause some of the conflicts. The way you (the parent) demonstrates love may not match the way your child (can also insert spouse) likes to receive the message of love. “Isn’t love, love?” I hear you ask. Well yes love is love but the way you demonstrate it or convey your message of love can vary.

In Dr Gary Chapman’s book “The Five Love Languages“, he describes the different ways that you can express love:

  • Quality Time
    • Love Language Quality TimeThis is about spending time with your child/spouse, listening to them, eye contact, playing the games they wish to play or going for a walk. Finding out what it is that they would like to do and then do it with them.
  • Gifts
    • As this suggests the child/spouse that speaks this love language likes to receive gifts, however it is gifts purchased specifically with them in mind, personalised and individual. The gifts do not necessarily have to be expensive.
  • Physical Touch
    • Love Language Physical TouchThis could be hugs, holding hands, touching your loved one on the back as you walk past or sitting close as you watch the TV, all which says to the receiver “I love you”.
  • Acts of Service
    • This is doing things for your child/spouse that help them out like making their lunch, washing their clothes or doing a chore that they don’t like.
  • Words of Affirmation
    • Love Language WordsThis is not only about saying “I love you” but also complementing,
      praising and encouraging your child/spouse. This also involves the written word, so leaving a note for them to find, writing them a letter or sending them an SMS. As words are so important to these people unkind words or criticism will hurt very deeply.

You can visit Dr Chapman’s website to find out what your love language is or you can answer these questions:

  1. How do I express love to others?
  2. What do I complain most about?
  3. What do I request most often?

Love Language GiftsSo how can demonstrating your love for your child or spouse cause conflict? Let me give you an example. I have two children and my love language is physical touch. My daughter’s love language is also physical touch so I find it very easy to demonstrate my love for her as ‘we speak the same language’. However my son does not appreciate physical displays of affection. At first I found this vary challenging as he would move away from the hugs and I saw it as he was not accepting my love and therefore did not love me in return. Observing him, I found that what really made him happy was spending time together – quality time or gifts. My son has two equal ways that he likes to receive love. Learning what his love languages are means that I now look for ways to either spend time with him and he really ‘lights up’ when we do one on one things or little gifts every now and again.

If the child or spouse does not receive your message of love via the way they wish to receive it then they can feel that they are not loved or appreciated and in the case of children they may view that you love their sibling/s more than them.

Remember you where once a child also, did your parents demonstrate their love for you using your language of love or the love language they where comfortable expressing, which is usually the love language they wish to receive? Do you know what love language those close to you speak and are you demonstrating your love for them in their language?

In good health, Vicki

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