The Five Languages of Love

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on February 8, 2010

When Ray and I were newlyweds, we studied a book called The Five Love Languages. In this book, Gary Chapman explains the different ways in which people react to others, based on actions and words, thus resulting in changes in our “love tanks.”

Chapman spent an entire chapter in his book explaining how the love languages can be applied to children. He also wrote a book called The Five Love Languages of Children. Now, I haven’t read his book geared towards children, and we didn’t have children when we went through the first one, but the same lessons Ray and I learned so long ago can be applied to our children, as well. Our children need to have love tanks that are full, as well.

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According to Chapman, there are five ways in which each of us express and receive love:

  1. Quality Time
  2. Words of Affirmation
  3. Gifts
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Physical Touch

Each are pretty self-explanatory and I’m sure you could recognize which most speaks to you or your spouse just by glancing at the list, but what about your children? Which one would best describe each of their love languages?

Knowing how to identify each of the languages of love in Ray has helped me grasp how to identify them in my children. Ethan and Josh both begin to glow when Dad or I spend quality time with either of them. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time, but even just a quick conversation or little bit of undivided attention goes a long way in filling their love tanks. Zach, on the other hand, thrives on words of affirmation and encouragement. Gifts is my love language, so it’s easily recognizable in Julia as she is always making and giving gifts. And, physical touch is big for both my Ben and Noah – Both are generally always in need of a hug and Noah falls asleep with one hand on my face!

We naturally pour on all five languages when our children are young. We must spend time with them, serve them, and hug and cuddle, so as to sustain their life. We shower them with praises as they smile for the first time, burp after a feeding, and later as they begin to crawl and then walk.

As our children mature and develop personalities, however, their language of love can be a bit harder to identify. Here are a few ways to best determine which one each of our children most appreciates:

  • Observe their reaction to the different ways in which you express your love for them
  • Observe how they show their love to others
  • Listen to their requests
  • Give them options

I would love to hear which language you speak. What about your spouse and children?

It’s important to remember that if you express love in a way that is not understood, your child or spouse may not realize you’ve expressed your love at all. Chapman stresses the importance of understanding your loved ones’ language in order to keep their love tanks full.

Is your love tank full?

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

oh amanda February 8, 2010 at 8:53 am

We read this book, too. I am definitely more of an affirmation kinda girl. My hubby is physical touch. The part that is hard is that these are literally LANGUAGES. So, sometimes we are communicating so completely different we don’t understand each other. It’s like he’s speaking Japanese to me. It helps knowing WHAT his love language is so I work on it…even if it’s not my “first” language.

a

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Kendra - Chief Diva February 8, 2010 at 8:59 am

Hi Christine
Our book club is rereading this book for February. It truly is a great book for understanding how each of us gives and receives love. My love language is acts of service and words of affirmation. My husband’s is acts of service. My oldest son’s is gifts without a doubt. My daughter’s is quality time. We will see what my 1 year old’s love language will be.

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Eleanor February 8, 2010 at 9:19 am

This is such a great book! It really helped us during a rough patch in our marriage a couple years ago. It opened my eyes to help me see that I wasn’t trying as hard as I thought I was & helped guide me in a more effective direction!

:-)

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Allison February 8, 2010 at 2:34 pm

I haven’t read through all of this book, but I’ve skimmed it. My love language is words of affirmation and gifts. My hubby is quality time and touch. My son, while still young, seems to be words of affirmation and touch. He’s the perfect combo of my and my hubby. :-)

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Nicole February 8, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Christine this is certainly true. I’ve even noticed that when my children get a cold, sometimes they need their love tank full. Keeping them home from school, hot soup and extra attenion helps them bouce back quickly.

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Allison February 8, 2010 at 4:04 pm

I’m pretty sure I need to add that to my reading list. And, then I will share my findings with my boyfriend.

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The Pursuit of Mommyness February 8, 2010 at 5:13 pm

I would love to read that book! The 5 languages of love make total sense though…I am definitely affirmation, physical touch and quality time. I think my hubby is mostly physical touch. Our love tank is completely full! We do give every day, what the other needs…and it makes for a very happy marriage…but what’s really added to that is we just found out we’re pregnant with our first child!

Couldn’t be more excited!
http://thepursuitofmommyness.com/

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Beth G February 9, 2010 at 12:03 pm

My husband and I attended this book group years ago. I am acts of service and he is touch and affection. It was very interesting and we should do the study again. Some book need to be read more than once, ya know. Like Max Lucado’s 3:16. I enjoy reading his books as well.

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Robyn February 11, 2010 at 12:55 am

That is SUCH a great book! I think every person, regardless if they are in a relationship, should read that book. It really puts it all in perspective!

Plus, I LOVE that picture! Did you take it?? : )

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Elisa_Croatia April 4, 2010 at 4:16 pm

I just recently heard of this book through my friend. He explained the 5 languages and it made me think about myself. Before getting married I showed love with gifts, I wasn’t the touch, feely, verbal kind of girl. But now that I’m married I need affirmation and physical touch. My hubby is the act of service. and our daughter (2yr) loves touch and affirmation but she is soo young that right now I’m doing all 5 languages with her as it’s only normal to do this with your child. now I ‘m convinced I have to read the book with hubby.

Saludos

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