There is a very interesting book by Gary Chapman entitled “The Love Languages of God”. Chapman talks about how we hear and see each other in terms of the languages of love. He believes that love is not a solo experience; love requires both a lover and a responder. Love is a matter of the heart, the soul, not ritual or religion.
Chapman discusses the five love languages in terms of human relationships. One of his fundamental beliefs is that in order to learn to hear and speak love languages, one must first have the “will” to love. People who choose not to love are never happy people. Their lack of love hurts not only the other person, but it atrophies their own souls. People who refuse to love live on the edge of desperation; if this state continues, eventually they lose their zest for life and living.
To live life fully and enjoy the experience – we need to make the “love connection”. We need to choose to love. He is not talking here of the sexual aspect of love, but of the purer emotion that governs all kinds of human relationships – between spouses, parents and children, boss and employees, among one’s barkada, relationships in community.
Chapman lists five basic languages of love. They are: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. There may be many dialects but only these five basic languages.
Each of us has a primary love language, one that speaks more deeply to us emotionally than the other four. Human relationships are greatly enhanced when we learn to speak the other person’s love language and not insist only on speaking in our own love language. True companionship occurs when both of you understand and demonstrate each other’s primary love language, plus a sprinkle of the other four, too. However, if you don’t speak a person’s primary love language, she (or he) will not feel loved even though you may be speaking some of the other languages.
Words of Affirmation. Using words to affirm the other person is a key way to express love. “You look nice in that shirt. … You did a good job with that assignment. … Thanks for cleaning up your room. … The supper was great! … You look much better in that hair cut.” Affirmations may focus upon the person’s behavior, physical appearance, or personality. The words may be spoken, written, or even sung.
Quality Time. This is giving someone your undivided attention wherein you focus on the other person, not on what you should be doing elsewhere. The important thing is not the activity itself, but that the two of you have time together. When you give someone quality time, you are giving him/her a part of your life. It is a deep communication of love.
Gifts. Gifts say, “I am thinking about you.” For some people, nothing makes them feel more loved than receiving a gift, even a simple inexpensive gift of a flower, or a colored stone found on the beach. They will treasure it because you thought of them.
Acts of Service. Doing something that you know the other person would like for you to do is an expression of love. The person who speaks this language is always looking for things he can do for others.
Physical Touch. There is a deeply emotional content in a warm hug, lending your shoulder for the other to cry on, giving your spouse a neck rub, saying good-night to your children with a kiss.
Check out how you relate with others by trying to understand what love language they are speaking. And, of course, learn what your own primary love language is, too. Life becomes much more meaningful and exciting when both of you understand each other from the heart.
Discussion and Sharing Pointers
1. What do you believe is your primary love language? Why?
2. Ask the others in your action group if they confirm or differ in saying that that is your love language. What are their reasons?
3. How will understanding the different love languages, languages of the heart, help you nourish and strengthen your personal relationships with other people: in your family, in the BCBP community, in your workplace?