On Saturday morning, my daughter and I dutifully sat through a morning’s recollection in her school. Through the years, I’ve learned to make the most of my time in events I must attend.
The recollection’s theme was expectedly about family and relationships, and the expression of love in five languages, as taken by the recollection master from the same-titled book of inspirational speaker and relationships counselor Gary Chapman.
What exactly does Chapman speak of as the “five languages of love?”
First are “Words of Affirmation.” Often, saying and hearing the words “I love you” or “I care a lot about you,” mean the world to most people. So shout out those compliments and words of encouragement for someone you care most about. The irony is actions don’t always speak louder than words.
The love language is “Quality Time.” When you devote full, undivided attention to someone you care for. Just being there counts for the most part. We’ve seen too often how most failed family lives and marriages have been triggered by missed dates and misplaced priorities. And in the midst of our busy lives, finding time is often tenuous.
On to the third love language, “Receiving Gifts,” which underlies the virtues of thoughtfulness and sacrifice. In this language, gifts need not be grand or impressive all the time. Mind you ladies, you don’t really need diamonds to know some- one does love you. Speaking this language simply refers to gestures and outward expressions of caring and remembering special occasions, even if it’s just a favorite cup of coffee or cupcake.
The fourth love language is called “Acts of Service.” Can making dinner do the trick? Chapman believes so. In fact, anything you can do to ease the burden of responsibilities for someone can immensely make her feel loved. And the ultimate words people love to hear: “Let me do that for you.” After all, we all appreciate a helping hand here and there.
And lastly, the fifth love language is “Physical Touch.” If you think this only has to do with what happens in the bedroom, well not exactly. A person whose primary love language is physical touch is expectedly very touchy, but not intimately so. Bear hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches can show you are concerned and care for someone, and expressed often enough are reassuring gestures.
One love language may not mean that one language is better than another. Perhaps what is even more essential is to realize a significant other’s love language. Imagine what could happen if couples or family members misconstrue expressions of love? What if a partner has different expectations about how love should be spoken as words rather than touch? Relationships are often tried and tested over time, whether it’s a marriage, a parent-child relationship or a close friendship.
Maybe, relationships that do succeed start off with the acceptance that you and your loved one may speak a different love language. From then on, you learn to complement each other’s expression of love and to teach the other to speak your own. Hence, neither one has unmet expectations from the other.
That morning, as I sat beside my daughter, Beatrice, I too began to see her in a different light and realized how we both value varying shades of love languages. She, with her still uncomplicated notions of love; and I, with a more subdued appreciation of quality time. Hopefully though, we’ve both come out more keenly aware of who we are in the end.