You Want Me To Do What?
Which language do you speak? I’m talking about Love Language. This is the notion that everyone experiences feeling loved and appreciated in different ways – but that those ways could be slotted into one of five bins. The original concept was published in a book called The 5 Love Languages. In brief, the languages are catagorized as:
- Quality Time – people here feel most loved when a partner focuses time and attention.
- Gifts – people in this bin feel loved when a partner offers gifts.
- Words of Affirmation or Affection – these people need verbal praise in order to feel loved and appreciated.
- Physical Touch – this group requires physical affection before they feel loved
- Acts of Service – Acts of Service people feel loved when someone performs a service for them – this could be a chore, or something as simple as making tea, but if there’s any hint of martyrdom in the loved one performing the service, it won’t count.
You can tell which type you are by how you approach your loved ones. The way in which you express your affection is most likely to be the way in which you would like to have affection expressed TO you. It’s likely that if you trace back through your life, you’ll find that your template for expressing and experiencing love was laid down in childhood. For the record, I’m a combination of Quality Time and Acts of Service – these were the ways my birth family handled relationships.
My husband is distinctly a Words of Affirmation or Affection person. Guess what I’m bad at doing? Yeah, that would be coming up with some sunshiny thing to say to anybody – not just him. Guess what he loathes doing. That’s right. Anything on earth that smacks of ‘chore’. His notion of quality time never ever involves hanging out with me, chatting, while we polish the miles of rusting stainless steel on the boat.
Of course neither of us is wrong. We each simply have different needs. The hard part is learning a partner’s love language when that language isn’t your own.
It’s interesting stuff and I rarely see it used in romance novels as a device to heighten conflict. I include my own books in that summation. Maybe because when we live with someone who has a different love language in real life, we want our characters to have it a bit easier than we do. Except, that isn’t really our jobs as writers. We’re supposed to make things hard on characters.
Yes, some days, I do wonder how people speaking different love languages ever manage to get together, date, fall in love, get and then stay married. But it happens. Often enough that someone could write a book that became a self-help best seller.
Interested in which language you speak? There’s a super-short online quiz for that. 😀