- Katie Hodge
Pages From My Journal: 5 Love Languages
Updated: Feb 3
The concept of the 5 love languages was introduced to me via Jay Shetty’s podcast On Purpose – based on the book written by Gary Chapman. Understanding these 5 love languages has been eye opening and I feel it’s something everyone should know about, to help both friendships and romantic relationships.
In the podcast Jay explains there are certain types of communication & connections that will resonate with us deeper and more meaningfully when experiencing love than others. Let’s start by listing out the love languages Gary Chapman outlined:
1. Words of Affirmation
We feel loved if someone acknowledges us, gives us praise, tells us we are doing well. We feel appreciated with words, encouraged and supported. Words need to be truthful, genuine and specific. They can be in any form, a compliment over breakfast, a reassuring phone call before a big meeting, or a check in text when you need it.
2. Physical Touch
This would be any sort of communication which isn’t verbal. Comforting touch – a kiss on the forehead or a long loving hug. Maybe confidence touch - for example holding hands or a calming hand on your shoulder to know someone is there for you.
Receiving gifts can be anything from a big birthday gift or a small sentimental bouquet of flowers. Gifts can take many forms, they can be expensive or free, can be surprises or to mark an occasion.
4. Quality Time
Giving your attention to someone on a 1-1 basis, creating space free of distraction where you can connect. No phones or technology, just actively listening and being present, truly interested in what the other person has to say.
5. Acts of Service
Helping someone out by supporting them with a chore or activity, looking out for them. Maybe running an errand when you know they’ve got a lot on, or cooking dinner after a stressful day.
The first step is to identify our own love language. So take a moment to read through the 5 ways to feel love, and see which resonated most, think about what a friend or partner does that makes you happiest and most loved and what category this action sits under. Then rank them in priority order. It is our responsibility to work out how we want to be loved first before we can expect anyone else to understand how to love us. Often we expect our partners and friends to be mind readers and assume they know what we need, getting frustrated if they don’t act in a way we want them to – but how can we put such pressure on other people when often we don't know how we want to be loved or haven't communicated this to them.
I thought I’d take the time to do this exercise myself and share my list with you, ranking 1 (top priority) to 5 (lowest priority):
1. Quality Time
2. Acts of Service
3. Physical Touch
4. Words of Affirmations
Thinking about and writing this list really helped me to process what I find important and I’m sure this will be useful for current and future relationships. It now makes sense to me why I’ve always had a resistance to gifts - I don’t really recognise this as a way of showing love and feel so much pressure with gift buying, finding the process stressful and unnecessary. Spending quality time with someone resonates so much more, I feel that if someone wants to spend quality time with me this shows that they love and care about me. I’ve always seen gifts as ‘buying love’ whereas giving time is a way of ‘earning love’. However now I understand that this is a very personal view that has been skewed by my life experiences and will completely differ from one person to the next.
When going through these 5 love languages make sure you are true to yourself, if words of affirmation is at the top – then it’s at the top, don’t order by what you ‘think’ it should be.
Once you have this list, now it’s time to ask the question to those in our lives who we love, because if we don’t do this important second step then we will continue to give others around us love in the way that we want to receive it.
In the podcast episode Jay states that from his experience
"real love is figuring out how someone wants to be loved and then loving them that way"
There is so much disengagement in relationships due to not knowing what the other person wants and needs. Ask someone you love to rank the love languages from 1 to 5 and then share with each other and discuss how more love can be brought into the relationship.
“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.” Morrie Schwartz
Jay goes onto say “What our parents did or didn’t give us is what we expect from our partners”. This is so true, have a think about your upbringing in comparison to your love language list – think about how your parents did or didn’t give you love and how this might have made an impact. It’s a great opportunity to talk to your partner about your list and how it is linked to your upbringing as this gives them an idea of the context behind the requests.
I hope this has been helpful and that you can share this blog with your loved ones and its sparks a conversation about love languages.
I’ll be in touch again next week with more snippets from my journal.
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