The Five Love Languages is a 1995 book by Gary Chapman. It outlines five ways to express and experience love that Chapman calls “love languages”.
Chapman suggests that to discover another person’s love language, one must observe the way they express love to others, and analyze what they complain about most often and what they request from their significant other most often. He theorizes that people tend to naturally give love in the way that they prefer to receive love.
Words of affirmation | Physical Touch
My ten-year-old son tells me at least six times a day that I’m the best mother ever and that he loves me with all of his ‘whole’ heart. Whenever he says it he runs to me for hugs and kisses. It starts when he wakes up, continues before school, after school and into bedtime.
He reminds me that I am not affirming him enough. He shares his love in words and physical touch.
The challenge is to affirm his worth and edify his heart, so that as he continues his transition to manhood, he is able to affirm himself. It is important he not seek acceptance from the world in all their varied definitions of worthiness.
Acts of Service
When I am working, my oldest, fourteen, often approaches me from behind to scare and tickle me, saying “Watch your six Mom!” I scream and curse (he always scares me), he laughs, then hugs me, kisses my cheek and walks away. He loves to cook. He’s moved from cooking only on weekends to nearly daily meals, some standard, some concocted. All done in love and joy.
He reminds me that all meals made in love brings the gift of a smile. He shares his love in these ways.
The challenge is to remind him to ensure his acts are always done in love and not for reciprocation or acceptance. To remind him that he is of source and that love is in ‘be-ing’, not ‘do-ing’.
Quality Time | Physical Touch
My twelve-year-old approaches me at the end of some days and asks, “Mom, can I give you a massage tonight?” I often say no, putting my work above his desire to share affection. He responds with a sullen look, gives me a hug and walks away. A pang of guilt flashes by. My thoughts begin to circle and I continue working, vowing to say yes, ‘next time’. Instead, I end up giving him a massage and promise to share a bike ride and personal dinner date out, just the two of us. It makes his day. He shares his love in touch and one on one time spent.
The challenge is to ensure he can find wholeness and completeness in his solitariness, with the intent that he find discernment in and purposefulness in establishing friendships and intimate relationships.
My daughter, seven, sways and gyrates to the music I have playing in the background, almost 24 hours a day. She runs to me, grabs both hands and says, “Let’s dance, Mom!” We dance. Silly out of step fun slide across the floor in our socks joyful dance. She shares her love in the spirit of freedom and timelessness of time that fades in adulthood.
The challenge is to help her maintain her freedom of self-expression while fully disengaging from the opinions and judgments the world will make of her individuality.