5 Love Languages Explained
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. 1 Peter 4:10
“My husband doesn’t love me! The only time he says he loves me is when he wants something.” I have heard those words more than once, and I usually prod a bit deeper, asking questions like, “Is he faithful to you? Does he support you and the family? Does he share in the responsibilities of the house? Take care of the kids? Bathe and change the baby? Carry out the trash? Ever give you a compliment? Take you out for dinner?”
In response to those questions I usually get a majority of affirmative answers, which helps me make a point. Maybe your husband, or your boyfriend, or your parents do love you, but you are not speaking the same language.
In his book entitled, The Five Languages of Love, Dr. Gary Chapman, a marriage counselor and personal friend, contends that there are five major languages or expressions of love. Quite often when someone does not feel loved, it may well be that the two involved are not talking the same language. Let me illustrate.
Suppose you go for a visit to Japan, and you go into a store to buy something. You pull out your money and hand it to the salesclerk. She would look at it, smile courteously and say something like, “I’m sorry, sir, but you don’t have the proper currency. This is Japan, and we use yen here.” Suppose you said, “Now just a minute. I worked hard for this money; there is nothing wrong with it.” Just how far would you get? There is nothing wrong with your money; but it doesn’t complete the transaction in a different country.
Are you starting to get the picture? As Dr. Chapman sees it, the five languages of love are as follows:
1) THE LANGUAGE OF WORDS. Compliments and expressions of care such as “I love you,” “I really like the way you look in that dress,” “Your dinner was terrific!” Saying something nice is an expression of love. Anyone ever tell an enemy how great he or she does something? Of course not.
2) ACTS OF SERVICE. When you do something for someone, especially something you did not have to do–like wash the car, change the diaper, take the kids for an afternoon so your wife can have some quiet time‑‑all of these are expressions of love.
3) THE GIVING OF GIFTS. All over the world anthropologists have noted the relationship between gifts and love. It means you care enough to go out of your way to give something to someone you like.
4) QUALITY TIME THAT YOU SPEND WITH SOMEONE. Take a walk, go to dinner, sit in the swing and talk to someone, have coffee and chat leisurely. All of these are ways of saying, “I love you; you are a very special person to me.”
5) THE LANGUAGE OF PHYSICAL TOUCH. This includes the touch of a hand, an embrace, a kiss, and intimate relations in marriage.
One of the reasons that we often feel unloved‑‑the biggest reason by far‑‑is that very seldom do two people speak the same love language. Men and women are different; they came from the drawing board of heaven with a different set of nuts and bolts. They are different psychologically as well as physically, so the expressions of love are usually different.
Before you say, “I’m not loved,” you must learn to hear and understand another language. Be sensitive to the language of the one you think may not love you. In reality you may be loved far more than you know.
Resource reading: 1 Peter 4:8-11