I have this cousin, Cousin Gigi, she’s so generous, and lovvves to give us all gifts every holiday. Like EVERY SINGLE family member. But – it’s all stuff we don’t really want, and the Marie Kondo in me feels overwhelmed every time we come home with more stuff we don’t want or need…
It used to annoy my mom to no end, until one day I explained that that’s how she’s showing her love. She gives the people she loves small tokens to say, “Hey, I’m thinking of you, and I want you to know you’re loved”.
My mom on the other hand, does not want things… She wants to be a part of every life moment of the people she loves, no matter how big or small. She’ll drop everything and head to her great nephews baseball game… She has every excuse to host a party and bring people together. Flag day? “Let’s get together and make flags!” Arbor day, “Let’s plant some trees as a family” (She still points to “The Ashley Tree” I planted when I was 5).
My dad – total opposite. A man of few words. But every time he visits my house he’s checking my plants and watering them for me (I admittedly don’t have a green thumb). Growing up, he’d always put gas in my car to surprise me. He doesn’t show his love with words, or time, he shows it through “Acts of Service”.
These different ways to give and receive love are called our “Love Languages” – a theory developed by Dr. Gary Chapman that suggests there are five ways that people feel loved: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, physical touch, and quality time.
And since it’s officially February, I thought it the perfect time to bring it up.
TRY IT YOURSELF
Understanding our own love languages and the love languages of the people around us can have a profound effect on how we feel connection to each other, whether it’s a romantic partner, your children, family members, friends, and yes, even coworkers.
How your team members feel appreciation is an important nuance for every manager to know and understand. (Hey, most of the time all I need is a simple “that was a great job” and I’ll be riding that high of being seen for a loooong time. Others appreciate that holiday gift more than most…)
- Take the Quiz
Yep! There’s a quiz! Take it here.
Through of series of questions you’ll learn which Love Language is most important to you. The answers may surprise you!
- Urge those you love to take the quiz
My badass, always sarcastic, older sister took the quiz (even without rolling her eyes!) and I was so surprised to learn her love language is words of affirmation. HUH?! I did NOT see that coming.
This understanding made me take much more intentional action. She’s a hard working teacher and coach (and teachers are really getting the shaft these days), and when I told her “Wow, you’re really good at what you do. Your students are really lucky to have you.” She stopped, looked me dead in the eyes and said, “Thank you. I needed that.”
Boom. Deeper connection. Love languages in action.
- Start a conversation
What I find fascinating is that the ways in which I prefer to receive love are actually different than the ways I prefer to SHOW love.
Start the conversation with the people you care about. Is there a way you could be showing them you love them more based on how THEY value receiving love? Share what YOU need more of in order to deepen your connection. Open the door of conversation here and see where it takes you!
Read: Check out the OG book by Gary Chapman. “You’ll discover the secret that has transformed millions of relationships worldwide. Whether your relationship is flourishing or failing, Dr. Gary Chapman’s proven approach to showing and receiving love will help you experience deeper and richer levels of intimacy with your partner—starting today.
The 5 Love Languages is as practical as it is insightful. Updated to reflect the complexities of relationships today, this new edition reveals intrinsic truths and applies relevant, actionable wisdom in ways that work.”
Watch: I love how to video under this TED article talks about practical ways to apply love languages so you can use them in real life.
Dive Deeper: Since Dr. Gary brought the concept of love languages to the world, there have been multiple studies about it. Check out this one from 2022 which showed that, for both men and women, participants whose partners used the love languages they preferred to receive had higher levels of relationship and sexual satisfaction. Greater satisfaction was also found among participants who reported using the love languages their partners preferred to receive.