Love Languages

This may sound all weird and sappy; but if you read this post, it may change the rest of your life.

I had never heard of the five love languages until about ten years ago. I went to this convention for single people. It had different breakout sessions. I think a girl I knew said, “Come on, let’s go to this one.” I said sure, fine.

That one hour of my life forever changed how I think about relationships.

I learned that there are five love languages. Here they are, in random order:

  • Words of affirmation
  • Acts of service
  • Receiving gifts
  • Quality time
  • Physical touch

During this panel they had decided to combine “acts of service” and “receiving gifts” into one, which they called “gifts and acts of service.” This, I found out then, was my love language.

(By the list of five, my love language is “acts of service.”)

You learn your love language from your parents and your family. It’s like learning English. You learn to “speak” a certain way. If you walk into a house that speaks Spanish, and you don’t speak their language, you are confused; i.e. if you walk into a “physical touch” family, and you’re not a “physical touch” person, and they are all huggy… you don’t understand it, or might even be turned off by it.

I learned my love language from my father. I call it “putting sticky notes in your lunch box.” With this love language, it’s the little things you do for someone that show them how much you love them. Years ago I bought my dad a Don Williams t-shirt at a concert. Without fail, every time I go to visit him, he wears that t-shirt one day while I’m there. He does it to show me he loves me and appreciates the gift. He has been doing it for over ten years now, with that same shirt.

The love languages breakout session had a demonstration at the front of the room. I got picked. (For some reason… I always get picked for things like this!) I told them what I thought my love language was. The instructor put a green circle on my name tag, and he called me a “green dot.”

He had a man come up and stand with us. He said he was a physical touch person, and the instructor put a red dot on his badge.

Then the instructor said to the man, “So Susan here is a friend of yours. Show us how you would say hello to her.”

The man shrugged his shoulders, stepped forward, and leaned in to hug me. I instinctively slinked away.

The instructor hollered, “STOP!”

This was exactly what he wanted. This was a perfect example.

If you try to speak your own love language to someone else, they may not understand it–or even be repulsed by it. When you’re in a relationship, whether it’s a marriage or even just a friendship, you should learn what the other person’s love language is, and learn how to “speak” it.

When my now-husband and I were dating for a while, we went to a relationship boot camp class (which was actually later turned into a TV show) and learned a lot of things about each other.

I had found out about this boot camp because the same people were running it that had run the breakout session I had attended a couple years before. One of the sessions during this bootcamp was–you guessed it–the love languages.

For this exercise, they described what the love languages were. (They again combined gifts & acts of service.) They then told everyone to go to a corner of the room, based on their love language. I had thought Bud and I were both “green dots”… imagine my surprise when he went off to the red dot corner!

Thinking back on that moment now, I almost picture myself like a little girl, left behind at the mall… Wait! Where are you going? It was a very valuable lesson to both of us–one that we discussed in great detail as our lives grew together.

After that boot camp, when I would walk into a room where my husband was, I would physically force myself to reach out and touch his shoulder, or touch his leg. When I did that, he would melt. It was completely unnatural for me, but I forced myself to learn to speak that other language, because that language was his; and me learning to communicate in his language showed him how much I loved him. (He learned more about my language as well.)

If we hadn’t gone to that boot camp together, I may have never known that was what his love language was. It just may have never come up.

The Five Love Languages Website has a free test you can take to find out what your love language is. There’s also a book; and I’d suggest reading it. It’s a pretty fast read… and it’s my hope that it would change your life the way that it has changed mine.

I wasn’t paid to say anything on this post–it is just my gift to you in hopes it makes your life better.



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Author: Susan Pitman

Susan is an artist who grew up in Massachusetts and now lives in Texas. She writes songs, short stories, and books. You can follow @kitykity on Twitter.

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