This past week I finished reading Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages. Technically, the book is addressed to married couples who are having a hard time communicating love to each other or to couples who know that they may soon encounter a period of their marriage in which things feel a lot different from how they did at first. HOWEVER, I, as an unmarried teenager think that the book can provide some valuable lessons about communicating love.
The book starts by introducing a concept used throughout the book that Chapman refers to as a “love tank”. Basically, it is meant to indicate how much love you or another person is feeling at a certain moment. The book goes on to explain that there are five basic love languages: acts of service, physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, and gifts. Because people feel love in different ways, it is important to recognize the way that you feel loved and the way that the people you come into contact with, particularly those that you spend a good amount of time with, feel loved so that you can communicate your feelings with them effectively. Throughout the book, Chapman provides stories about couples who could not understand each others love languages and the problems they encountered in relating to each other, emphasizing the importance of recognizing the way that other people feel loved.
People who feel love through acts of service receive love when something is done for them. People who feel love through physical touch feel love when they receive physical contact with another person. This does not have to be sexual by any means, if a person’s love language is physical touch, any form of positive physical contact will communicate love to them. A person who feels love through words of affirmation may appreciate positive encouragement or positive feedback on their strengths. Someone who feels love through quality time may appreciate deep conversation or doing interesting activities together. People may also feel loved by receiving gifts. These gifts do not have to be expensive or even cost any money at all, the fact that this person is receiving something communicates the love.
Love languages are things that many people don’t consider. We all sort of assume that everyone can pretty much feel loved in the same way or that by doing something that would communicate love to us, the other person feels loved too but that isn’t the case. Some people feel love differently than others and the fun challenge is to try to discover how the people close to you feel loved. Trying out different actions and taking note of which one gets the best reaction from the person you are communicating with is the best way to determine their love language and it is a really fun challenge.
Love is a crucial and prevalent part of human society. Sometimes, love is difficult to understand but if we learn to express love in multiple different ways, it becomes a lot more enjoyable for everyone.