Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Language of Love

Gestures, in love, are incomparably more attractive, effective and valuable than words.-Francois Rabelais

We've all heard similar sayings to the above-essentially-actions speak louder than words...but is that necessarily true or does it depend on the recipient? I think it depends on our 'Love Language'.

Gary Chapman describes Five Love Languages as such:

Words of Affirmation: These people appreciate hearing 'I Love You', unsolicited compliments, words of appreciation, humble and kind words. Insults are not easily forgiven or forgotten and can be detrimental to the relationship.

Quality Time: These people want your full, undivided attention. They want you to be there, fully, listening to them. They want eye contact, no distractions, no interupting and self-revelation of your own.

Gifts: These people are not materialistic. They value the thoughtfulness and effort behind the gift. To them, the gift means that they are cared for and loved. It doesn't have to be expensive, cost doesn't matter. These people just appreciate visible symbols of love, believing they speak the loudest.

Acts of Service: These people appreciate it when things are done for them. They appreciate a spouse who vacuums or cleans-anything to ease their own burden of responsibility. Broken commitments or making more work for these people tell them that their feelings do not matter.

Physical Touch: These people appreciate hugs, holding hands, a pat on the back. They love to sit close together in a group setting and making sure to give a kiss upon leaving or returning. Neglect or abuse hurts them more than anything else.

In writing romance (and in my own life) I try to keep these Love Languages in mind. When creating my characters and how they will show their affection, I usually lean toward one of these more than combining...though overlapping obviously occurs. I don't think many people are one way only.

I am definitely a Words of Affirmation type in both how I show my love and how I like to receive it-I love hearing it. My husband however is the Acts of Service type in how he shows his love and he is a Physical Touch in how he likes to receive it. Therefore, knowing this about one another-we make an effort to make sure we are showing our love in the other's Love Language so they feel appreciated.

What is your Love Language? Can you see these traits in your characters?

xo
Jen

21 comments:

  1. LOL, I was raised an only child. I expect all of them - words, gifts, being the center of attention - yup, I'll take them all. How do you choose one.

    I can tell you the one I do best for my husband, though, and that's words of affirmation. He, on the other hand, is an earthy guy and would look at the choices and say, "You know I love you."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pam,

      So true! I heard a comedian once who said that us women need to hear I love you a million times a day and he said as a man it drives him crazy because not enough can happen between breakfast and lunch to change his mind. If he said it as 8, he probably still means it at 10 lol:)

      Delete
  2. Jen - Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch are what I give best and appreciate most, though all five expressions of love are so genuine. Gifts seems like the least necessary, but I appreciate the thought that goes into Ron's gifts to me. He's never given me jewelry, but always finds the perfect card and a book I've talked about, or a special tea, or chocolate. We exchange 'I love yous' all the time, tell each other how much we appreciate still being together after all this time, and still snuggle all evening watching our favorite shows on TV. Because of my personal preferences, my characters are always mushy.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Muriel,

    I'd take books over jewellery anyday! That being said-my husband proposed at the Tiffany's store in Las Vegas-I'm not sure he could have made his affection any clearer, then we got married in a ceremony just the two of us on the spot outside of a cafe where we first met:)lol, so I think we have a good mix in our relationship too:) The snuggling, watching movies is my favorite too.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love this post and my husband one my heart with his acts - like waiting in the ER for five hours on our first date after I got food poisoning - I knew for sure he was the kind to stick around and June 19th is our 20th anniversary :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karen - Happy Anniversary! Isn't it wonderful to know how lucky your are?

      Delete
    2. Thank you so much! We didn't have the best start- but we are finishing strong :)

      Delete
    3. Happy anniversary, Karen! That's amazing :)

      Delete
  5. From a man's POV, I think that it's essential to listen and show that you value what your lady is saying and thinking. We're always there,and have learned what is important to each other. Often just a touch, a smile, and eye contact are all that's needed to reassure your loved one that they're the most important part of your life. Not long ago, we were walking together in a parking lot, holding hands, and a girl a fourth our age passed by. "How cute," she said, givig us both a big smile. - David

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for commenting David:) It's great to get a male perspective! Nice story. It is really encouraging for this newlywed to be among so many strong examples of real life, lasting romance:)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wonderful post Jen. I wonder if it's possible to start out in one language but develop aspects of others the longer you're married, or living together with a significant other. Do need evolve or change with maturity? My husband was much more a giver of gifts to show love than I was. Even when he was deathly ill, on Valentine's Day he had his brother-in-law help him buy me roses. I was more a person who arranged for surprises, like special dinners, or invitations to meet old friends.
    Karen, much happiness on your milestone anniversary. Cherish every one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Roz,

      I think so, especially as you grow together and learn more about each other.
      I love that story about the roses. :)

      Delete
  8. I love the five love languages. We had a workshop on it at church. It was very interesting. I'm a gifts person. The only one (that would admit it) in the group. Physical touch is my secondary. And my husband was an act of service person. It was such a valuable lesson so we could learn to show our loved one we loved them in the way they want to be loved, but also so we could recognize the love language they give so we can see when they are showing their love.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it's a great workshop for marriage prep courses:) Thanks for commenting!

      Delete
  9. Interesting post! It's hard to decide because, like Roz said, I think it's possible to develop all the tendencies. Mostly, though, I think I'm a giver...I like giving gifts that are symbolic of something or hold significance to the person...and I appreciate acts of service (like someone else washing the dishes!!!) :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks Rula! I totally appreciate my Acts of Service type husband lol:) When we first started dating, I had a one year old, a full time day job, and a writing career I was starting to launch-no time for much of anything else... while I put my son to bed one night, he did my dishes and made my bed lol-I knew right then he was a keeper:)

    ReplyDelete
  11. My husband and I have gone over the love languages and the whole filling the love tank concept. My love language is acts of service, but my husband's is words of affirmation. We're learning to speak each other's language more, though sometimes we forget LOL.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love it in my books when my characters forget-it makes for some fun drama:)

      Delete
    2. Jennifer, I never thought to incorporate that in to my stories! Hmmm... that's got my writer's mind sparking LOL.

      Delete