I’ve been reading through a book called The Five Love Languages – Singles Edition, by Gary Chapman. It covers something that I talked about months ago, that the expression of love can be divided up into five areas: words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts, quality time, and physical touch. In our step-down program, we took a quiz based on this information (you can actually take this quiz here), and we talked about what it meant a little, but this book goes into much more detail about what each language means.
More than each individual language, though, what seems to be important to me – and, certainly at times, the author – is how to put this knowledge of love languages to good use. Knowing your own primary love language – the one you appreciate the most, and thus feel the most love from – is almost less important than knowing the languages of those who are important to you; knowing your own really only seems important in that you can then share that knowledge with the people who might care for you, so they can express how they feel more easily (for those of you who are interested, my primary love language is quality time).
Each chapter has some good advice about what to do to show love through that particular language, including one I really liked in gifts – giving a present or gift to someone as a way of apologizing isn’t a gift of love, nor is giving something you expect repayment for; only a gift given with no strings or conditions attached is truly a gift that shows love. And this in’t always romantic love, either; a birthday gift to a friend shows love just as much as an unexpected gift of flowers or dinner to a significant other – the love being expressed just isn’t the same kind of love.
To someone who often has trouble seeing why people do things, or understanding what the reasoning is behind what people do, a book like this is very interesting. It’s also interesting as someone who is interested in, but not at the moment in, a romantic relationship; while I may not spring the love languages quiz on every potential girlfriend, knowing things like this – and figuring out how best to express my feelings for a person I care about- seems like something that will be very helpful to me in the future.