My face is washed. My teeth are brushed. My contacts are nestled into their little, plastic home. I’m ready for some shut-eye. I walk into my bedroom and notice the water bottle on my nightstand.
“Dammit,” I think. “I forgot to freshen my water when I was downstairs.”
Melissa notices my shoulders drop as I reach for the bottle.
“Oh, I already got you some fresh water,” she says.
My heart swells with love.
“Sure, no biggie,” she says.
But wait, it is a “biggie”. When Melissa does things like this, I feel understood, seen, and cared for. That’s because one of my top love languages is “acts of service.”
Gary Chapman, bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts describes love languages as your emotional communication preference. They are:
- Words of affirmation – compliments, professions of love, and thank yous go a long way for someone whose love language is words of affirmation.
- Acts of service – freshening up someone’s water, picking up something they mentioned needing at the store, cooking dinner, or getting their car inspected are all ways someone with this love language feels appreciated.
- Receiving gifts – and they needn’t be big or expensive. Maybe it’s a sunflower, a piece of fruit from the farmer’s market, or a favorite cheesy tabloid. The act shows you were thinking of them, and that is the real gift.
- Quality time — giving someone your undivided attention is priceless. Putting down your phone or laptop. Actively listening. Empathizing. Or just being together is such a treat to someone with Quality Time as their language. And it doesn’t take a whole lot of effort on your part.
- Physical touch — some people feel the most connected through touch. It might be holding hands while driving, laying on someone’s lap while watching a movie, a loving hug hello, or a reassuring pat on the back. These simple acts deliver a lot in their little packages.
With one of the top — if not the top — problems in most relationships being communication, you must consider the unspoken word as a part of the dialogue. In fact, it’s likely the most important aspect.
After Melissa freshened my water, I shared with her how much it meant to me and why, and we had a great talk about the concept of love languages. Reminders of what mine are, what hers are, what they mean to each of us. Even after 25 years together, our relationship deepened as a result of this conversation. Although we’ve known for a long time what the other appreciates, putting it in the context of love languages made it much clearer.
In reading the above list, can you identify your love language or languages? You might find aspects of all of them ring true for you. They do for me. But try and pick out your top one or two.
Now consider the people who you love. Can you guess what theirs might be? Is there someone in your life you’d want to have a longer conversation with about this idea? It’s pretty powerful!
To take a quick quiz to confirm your love languages, visit http://www.5lovelanguages.com.