Love languages provide relationship insight

The five love languages are physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, and gifts. Although these may appear to be generic or simple, knowing the love language of your friend, family member, significant other, and even yourself can help you realize what you need to do to improve your relationships.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, the Wellness Center hosted the Love Me Like You Do workshop, which centered around the ideas brought up in Gary Chapman’s novel, The Five Love Languages. Chapman wrote that the five different love languages refer to the ways in which people communicate their love.

It should be noted that I have never had a romantic partner and I do not plan on having one in the near future. Therefore, I was uncertain as to what use this workshop would be to someone like me.

However, I realized very early into the workshop that the love languages do not just apply to romantic relationships but to platonic and familial ones, as well.

The way we express love is generally independent of our relationship status with our loved one. Our expression of love is also often very different from that of our loved ones. Unfortunately, these differences can cause issues for those who are not familiar with other’s love languages.

After explaining the concept of love languages to us, those hosting the workshop handed us a love language quiz. Each of the 30 questions had two different acts of love. All we had to do was pick the action that made us feel most loved and tally our choices to reveal our love language.

Many of us might believe that we know our love language off the top of our head. However, when we really think about it for more than a few minutes, our conclusions might surprise us, as it did me.

After adding up my choices, my primary love language was acts of service. This means that I feel most loved when people help me with chores, homework, studying, and other tasks.

I was very surprised by this answer until I realized that the times that I felt closest and happiest with those I loved were when they were helping me or vice versa, such as with chores and errands.

This realization might not have come if I had not taken this quiz. In fact, I was not aware that acts of service could be interpreted as expressions of love.

Now I can appreciate what others do for me and what I do for others as acts of affection rather than acts of duty.

After acts of service, my second most prominent love language was a tie between words of affirmation and quality time.

In regards to the ranking of quality time, I was not surprised. I enjoy spending time with people and having them invest in me. However, I do not seem to like it as much as other people do.

This realization made me notice that there were certain people in my life who I dismissed as clingy and needy. In fact, these people feel most loved and like to express love with quality time  the most, unlike myself.

Now that I understand that some of the “needy” people I knew wanted to spend time with me to show their love, I do regret treating them the way that I did.

If I were to re-do my relationships with these people, I would tell them my boundaries and try to accommodate their needs the best I could. If I knew their love languages sooner, I could have preserved my friendships with them.

Rebounding off of this point, the workshop emphasized that misunderstandings can arise from people with different love languages. For instance, I hate physical touch. I have always done the half-hearted side-hug whenever someone wanted to hug me.

Now, I wonder if anyone who might have had physical touch as their love language ever felt unloved by my pulling back from their embraces.

I also think about how my friends might have felt whenever I, every December, gave them their Secret Santa gift late and applied minimal effort to them. I did not mean to make them feel unappreciated; I just did not know how to express my love through gifts very well.

Learning my love language and the love languages of others has helped me see the different ways in which people express their love to me.

It has also encouraged me to be more understanding of those who do not share my love language and more accommodating to those people.

I look forward to the way in which these discoveries will enhance my relationships. You, too, can take the quiz at http://www.5lovelanguages.com/.

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