Love Languages
Have you ever noticed that different people show their love in different ways? It is important to know and understand this concept because otherwise it might be very easy to completely miss the messages of love being sent to you from friends, family, and those you are in relationship with, by expecting love to come in the exact same way that you yourself express it to others.

Melinda came to me one day very upset, I would even say annoyed, with her daughter Zoe for constantly wanting to be told she is loved, and wanting to be coddled. You see Melinda was abused as a child. She was told she was loved, and appreciated, and even coddled, but the actions of those around her told her otherwise. As a result, she decided that words and coddling didnít mean anything. She decided that actions speak louder than words. And this is a very common saying which most of us have probably heard, or even repeated at some point in our own lives. This saying does bear some truth, but like many other sayings which we repeat when they apply to a particular circumstance, it only bears partial truth and reinforces a limiting belief, in this case, about love. As a result, Melinda canít see that the way her daughter perceives love, though different from her, is equally valid. And though Melinda was exceptional at showing Zoe she loves her by her actions, by helping her clean her house, or bringing her groceries, on her weekly visits, Zoe was still longing to hear it in words from her mother. And they had many arguments about it as Zoe expressed that she didnít feel loved because her mother was not coddling her or telling her that she loves her. Melinda had a painful experience as a child, which caused her to believe that affirmations could easily be lies people tell to get their way. She spent a great deal of time and energy trying to change her daughter to see it in the same way, so that she could not be fooled by people who might use affirmations to take advantage of her. There will always be people trying to take advantage of a situation, and we need to be wise and vigilant, certainly, in where we place our love and affection. However negative personal experiences do not nullify the different needs people have, including the need to be touched and affirmed. Our varied life experiences give us a different, but sometimes narrow, view of the world, and it is only once we can embrace and accept each otherís view as equally valid that we truly grow and begin to see the world as it truly is, through a wider lens of combined experience.

Another scenario is a woman who complains her husband never has any time for her, and instead is constantly buying her gifts to make up for his lack of time and presence. She cannot appreciate the gifts because all she really wants is his time. She didnít have much growing up, but because her parents always made time to hang out and play games together, she never felt anything was lacking. Love was abundant in the time and memories they built together. As a result, she values this quality time above possessions, and she cannot see that her husband might be expressing love in a different way.

We all have what some refer to as a "love tank", which is akin to an emotional gas tank. Our tank can run dry when we do not feel loved, or when we feel neglected. It can overflow when we feel our family, friends or partner truly love us.

Knowing the different love languages people have to express their love helps us to see how other people communicate love, and allows us to receive this love instead of rejecting it and wishing it were the way we see love. By knowing how people see love, it is also possible for us to in turn show love according to that personís love language, which will have much more impact than expressing it in our own love language. All healthy relationships are based on a conscious decision to choose every single day to fill the other personís love tank.

This might seem obvious but it is more difficult than we might think. And we can see this in the many failing relationships all around us. Most people are simply not aware of what Gary Chapman has termed the "Love Languages". Most people have one dominant love language but there can also be more than one at play. Without the knowledge of the different love languages, we can go through life expecting others to express love in the same way that we do, otherwise falsely believe that they simply do not truly love us.

Without an awareness of the love language of others, and our own love language, it is difficult to communicate love in a manner that is effective for the other person to understand. Lack of knowledge of the love languages creates a lot of confusion, since we each have a different love language, which can be strongly rooted in one area, or be a combination of two, or more areas. In my experience, your love language can also change, particularly if an area is really off balance.

I was in a relationship with someone who was a very touchy feely kind of person. I didnít like that. And my response to that spontaneous touching was often along the lines of ďcan you talk to me first?Ē to which inevitably came the response ďwell, if I have to work for it, forget itĒ. That was a painful period in my life. It is not that I was not loved by this person, but that we were not communicating at the same level. For him, touching me was his way to show he loved me, but for me, being touched without any communication told me the opposite.

Can you see how important knowing the love languages can be to more effective communication?

So, what are these five love languages?
Below is a description of each of the five love languages. You can also find your dominant love language by filling out the love language questionnaire.

Gifts; This love language is marked by the desire to give or receive gifts, regardless of whether they are larger more expensive gifts, thoughtful or handmade gifts. This area sometimes bears negative connotations, because false judgement is sometimes made that only shallow people want gifts. That is not always the case. Gifts do not have to be large, or expensive, but rather a token or a sign that someone is thinking about you during their day. Say you run into a coffee shop in the afternoon for a cup of coffee, you see a ginger spice cookie, which you know your partner really loves. You buy it for her. Itís a small gift, but it makes a big impact when she receives it because it tells her you were thinking about her during the day.

Words of Affirmation; This love language is marked by the desire to hear, or to speak to others, words of praise, encouragement, appreciation and approval. Words of affirmation can give us a sense of warmth, significance, and encourage us to continue to move forward. People generally like to be praised for their accomplishments, help, or even for their patience in a particular situation.

Quality Time; This love language is marked by the desire to actively spend quality time with those we love, such as taking time to have deep meaningful conversations or actively doing recreational activities together. It is also marked by the value placed on time itself. Time is our most valuable asset. Whereas we can trade our time for money, and we can then turn around and make more money, we can never buy back our time. Itís important to value time spent with others, and also the time that others give to you.

Acts of Service; This love language is marked by the desire to help others, or to receive help from others, such as washing dishes, doing laundry, baby sitting, dog walking, cooking, or giving someone a ride. We generally want to be of service to those we love. Love can give us the desire to do for others what we might not do for our own self. The act of helping others can give us a sense of worth in the relationship. If we are givers, it is important to allow ourselves to receive love, in the same way that we give love. Itís also worthy to note that most people will treat those they love far better than they treat themselves. They will go far above and beyond what is expected of them. If we allow those that love us to serve us, while we serve them, we would all be better taken care of than we might be left to our own devices.

Physical Touch; This love language is marked by the desire to touch, or to be touched, whether it's holding hands, hugging, kissing, a stroking of the skin, or sexual intimacy. People need physical contact with other human beings. Some of us have a pet as an attempt to fulfill that need. Some children like to hug a teddy bear to sleep. Our need for physical touch can be seen in actions like putting a hand on a grieving personís shoulder, hugging friends when you great them, holding hands with someone you care about, or watching a movie arm in arm.

I hope that you can see the power that knowing the love languages could have in your relationships, both in loving others more meaningfully, as well as seeing love you might not have perceived before.

If you are interested in working on your relationship, to get more connection or intimacy, if you feel stuck, or need help to achieve a goal, please contact me. It would be my honor to help you, to the best of my abilities, on your journey.

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Marie-Josee  ē Tel: 416.258.6268
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