I’ll admit it…I’m a geek for Personality Tests. And like all true geeks, I have 3 particular “fandoms” that I’m partial to. One of my favorites is Gary Chapman’s Love Languages.
I get a weird thrill out of reading my personality results and thinking, “Oh my gosh! That’s so me!” Also, I’m really bad at reading people. I’m a massive over-analyzer, so generally, what I think a person’s motives are for doing or saying something are WAY off! So, when I can open a book and actually read about people, it’s enlightening!
I’m also a firm advocate for Proverbs 4:7:
“…with all thy getting get understanding.”
For me, personality tests are an instrument for understanding:
…you get the idea.
Gary Chapman’s Love Languages
Gary Chapman’s Love Languages is designed to increase interpersonal understanding, whether that be with our spouse, our children, our boyfriends/girlfriends, brothers/sisters, basically any significant relationship in our lives.
The main idea behind Chapman’s ideology is that there are 5 ways to express Love. Before reading any further, try it out! Think to yourself, “How do I show love?” Now, if you’re sitting next to someone, ask them, “How do you think you show love”? Their answers could be things like:
- Always remembering to hug/kiss you before I leave the house
- Folding and putting away your laundry for you
- Turning off my phone whenever you want to talk
- Buying you that pair of earrings you mentioned you liked
- Or…um, duh, saying “I Love You!”
All 5 of those answers represent the 5 different Love Languages.
- Physical Touch
- Acts of Service
- Quality Time
- Giving Gifts
- Words of Affirmation
If your answer and the other person’s answer are similar, you’re lucky—you have compatible Love Languages!
For me, “love” is kissing the top of my son’s head, or feeling my husband’s hand on the small of my back. My Love Language is “Physical Touch”. But my “Words of Affirmation” daughter will freak out on people who invade her personal space!
For all those who’s Love Languages aren’t instantly compatible, don’t worry! The purpose of knowing our Love Language is to better understand:
If we can understand all these components, and we are vested in expressing love to others the way they need it, our homes will be filled with an abundance of love and happiness!
The first step is identifying how we perceive love. In other words, how do you define love? Imagine your birthday is coming up. What are you hoping for?
- A head, neck, shoulder, back, foot rub…any/all of the above?
- Someone to take care of the kids so you can have a day off?
- A night out with someone special?
- That purse you’ve had your eye on?
- Nothing more than a card full of sincere sentiments.
(If you’re curious which answer corresponds with which Love Language, I’ll keep the same order from above throughout this post. i.e. 1. Physical Touch, 2. Acts of Service…)
Now repeat the same scenario in your mind for someone else’s birthday. Your son/daughter is having a birthday. What is the most important thing you can do for them?
- Make sure to greet them first thing in the morning with lots of hugs
- Make them breakfast in bed
- Take them out to breakfast—just the two of you
- Shower them with all the presents they’ve been eyeing
- Write them a letter telling them how important and special they are
This identifies how we are most comfortable in showing love. Sometimes it’s the same as how we need love ourselves, but not always! In an ideal world, we would speak all 5 Love Languages fluently and generously, but we have to be mindful that how we are comfortable giving love, isn’t necessarily what our loved ones need.
Just like giving blood, the donation must match the recipient. Otherwise, we’re performing triage. That is to say, all acts of love are good, but are they matching the recipient’s critical need?
“If you want understanding try giving some.”Malcolm Forbes
Have an open and honest conversation (read: blunt) where you share what your definition of love, your Love Language, is. Please don’t rely on dropping (not so subtle) hints and hoping your loved ones will figure it out.
I can’t begin to fathom how many hours and dollars are spent in couple’s therapy because of this misunderstanding. A wife feels like she is positively hemorrhaging love towards her husband and receiving nothing in return…and the husband feels the exact same way.
The husband is saying, “I love you, I love you, I love you”, and the wife is thinking, “If you loved me you’d clean up after yourself.” Meanwhile the wife never fails to have dinner ready for her husband and children, and the husband is thinking, “I wish just once we could go to dinner just the two of us”!
What do we have here? The Love Language the husband is comfortable giving is Words of Affirmation. But the Love Language the wife needs is Acts of Service. Aware of what her love-need is, she is giving her husband Acts of Service, when all he really wants is Quality Time.
If we find out how our loved ones show love to us, even when it’s not our “Language”, we can still recognize that they are loving us in their way. And after all, love is love.
DON’T FORGET THE KIDS!
Gary Chapman also created a Love Language Quiz for kids. I admitted earlier that I was a geek for this stuff, but fortunately my kids enjoyed taking this quiz, too! I was surprised to learn that my son who always gives hugs (and invades his sister’s personal space) speaks the Physical Touch language easily, but needs Quality Time. Of course, this wasn’t a surprise to him.
We discovered that between my husband, myself and four kids, we had all 5 Love Languages represented. What does this mean? It means we all need to make an effort to show love in a variety of ways, but also that we need to recognize each other’s efforts as just as good as our own.
“If you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and almost always leads to love.”John Steinbeck
So, I understand that you might not have a geek-y love for Personality Tests like I do, but taking the Love Languages quiz can’t hurt, right? I believe that where there is understanding, there is love; and where there is love, there is happiness! We can all build happier, stronger relationships by understanding each other’s needs; and in so doing…
Check out Gary Chapman’s Love Language quizzes here: https://www.5lovelanguages.com/5-love-languages/