Last week I finished reading a wonderful book called “The 5 Love Languages – The Secret To Love That Lasts”. The main thesis of the book states that we all give and receive love through 5 different ways: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. Each love language is explained in detail in the book. There is even a questionnaire at the back of the book that will make it quite obvious which language will fill up your love tank the most. If anyone ever wanted to make me feel loved, it was made quite apparent that I am filled up through Acts of Service.
I don’t need to hear how much you love me, just show me how much you care! Some days it can be as simple as putting my clean clothes away for me even though I never asked you to do it. My partner on the other hand, has her love tank filled through Words Of Affirmation, followed closely by Quality Time and Physical Touch.
After reading this book together we uncovered a whole new approach and understanding to our emotional needs during conflict. Nothing in life is more certain than death and taxes, but I would go as far as adding conflict into that old Benjamin Franklin quote.
This book is written to help married couples or troubled intimate relationships, but what about all the other relationships we have and try to nurture every day? Shouldn’t these relationships be honoured the same way? I don’t know about you, but once I know someone earnestly cares for my well being, I seem to shift into an entirely different gear when it comes affection and connection. How much more efficiently would work projects be completed if we knew each others love languages and how to cater to them? How much closer would you feel with your family members and friends if you knew exactly how to make deposits into their love banks? We could easily adapt our communication style, ensuring others feel connected and appreciated whether we are working on building a family, or working on building a brand. Power struggles would be few and far between.
Think of all the troubled relationships you have in your own life. Imagine if all it took was you taking the time to learn the other person’s love language and then cater to that need. We would steer clear from the bear trap of resentment far more often than not, if you could only tap into a relationship on the heart level. I have had several experiences in my lifetime where I’ve wanted to express care and love to the other party but could never make any progress, or whatever I tried never got through to them and it left me feeling defeated. The problem is that most of the time I was trying to fill their love tanks up through Acts of Service, because that is how I receive love. Most of the time people give love the way they receive love. Your unconscious says “when ___ happens, I feel happy and loved. Therefore I will do ___ for this person and they too will feel happy and loved”. It was a misguided execution strategy that steered you wrong, and not a logical motive.
It may be a bit of stretch to presume everyone would have the desire of even putting this sort of knowledge into practice, and maybe one day I will find such a utopia. But until then, I believe reading the book is a great start.