What’s Your Love Language?

What’s your love language?

The holidays are a time of love, but if we aren’t careful, it can be dominated by one particular form: gift-giving.

Gift-giving, however, is not the only way people have of expressing their affection. According to Dr. Gary Chapman, there are five love languages — five ways people have of showing love — and we all have our primary and secondary languages. http://www.5lovelanguages.com/

1. Gift-giving. Selecting (or making) just the right gift for the one you love.

2. Acts of service. Doing things to make the life of your loved one easier or better, such as cleaning the kitchen.

3. Quality time. Spending time together.

4. Words of Affirmation. Saying “I love you” or giving a compliment.

5. Physical touch. Hugging, kissing, holding hands, etc.

In recent years, my family has moved away from #1 (Gift-giving) and toward # 3 (Quality Time). When my husband and I got married and the number of presents that had to be bought and exchanged multiplied, our families decided we would like to give the gift of time spent together.

Therefore, instead of buying each other gifts, we each make a contribution to the Family Vacation Fund, and with this money, we take a trip together every five years. This policy cuts out hours of shopping headaches. A couple years ago, we took our first trip together, and it was fantastic. Sounds just about perfect, right?

Except it’s not.

The Family Vacation Fund assumes that everyone in my family prefers the Quality Time way of expressing love, and that is simply not the case. Some people like spending hours and hours choosing the exact right gift. Others enjoy using their creativity to create presents. Some people like to contribute time in the kitchen, and we all enjoy celebrating over food.

We haven’t come up with a better solution. Because of its ease and convenience, I suspect the Family Vacation Fund will be around for a long time to come. But once I learned about Dr. Chapman’s five love languages, I have been much more sensitive to giving and receiving love in the language that each member of my family prefers.

After all, the holidays, above all else, are about love, no matter which way it is expressed.

What about you? What is your love language, and how will you express it this holiday season?

16 thoughts on “What’s Your Love Language?

  1. Good Morning, Pintip! You come up with the coolest posts and this is another of those. I love learning something new and this was another great lesson.

    I’d have to say my natural love language is #5. Saying hello and goodbye with a hug are things I think I’m genetically programmed to do 😉

    The ones I’d like to become more fluent in are #2 & 3.

    I have a favorite line from this post and that’s when you said “I have been much more sensitive to giving and receiving love in the language that each member of my family prefers.” I believe that deserves a language # all in itself. Taking a moment to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand them.

    Happy Holidays!

    1. Thank you, Carlene! That is very sweet of you to say so. I think I am naturally a #2, but I’m pretty comfortable with all of them. (In my humble opinion, I think you are, too!) I agree, empathy should be another category! And I also think “sharing food” should be another, as in we express our love for each other by eating and appreciating good food. That one would definitely be true for my family, but perhaps it falls under #3? And perhaps empathy is a subset of #2? These categories are pretty broad. Thanks for stopping by, Carlene, and happy holidays!

  2. Pintip,
    This is a very thought-provoking post. I never really looked at love like that. I think, above all, learning to balance all five is the best option. Sometimes I think people overcompensate the gift giving portion because many of the others are missing. It’s easy to buy something or many somethings because we can’t be there for that person. I think it all depends on whether it’s a gift thought out or whether it’s just a gift for the sake of giving someone something.
    That’s why the holidays are so stressful for most of us. We have obligatory gifts to give. The kind that have very little to do with love. When I buy gifts for my kids or my husband, those are done with love and they’re thoughtful. I love thinking of the perfect presents that they will enjoy. However, buying presents for my husband’s colleagues is just obligatory and I HATE it. We quit doing it last year.
    For the holidays, I think our family balances most of these. And that’s what the holidays, families and love is about. Balance, balance, balance.
    Great post, Pintip!

  3. I absolutely agree, Kim! Balance is best, and obligatory gifts are the most stressful. However, at one point, before we did the family gift fund, I was choosing something like 18 gifts. Even if each one was chosen with care and love, the sheer bulk of it got stressful and time-consuming. So I am happy overall that we’ve moved to this system, but I do miss it at times.
    I think your family will love the presents you picked out! Happy holidays!!

  4. Well, I think I’m a gift-giver, but will be moving away from that by the end of this season:)…I enjoy picking out that special gift that makes folks grin or say something like “you remembered” followed by the grin. Moving forward though, I’m going to go with quality time, I think. Excellent post.

    1. I bet you’re an excellent gift-giver, Denny! I agree — my favorite part is their reaction upon opening the present. But Quality Time is good, too. Like Kim said, they’re all important — just have to find the right balance! Happy holidays and thanks for stopping by!

  5. Mary Jo, how fun! I remember very distinctly the first time I was able to buy my parents gifts with my hard-earned money… How proud I was… How proud they were… Good times all around. Thanks for stopping by, and happy holidays! I hope you love your presents!

  6. Years ago I realized I was neither able to, nor interested in, “buying” the love of my nephews and niece so instead of giving them birthday gifts, I take them to dinner and a movie. This year I admit, I’m a little stuck as to what to get/give my brother and SIL – maybe doing so volunteer work in their honor is the way to go!

    Pintip, I’m with Carlene. The line from this post that most speaks to me is your new/renewed compassion for the many forms love comes in. That’s just pure genius and I’m glad I read it today.

  7. Thank you, Keely! I that is wonderful that you take your niece and nephew out to dinner and a movie — those are times that they will always look back upon and treasure. And I don’t know about your brother and SIL, but if somebody gave ME that present (of volunteer time around the house), I ‘d be thrilled. My warmest wishes for a happy holiday, Keely, and thank you so much for stopping by.

  8. Not just a man’s! Food is the way to my heart, too. Lol. I’d love to try your culinary creations! Maybe we can organize a potluck soon? Happy holidays, Diana, and I wish you a wonderful new year! Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Loved this post, Pintip-Mermaid! I love all five love language types. Happy Holidays!!! 😉

  10. Yeah, all five are pretty great, aren’t they? Happy holidays, Kerri, and thanks for stopping by!

  11. Wonderful and thought provoking. I think elderly especially enjoy the time spent with them. Thank you for posting this and making us all think.

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