It was only after I bought my wife an expensive birthday gift that I learned that the way to her heart was not through extravagant gestures.
The 5 Love Languages Trailer from Dr. Gary Chapman on Vimeo.
10 years ago, Dr Gary Chapman, a marriage counsellor wrote a book entitled The 5 Love Languages. In it he suggests that each of us feel love in one of five different ways. Like language, we may communicate in multiple dialects but we will tend to favour our ‘first language’ over all others.
Which of these languages appeal to you?
- Words of Affirmation – don’t just sign the Valentine card, write a well-chosen personal message and later, say the words out loud to your partner
- Acts of Service – it may just be a cup of tea in bed, but for those with selfless gestures as their primary love language it can mean more than diamonds (well almost)
- Receiving Gifts – chocolates, pearls or flowers will melt some hearts and communicate that the recipient is treasured
- Quality Time – in our fast-paced world, simply giving your partner time shows that you care and want to be with that person above all others
- Physical touch – sincere and appropriate physical contact speaks deeply to those whose primary love language is touch
Now the challenge is knowing which of the five is your partner’s love language. Simply consider which of the five languages your partner uses to communicate affection to you. Are they an enthusiastic gift giver, do they take great care choosing their words or are they physically demonstrative? We tend to show love in the same way that we feel love. Take care, therefore, not to assume that your language will have the same resonance with your partner as it might have with you.
This is one part of a wide body of research that we call upon to inform our understanding of team behaviour and relationships in the workplace, and it also helps us get it right on Valentine’s Day!