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Just a Thought - Learning the five languages of love
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What love language are you?

My co-worker Lacy Garrison said she and her husband went through some couple’s session to determine what love language they were in order to better understand each other. Apparently, she’s “acts of service” and he’s “gift giving” – hopefully, I’m not betraying a confidence. I think it’s great they know about themselves and each other.

While I don’t have a “significant other” to explore this issue with, I’m not above learning a little more about myself by understanding my strengths and weaknesses, passions and fears, desires and dreams. So, I went online and read about Dr. Gary Chapman and his book “The Five Love Languages.”

According to Chapman, there are five universal ways people express and interpret love. Through his more than 30 years of couples counseling, he has noticed specific patterns in the way partners communicate – and it turns out most of the population expresses and interprets love in the same five ways, according to his observations.

The five languages:

• Words of affirmation: compliments or words of encouragement such as “I love you” and other compliments are valued most.

• Quality time: their partner's undivided attention. Unlike the words of affirmation, talk is cheap and being a loved one’s main focus leaves quality timers feeling satisfied and comforted.

• Receiving gifts: symbols of love, like flowers or chocolates. Some people feel most loved by receiving a tangible gift. This doesn’t mean the person is materialistic, but a meaningful or thoughtful present makes them feel appreciated.

• Acts of service: setting the table, walking the dog, or doing other small jobs. For these people, actions speak louder than words.

• Physical touch: holding hands, kissing, etc. Everyday physical connections, like hand-holding, kissing, or any type of re-affirming physical contact is greatly appreciated.

An addendum: Just because you or your partner favor a particular love language, doesn’t mean you should stop expressing the other love languages. According to Chapman, even though we tend to favor one language more than the others we still enjoy traits of the others as well.

It said the idea is simple, “Break down and decode the different ways in which people communicate with their partners, so we can finally take the mystery out of what our significant other really wants and expects from us.”

Which love language am I?

I think any committed relationship should contain daily, or at least regularly, words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, and a physical touch. Receiving gifts can be less frequent, but thrown in there occasionally.

If I absolutely had to select one, it would be acts of service. Recognize my life is difficult and help me out. That would be very meaningful to me. If I had a little less to do, I would probably select a different love language.

Standard reporter Lisa Hobbs can be reached at 473-2191.