Many years ago, I read a book called The 5 Love Languages by Gary D. Chapman. The premise of the book is that we give and receive love in basically one of five ways.
- Words of Affirmation
- Quality Time
- Receiving Gifts
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
Paraphrasing (from memory) the author’s premise….
- Some people consistently give love in the same way every time (e.g., speaking or writing loving sentiments);
- Whereas others give love to different people in different ways (e.g., demonstrating love to a spouse through physical touch but showing a friend love by spending time with the friend);
- Yet other people may combine methods of giving love (e.g., sharing quality time with a friend in a ceramics studio creating the perfect gift).
However, regardless of how an individual chooses to use these “love languages”, the author’s overarching premise is that each person tends to unconsciously choose one of these languages to give love. As with giving love, people tend to feel loved by receiving love from others in one of the five ways as well. Interestingly, the method that makes you feel the most loved may not be the method that you use to show others love—but sometimes it is.
I thought about this book over the weekend because Christmas is fast approaching. For many, Christmas is a combination of a birthday celebration and commercialism, whereas others only focus on the birth of Jesus, and others focus primarily (or solely) on the commercialism of finding the perfect gift to present to one’s loved ones. This is especially true for the non-Christians who exchange “Christmas” gifts.
It’s a fun exercise to consider how you feel the most loved and how you show your love to others. It’s also fun to try to figure out how the people in your relationship sphere give and receive love. If receiving gifts isn’t the way you feel loved, remember that it may be the way that someone is demonstrating their love for you and consider my Facebook post from the other day.