Thursday, March 17, 2011

How can you tell your primary love language?

This is part 2 of the love languages posts. I think there's going to be a part 3 too... because I still haven't got to the children!

The 5 love languages are words of affirmation, gifts, physical touch, acts of service and quality time.

When I'd speak to women, they'd always tell me (well, in 90% of the cases) that their husband's love language was physical touch, because of the s*x.

I thought the same of D :)

In the book, Dr Gary Chapman shared some examples of how to know if this is your husband's love language.

"If you were having all the s*x in the world, but you didn't do x (the other 4 languages), would your husband still feel loved?"

Our answer is no.

In fact, in bed yesterday morning (it felt really decadent being in bed while the kids were up and awake, eating their breakfast with V before I went to work), we decided that D's primary love language is words of affirmation and second is quality time.

I had them the other way around because he's always nagging me to come watch TV/ a movie with him :)

D's number 5 is acts of service so I know it's a BIG deal when he does something for me.

Yesterday I asked him to proof-read our wills. Normally I have to nag for at least 3 weeks before he will do anything paperwork but when I got home, they were both done! Probably because we spent those 45 minutes talking and having quality time. :)

If you're using a love language to your spouse and it's not their main one, they won't feel loved no matter how well you do that love language.

E.g. if your love language is not gifts and you keep getting the biggest and the best, it will have no impact.

Which brings me to the next point:

A good indicator of your love language is the thing that you always do for other people.

How do you express love most easily?

Those touchy-feely people who hug and kiss everyone, even those they've just met? Probably physical touch :)

I'm working on a Big Project with someone whose love language I'm sure is physical touch. We meet with all sorts of people all the time - partners, ad agency, research people, etc. and she's all kissy and huggy when we all meet and get to a meeting.

They then want to kiss me too and I just hang back. Very funny to watch, I'm sure, but I'm also straightforward so I just grab an arm or shoulder to be slightly more personal than a handshake, but still not do the kissy thing. What do you do?
So my love languages, as first guessed by Julia in comment number 1 (I was super-impressed) are words of affirmation and acts of service.

MandyH got my first 3 in order. Again, impressed! Apparently most of you know me really well.

My friend, Natalie, thought that I had gifts in there somewhere (because of how much I love doing 29 gifts) when we discussed it ages ago so I asked the workshop lady and she said gifts and acts of service could sometimes be mixed up. There is a fine line but generally making things for people (cards, etc.) are acts of service.

At the workshop, the lady did a very powerful exercise. Well, it was powerful for me.

She asked these questions of us. We didn't have to answer in the group but just quietly to ourselves.

What made you feel loved as a child? or

What would have made you feel loved as a child?

Well, I can't remember feeling loved very much as a child so I went to the next question and this was my answer, "to have been told I love you and I'm proud of you".

I have never heard that from my mother and my father has said I love you about 3 times in my life, all of them in the last 4 - 6 years, but that's it.

Answering this question is a clue to your primary love language.

So for me, words of affirmation.

I know that it's very easy for me to genuinely compliment other people and to speak words of encouragement to them. I do it without even thinking about it.

People with this love language love unsolicited compliments that are specific (not just a "great job") but on the other hand, also get really hurt through words or lack of them.

When our love tanks are empty, we ask for approval, like "what do you think of my new dress? Do you like this? Do you think I did a good job? etc."

I cringe because I can relate so, so much.

Acts of service - I love doing things for other people and being helpful and of service.

Now here's something she said I loved!

Love that is asked for is of lower value than love offered.

So if I have to beg D to make me a cup of tea (this doesn't happen by the way) and he then makes it, it means less than when I'm working and he just brings me a mug of tea spontaneously.

When our love tanks are empty in this area, we usually complain like "do you think I'm your maid? why can't you do ________? " (usually nagging about stuff around the house or on the to do list)

With friends we say things like, "why don't they ever bother to do ____? Why must I always be the one to _____?"

Again, I cringe as I can now see why I feel resentful when people don't reciprocate in ways I think they should.

I suppose my love tank was just empty.

I asked D if he thinks it's weird to ask all my friends what their love language is so I can be a better friend to them. He thinks I'm crazy.

What do you think?

P.S. Now that you know my primary love language is words of affirmation, you can see how much I love comments :) I love, love, LOVE hearing from you.


  1. ah, I knew it was words of affirmation because of how upset you got when people DIDN'T say what they should have, when they should have. Also, because it's my number one so I really relate! For years I thought it was gifts, but it really wasn't, it was the 'i love yous' that sometimes go along with gifts. I've finally realised that I don't actually care that much about getting gifts... I'd rather buy my own stff!

    Really looking forward to the extra bit on children. I am always SHOWERING them with expressions of love, because that's what works for me, but I have got absolutely NO CLUE what my children's love languages are at the moment. Maybe chocolate biscuits. Does that count? Let's hope it's acts of service because I feel liek that is ALL I DO at the moment!

  2. Okay...I am definitely going to have to come back and read more closely when I have a little more time later. But right off hand, I am struck by your mention of rarely hearing "I love you" from your parents. I guess I am a words of affirmation girl...Jeremy and I say it ALL the time, as do my parents and I. Every time I talk to my mom we say "I love you", and it has been that way as long as I can remember. I wouldn't know what to do without the words. : )

    As for what works FOR me, it's the words, then the gifts of service, I think. As I said, I will have to ponder a little more.

  3. This is all so interesting to me. I rarely buy into and focus on things of this nature. Tonight in the car I realized how much DH need affirmations and I just don't care to hear him complain about work! So I shut up and listened and gave feedback. Guess who took the diapers downstairs to be washed?! There might be something to this!

    How I'll refill my tank I'm not sure. I will still be upset over his sloppiness and I can hold a mean grudge!

    I think I express most easily by giving my time. I am not one to be touchy-feely. Ironically I am a bit of a hermit and hate to actually go out and I loathe speaking on the phone. I guess I really have to like you for you to be worth my time-making it that much more meaningful!

  4. Quality time totally makes sense for me to be mine, but the physical touch- not so much. The only one I like to touch me is my husband. I'm not touchy feely at all. Maybe I was just feeling cuddly towards him last night when I took the quiz...

    Aaron is always doing stuff for me. All the time. He's amazing at the acts of service. So does that mean that's what he needs? Sigh. I hate doing crap- I'd rather be waited on ROFL

    I think he's part physical touch though as well. He's always holding my hand, rubbing my back, etc.

  5. I am so sorry to hear about your mother and father not telling you they love you, that made me almost cry. How very very sad.

    I love these posts of yours, very informative. I am the same as you - words of affirmation is number one for me. I love to hear that someone loves me and they are proud of me.

  6. Love that is asked for is of lower value than love offered.

    I loved this too. Made me think. Especially since my husband has Acts of Service as his primary LL.

    I would have felt more loved as a child if they had told me that they loved me (I really can't ever remember them telling me this) and if they had praised me more. If it did happen then I would surely have remembered it? At one stage I wondered if it was because I was the oldest child and therefore more independent. I wondered if they felt that I generally just got on with things and sorted myself out and that they felt that they didn't need to worry because I was fine. Interestingly enough I tell my parents a lot that I love them and it is only at that point that they reciprocate. So, if I don't say it first then I won't hear it. Another interesting thing: My DH, when he met me immediately got that Words of Affirmation was my primary LL and constantly affirmed me - he still continues to do this. Yet, he scored something like a 3 for Words of Affirmation. I express my love most easily by affirming others. And by hugging and kissing people, though I've toned down on this because some people don't like it.

  7. Wow, these two posts are great. I really need to read this

  8. Ha! I just wrote a blog posting about the same thing!

  9. I would imagine my love language would be acts of service and quality time. Interesting post Marcia...and I somehow knew yours would be affirmation;-)

  10. Just filling your tank!!! Enjoy the long weekend!!!


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