Do You Really Know Your Love Language?

I just finished reading The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Again.

I adore this book and think it’s applicable to all kinds of relationships, from marriage to friendships to family relationships. So, to help celebrate Valentine’s Day, I decided to read it again—this time thinking about my kids as well as my husband.

If you haven’t read it, the gist is that we all appreciate certain kinds of love more than others. Many, many of you will have read this or at least will have heard of it. You probably think you know your love language and that of your spouse (and possibly kids).

You might be wrong.

Even after reading through the book again and nodding along at all of my favorite parts, I assumed I knew my love language and almost skipped the little Love Language Quiz at the end. I’ve taken that quiz before, most memorably at a church marriage retreat. The results were (in order from the most appreciated kind of love to the least):

  • Acts of Service
  • Quality Time
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Gifts
  • Physical Touch

Acts of Service was the clear front runner with Quality Time as a distant second. Words of Affirmation scored pretty low, Gifts scored very low, and Physical Touch got a score of 0. (My husband loves to tease me about this in front of others: “How would you like to have a wife who scored a ZERO in physical touch?” Thanks for sharing, Sweetie.)

Back at that marriage retreat, I was a tired, anxious mom with two young kids. Overwhelmed with life (Service). A bit lonely at home (Time). Not entirely sure I was doing the whole mom and wife thing “right” (Words). Feeling like money was tight and I didn’t need any more stuff anyway (Gifts). And constantly touching and being touched by two littles (yes I scored a zero on Physical Touch!).

This afternoon, about eight years later, I took it the quiz again. Here were the shocking results:

  • Quality Time and Acts of Service (tied)
  • Gifts
  • Physical Touch and Words of Affirmation (tied)

Well, they were shocking to me! A dead heat between Time and Service? Gifts popping up to a strong third, with Touch and Words not far behind?

I used to be an Acts of Service girl all the way… but no more. Why? Because of who I am now.

My family is getting busier with activities and I’m competing with technology for attention (Time). I still love help around the house, but my kids are a little older and chores are easier to keep up with (Service). I’ve realized that my husband shows love with gifts and so I appreciate them more (Gifts). Physically, my kids are very self-sufficient (Touch). And even though I’m still not sure I’m doing this whole wife and mom thing “right,” I’m holding myself to better standards: God’s, my own, and my family’s (Words).

I’ve grown and changed, and this all makes sense, but I didn’t realize it. I didn’t know my own love language.

Do you?

Take the Challenge:

First, if you’re not sure what I’m talking about, reserve Chapman’s book from your local library right now (seriously, go reserve it online right now—just go).

If you do think you know your love language, check again by taking that little quiz in the back. Think about how you’ve changed and grown… and think about how you might want to change a thing or two in response. For example, I might want to schedule more date nights (Time) and show more appreciation for the little things my husband gives me (Gifts).

Then think about how the needs of your spouse, your kids, and the other VIPs in your life may have changed as well. What can you do today to show them love in a clear way, a way that they’ll really feel and appreciate?

And now these three remain: Faith, Hope, and Love. But the greatest of these is love.

I Corinthians 13:13

Has your love language changed over the years?

For more about preparing your heart for Valentine’s Day (and other holidays), read my handbook, Organizing for Joyful Holidays!

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