Tell me if this little scenario rings a bell.
Before I leave for a night out with my girlfriends, I have a checklist to get through. I make sure the kids have had dinner. I clean up the kitchen, so my husband won’t have to come home to a mess.
I barely make it out the door in time, but I’m confident I’ve left our home how I would like to find it when I return.
A few hours later, I’m on my way home. I’ve had a great time. I’m smiling as I open the door … then shock hits.
The kitchen is in disarray. Food and dirty dishes everywhere. Irritation overcomes me. My husband comes into the kitchen and opens his arms to give me a hug. The last thing I want from him right now is a hug. I instinctively want to take one of those dirty dishes and smack it on his head (good thing we do not always act on instinct!).
This scenario has happened to me so many times. I couldn’t understand why I felt so freaking mad at him, or why in the world he thought this was a good time to offer me a hug.
Then I took the 5 Love Languages test, and it all became clear to me.
Love languages are the distinct ways we express love to others.
Each of us has a primary and sometimes a secondary “love language.” We use our favorite “language” to show affection and connect.
According to Dr. Gary Chapman, the 5 love languages are:
Words of Affirmation: This language uses words to affirm other people.
Acts of Service: For these people, actions speak louder than words.
Receiving Gifts: For some people, what makes them feel most loved is receiving a thoughtful gift.
Quality Time: This love language is all about giving the other person your undivided attention.
Physical Touch: To this person, nothing speaks more deeply than appropriate touch.
When you discover your love language—and how it differs from your partner’s—it can open up a world of healing in your relationship.
For example, I discovered that my primary love languages are Words of Affirmation and Acts of Service.
No wonder I make sure to clean up the house before I leave, even if it’s not always convenient. This Act of Service allows my husband to come home to a clean kitchen, so that he can enjoy more time with the kids.
When I return home after my outing, I can see the mess in the kitchen; however, I cannot see the love from my husband. His love language is Physical Touch. So when I’m standing there in the kitchen, fuming that he hasn’t returned my Act of Service, he’s trying to show me love the way he knows best: through a hug. Unfortunately, I do not see it as such, as Physical Touch is not my love language.
We show love in different ways. One way is not better or worse than the other, just different.
Knowing this about each other has afforded us greater understanding of our reactions around love and the way we want to give and receive it.
Take the Love Languages test for couples here.
Want to learn more?
Watch Monica’s interview with Your Brilliance where she talks about having the courage to be yourself and stand strong in your vulnerability.
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