My husband and I used to host a large Christmas breakfast for friends that happened to be alone on Christmas morning. One of the topics of conversation always seemed to be around gift-exchanging.
- “I got these new boots from Sally.”
- “Steve bought me a massage gift certificate.”
- “We decided to go on a trip as our gift to each other.”
- “Matt always get me an amazing set of earing.”
- “I’ve been looking at this watch for months; I can’t believe Candace bought it for me.”
It always brings me joy to see the excitement on people’s faces when they receive the perfect gift. But I never understood the value people put on physical gifts. So finding the exact way to show how much you love someone is essential.
Can the answer be found in the Love Languages assessment?
My husband and I have been married for over 25 years. Considerably less than some folks I know, substantially more than others. I am grateful for our excellent relationship.
What makes our relationship work are probably the same things that make relationships work for a lot of other people:
- An effort to understand each other.
I feel that the last one is the most important. I make an effort to understand where Roger is coming from and communicate how much I treasure him.
Several years ago, I went to a seminar where we participated in a Love Languages assessment. This assessment underscored the different ways that people show appreciation. However, the use of the word “love” bothered me a bit as we talked about using the assessment tool in a work environment.
The Love Languages we ranked were:
- Words of affirmation.
- Acts of service.
- Receiving gifts.
- Quality time.
Note: Physical Touch wasn’t included; however, it is a part of the official 5 Love Languages assessment.
I wasn’t at all surprised when my results showed:
#1: Words of Affirmation
#2 and #3 (tied): Quality time, Acts of Service
When I asked my husband to take the same assessment:
#1 and #2 (tied): Quality Time, Acts of Service
#3: Words of Affirmation
I had a couple of “ah-ha” moments when I looked at the results:
- People often find it strange that we generally don’t exchange gifts for major holidays. Gifts are not our Love Language.
- Although we enjoy hanging out with family and friends, we do love just hanging out with each other (and the dogs) and watching TV. Quality time is a priority.
- You will hear a lot of “thanks for doing that,” “I appreciate you,” “I am thankful for…,” “you are good at…,” types of comments floating around our home. Words of Affirmation and Acts of Service are critical in our daily lives.
Why all the focus on Love Languages?
Suppose you and your partner don’t understand each other’s Love Language priorities. In that case, chances are your relationship may not be in sync with this level of communication.
If you buy someone roses and don’t get the favorable reception you were looking for, Gifts may not be one of their top Love Languages.
If you tell our partner that “we make a good team,” and their eyes light up, possibly Words of Affirmation is a top Love Language.
Suppose you schedule a night at home binge-watching Netflix and don’t get the favorable reception you were looking for. In that case, Quality Time may not be one of their Love Languages.
If you make dinner and take out the garbage and suddenly your partner looks at you as if you just handed them the moon, my guess is Acts of Service is one of their top Love Languages.
Do you know the Love Language of those closest to you? If not, how can you figure it out? Once you know, what decision might you make?
Cindy Jobs, PCAC, ACC
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