The other day a friend of mine wrote on Facebook that he was shopping with his daughter. He half-jokingly added, “I think that is her love language!” I say half-jokingly because I think the time with Daddy was speaking volumes to his daughter.
Spending time shopping with Dad was filling her love tank!
Have you ever felt like one of your relationships was in a rut? Or maybe even in a rut with ends in it (also known as a grave!)? Do you ever feel like the other person just doesn’t get you? Have you ever been frustrated that the other person doesn’t understand all that you are doing for him/her?
My guess is that you are speaking different love languages.
Dr. Gary Chapman wrote an amazing book called The Five Love Languages. In his book, he lays out five “languages” that we use to communicate our love to one another:
- Words of affirmation
- Quality time
- Acts of service
- Physical touch
When you and I communicate, we naturally communicate in a way that is most comfortable to us. We communicate in our primary love language. But if the other person in the relationship has a different love language, no matter how much you love them, you are simply not getting through effectively. You are leaving the other person with a near-empty love tank.
I would suggest you start by taking a brief love language assessment (download the free PDF here → 5 Love Languages assessment) to determine YOUR OWN love language first. This is the language you will feel most comfortable using. Second, you need to learn the love languages of OTHERS CLOSE TO YOU so you can change your love dialect.
In the great love chapter in the Bible, the apostle Paul says this, “When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things” (v. 11, New Living Translation). Our love—and the way we express it to others—should always be growing up. If you are trying to communicate your love to someone special in the same ways (the same “languages”) you’ve always used, there’s a good chance your love is being viewed as childish.
As you mature in your expressions of love — as you speak the other person’s love language — you will begin to fill their love tank. Guess what happens next? Out of a full love tank, the other person is motivated to begin to speak your love language, to fill your tank. It can become so much fun to love with a full tank! Because when the other person’s love tank is full, almost any love language will work for them—wow, what a blast!
For married couples, YouVersion has an excellent reading plan that teaches specifically how the love languages operate in the context of your marriage.
UPDATE… my friend Greg Heeres and I host a leadership podcast on YouTube. Recently, we discussed the value of leaders learning and speaking the love languages of their teammates.