What's Your Heart Language?
Updated: May 25
I still remember the anticipation of waiting for my dad to get home from work.
Though this was not an everyday occurrence, it felt like gold when it did happen.
I would hear the beeping of his work truck as he backed into the driveway, then the slam of the truck door, followed by the opening of the house door.
In his singsong voice he would say, “Meeegann… look what I found today,” and then proceed to pull out of his workbag or out of a folded up newspaper what he had bought earlier in the day, a gift just for me.
My dad, thinking of me while he was out on his workday- it made me smile.
It differed from time to time but it was usually an item he knew I would love and cherish. Most often it had something to do with my love for the Spice Girls.
He knew I loved the Spice Girls. Well let’s be honest, loved is not a strong enough word.
I. Was. Obsessed.
To this day, the love still runs deep.
My walls were covered in their posters, and I had binders of newspaper cutouts, stickers and pictures. Their cd’s were constantly on repeat, and I knew every word to their movie Spiceworld. I would even encourage my friends to dress up like our favourite member and take photos. I was either Sporty or Posh, but mostly Sporty. I can even remember staying up late one night to catch them on Saturday Night Live. Clearly, this was pre DVR days or the invention of YouTube…. Did I just expose myself as a geriatric millennial?
This was the passion of my adolescent life, so whenever my dad was delivering to the convenience stores (he was a franchisee for a bread company) and he would see stickers, gum, binders, and magazines with their pictures on it, he would not think twice of the purchase.
I felt so loved.
What I would come to realize later is that this was my dad’s love language. He was loving me in the ways he felt loved- through gift giving.
As I went through my Counseling degree I learned about connection in relationships and ways people feel most loved. We all have our love languages where we feel loved, and in this I realized that people most often show love in the language they feel loved.
This was an ‘aha’ moment. If you are ever looking for a way to love on someone important in your life look to how they are loving on you.
The most helpful thing I have learned about love languages is that it is not exclusive to romantic relationships and that it can be applied to all relationships. Think of your siblings, your parents, your friends, your neighbours and your coworkers. How do they show love and appreciation?
Sometimes in relationships we hear the ‘I love yous’ but deep down we do not feel or experience the ‘I love yous’.
At times our love language may not be met. A person's love toward us is not hitting in the way that feels impactful. But we are aware actions of love are being put in our direction but for some reason it is not hitting the right notes.
It can cause frustration and conflict in a relationship especially if one feels they are constantly loving on the other person, but if it is not their love language it may feel like it just keeps coming up empty for the receiver.
What if we knew how to love on someone in the way that connects in the deep parts of their heart?
What if we knew the secret language to meet their deep longings?
It could mean less time trying to think up extravagant ways to love on someone and could be filling their love tank on a constant basis.
According to Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages, people generally gravitate towards two love languages, and if one or both of these are being met regularly they are not only hearing they are loved, but are experiencing it as well.
The five love languages are:
- Quality Time: This is not to be mistaken for quantity. Generally this person just wants to be in your presence while having a meaningful connection- whether that is just sitting together reading, or watching a movie together or going for a drive together. They feel loved in the quality moments together.
- Words of Affirmation: Words run deep here. This person needs to actually hear the words, “I love you. I appreciate you. I’m so glad you are in my life.” The other side of this love language is that negative words cut even deeper. If you are in relationship with a words of affirmation person, it is kind to be wise with your words towards them.
- Physical Touch: This person feels the most connection in being physically touched. They appreciate a hug, a touch on the arm or the back. They like to be physically close.
- Acts of Service: This person really feels loved when the person they are in a relationship with does things for them: it could be doing the dishes, running an errand for them, walking their dog or washing their car. They appreciate when someone offers to help them out with an act of service.
- Gifts: This love language lays in the act of giving something physical. It can require at times some creative giving. Giving a gift in this case does not simply mean you buy them things all the time, as it can also be crafting them something or creating something with them in mind. It is the act of being thought of and giving them something you either sacrificed time or money for.
One of the most unique things I learned in this book was that many assume that men automatically fall in the touch category as men have been designed as physical beings, but that is not always the case. Though touch for a man is a significant act of feeling and being connected, they may also feel loved in the other 4 categories. It is not always safe to assume that a man’s love language is simply touch.
A great way to research about how the person you are in relationship with feels loved is to look at how they give love. What is a natural way for them to give love?
We tend to organically offer love in the ways we feel loved.
Still feeling a little stuck? Here is a great link to a quiz where you can find out how you feel most loved: