Do You Know Your Love Language?

love languages

Do you want to know how to love your partner better? Your children? Your friends? Yourself? Keep reading and by the end of this blog post, you can know! You don’t have to buy the book or even read it (although, it’s a great resource and an easy read!) Today’s post is short and sweet. I could write for ages on this topic, but today I just want to get the main gist to you and help you out in a quick 5-10 minutes!

In his 30+ years as a marriage counselor, Gary Chapman found that there are five basic love languages – five ways to express love emotionally. He recounts how the couples he was working with would say, “I feel like he/she doesn’t love me.”  And the other would say, “I don’t know what else to do.  I try to show her that I love her.” And on and on it would go. Each person trying so hard to love their partner, but it just wasn’t enough. Chapman found that each person has a primary love language that we must learn to speak if we want that person to feel loved.

The five primary ways we all give and receive love are: words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, physical touch and quality time. Now for a super quick description of each:

Words of Affirmation: If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important— but hearing the reasons behind that love means even more. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten (1).

Gifts: Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If this is your language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, cared for, and prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous to this person (1).

Acts of Service: Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an this type of person will speak volumes. The words he or she most wants to hear are, “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter (1).

Physical Touch: This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person who has this as their primary language is likely very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face are all ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive (1).

Quality Time: for this love language, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, phone down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes this person feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful (1).

I’m telling you guys, this stuff is gold. It has helped my marriage, my friendships and my relationships with my sisters and parents. And I’ve seen it help others. And it’s great to use with  your children, too. If you’re a parent, have you ever been accused of playing favorites? It may be that you and one of your children share the same love language–and so loving that child (in the way he/she feels loved) comes more naturally to you. It really is an eye opener once you discover your love language and the languages of those you love most. It’s a game changer.

Now to find out your love language! (and have your spouse, partner, child, friend, parent–whoever you want to learn to love better–take the quiz, too and the share your results with each other!)

Click here to take the Love Language Quiz! There is one for you (whether you are in a relationship or single) and also one for children (separated by age: 5-8, 9-12, and teen). I took the quiz just now and it took me less than 4 minutes start to finish! So it’s not one of those crazy long quizzes where you have to keep clicking for what seems like an eternity. Plus, in addition to rating your love languages (showing you your top two and subsequent three) it also provides a detailed description of each love language!

Sources:
  1. Dr. Gary Chapman explains the Five Love Languages
  2. Understanding the Five Love Languages 
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20 questions to ask yourself before saying I Do

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 “You can’t love what you don’t know. You can’t be truly loved if you’re not truly known. And the only way to know and be known by another person is to communicate—openly, honestly, sincerely, humbly.”-Joshua Harris

Love is in the air. And with Valentine’s Day just a few days away, you might find yourself reevaluating your relationship. Is this who I want to be with? Is it time to take the next step? Should we get married? Is he going to propose? 

Whether you’re single, newly dating, in a serious relationship, or engaged, the following 20 questions are for you. Answering these questions before walking further down the path of commitment can save you a lot of heartache in the future. And if you’re single, evaluate yourself–what kind of partner will you make? and what kind of partner are you looking for? Some of the questions might sound silly, but I promise they matter. Chemistry ebbs and flows, the spark comes and goes–but a good heart, well, that’s there or it’s not. When sickness and tragedy strike your marriage (as it inevitably will) you want someone you can count on 100%. Take a few minutes and answer these questions–be honest with yourself–as you’re the one who loses out if you’re not straight with yourself before it’s too late.

And if you come across a question that raises a red flag–don’t worry. I’m not saying you need to end your relationship (although you might). But I am saying you need to talk to your partner about it. So many couples have fears and concerns–and they just keep it to themselves. STOP IT! Talk. Talk. Talk. The last thing you want is to walk down that isle with a gnawing feeling tugging at your heart telling you something is wrong. Marriage is a beautiful thing; wonderfully complex and simple at the same time. A learning adventure that never ends. But it can be the worse thing ever if you are with the wrong person.

Finding ‘the One’ isn’t some moment where the stars align and everything is perfect. He/she might seem perfect, but…they’re not. You want someone right for you. A mixed bag of your favorite qualities tossed together with annoying traits you’re willing to live with. Someone you call best friend and lover.

It’s said that people spend more time studying for their drivers license than their marriage license! How sad! Together we can stop that trend. Study your partner. Study your relationship. Be smart. Be in love. But don’t be blind.

  1. Do you share the same faith/values?
    1. And even further than that, do you share the same commitment to that faith?
    2. Your religious and spiritual beliefs shape not only your marriage relationship, but your home and your parenting.
  2. Do you agree on children?
    1. Do you both want or not want children? and how many children?
  3. Will he/she make a good parent to your children?
    1. Can you picture your partner with your future children? Sure, you’ll have time to discuss parenting styles and picking baby names but it is important to know ahead of time what you both think about parenting.
  4. Do you have any fear he/she will ever cheat on you?
    1. Do they have any history of infidelity?
    2. Do you catch your partner checking out other people? Not saying he’s not allowed to recognize that the waitress is cute. But if he/she is ogling every hot thing that walks by–no bueno.
  5. Do you trust him/her completely?
    1. Trust is the foundation of a relationship. No trust; no foundation. Your relationship in not stable without trust and it could crumble at any moment. Some trust tests: would your partner let you freely look at his/her phone/texts and social media accounts if you asked? Do you worry what you might find?
    2. Has he/she ever lied to you? Even a little lie? Marriage must have a zero tolerance for lying. You must be completely honest with each other.
  6. Is he/she kind to you? 
    1. I cannot over emphasize the importance of choosing a kind person with whom to spend the rest of your life. Looks definitely play their part. as does money. and a good sense of humor. But when push comes to shove, is your man (or woman) kind? (kindness can be understood as someone who shows compassion and consideration for yours and others overall well-being)
  7. Is he/she controlling?
    1. Can you come and go freely? Is your partner jealous? Do they constantly ask you what you are doing, where you are going and monitoring your daily activities? To find out if your partner is controlling, read here
    2. A certain amount of involvement is fine. But if you feel like the child in the relationship–something is wrong. You are equals. Not parent/child.
  8. Does he/she have a stable job?
    1. Sure, it’s normal to switch jobs every so often, especially when you are young. But changing jobs for a promotion is different than because you were fired. And if you are looking to build a family with this person–job stability is crucial.
  9. Is he/she financially responsible?
    1. If you’re unsure as to whether your partner is financially responsible or not..here are some clues: Do they pay their own bills? and on time? do they have debt? If so, what kind? Do they live beyond their means?
  10. Is he/she a giving person?
    1. If a family member needed money, would he/she help them out?
    2. A giving person is evidence of someone that cares about people beyond themselves. They are willing to place importance on the needs of others.
  11. Can he/she forgive?
    1. Is he/she notorious for holding a grudge? If you marry someone who doesn’t know how to forgive, your marriage will soon be weighted down with heavy resentment and bitterness.
  12. How does he/she handle conflict?
    1. Conflict is inevitable in any relationship. Fights are not an indicator of a bad relationship, but rather, how you fight.
    2. Your conflict style can either help or harm your relationship. Here is a great article for learning how to fight fair and another one that will help you identify your conflict style.
  13. Do you get along with his/her parents?
    1. Not saying this is a make or break. But it is important. Especially if your partner is really close to his/her parents. You don’t need to be besties with your in-laws, but it will cause problems in the future if they don’t support your relationship.
  14. Do you share the same views on alcohol/drugs?
    1. It should go without saying that there should be no drugs involved in your relationship. But it is still important to be agreed on these things. As for alcohol–if one of you likes to have wine with dinner every night or a beer or two, and the other wants nothing to do with alcohol–it’s worth having a conversation.
  15. Do you basically agree on politics?
    1. You might think it doesn’t matter if you differ here–but your political beliefs are rooted in your core beliefs about life. It matters.
  16. Is he/she respectful to authority?
    1. Look at how your partner treats/talks about parents, officers of the law, their superiors at work..
    2. Disrespect to those in authority is an indicator that he/she has trouble accepting advice/direction and will not be able to compromise well in your relationship. Marriage is a give and take. Both need to give and both need to take for it to work. It’s a life of compromise–a shift from me to we.
  17. Does he/she have a history of watching porn? (or currently?)
    1. Research has proven pornography to be very harmful to relationships. Make sure your future spouse commits to a zero tolerance policy when it comes to viewing pornography.
    2. Visit Fight the New Drug for some great info and research on the subject.
  18. Do you share any hobbies?
    1. One of a man’s top needs is a recreational companion (1). aka a fun-mate. someone to play and chill with. Do you share some of the same interests?
  19. Is he/she affectionate?
    1. One of a woman’s top needs is affection, in ways other than in the bedroom (1). Does your partner show you affection on a daily basis? (hugs, hand holding, non-sexual affection)
  20. If you were to get in a car accident 3 years into marriage and be paralyzed, do you believe he/she would stay with you?
    1. I know, whoa, deep question. But, really. Think about it. Do you know what your partner would do? We’d like to think nothing like this would happen to us, but I know many a marriage that has been tested and tried by cancer, disease and tragedy. It’s not cute or romantic. It’s tough and it will test you to your core. Marry someone who loves you for YOU. Who will give up themselves for you. Who will put their career, their dreams..on hold–to be there for you and protect your marriage.

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If after answering these questions, you’re not experiencing any sick or uneasy feelings in your stomach–then hold on to that partner of yours and don’t let ’em go! You’ve got yourself a good one! And don’t let the questions stop here. Keep getting to know your partner. and yourself. If you’re engaged, take this a step further and find a premarital course/counselor. Marriage is for life. You can’t be too careful; as they say, better safe than sorry. It’s your future. and possibly your children’s future that lays on the line of whom you choose to say your “I dos”.

Some great sources and resources for more relationship help:
1.  His Needs, Her Needs. by Willard F. Harley.
2. Before You Say “I Do” Premarital Questions: http://www.markmerrill.com/before-you-say-i-do-premarital-questions/  
3. Seven principles for Making Marriage Work. by John Gottman.
4. Saving your marriage before it starts. by Les and Leslie Parrott.
5. Love and Respect. by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.