Have you ever wanted to strengthen bonds with the people in your life? In my counseling practice, many families come to me when feeling there is a disconnect or they are struggling to bond with their loved ones. The simplest and most effective way I have found to do this is by using the 5 Love Languages created by Gary Chapman. As a Texan, I appreciate the 5 Love Languages using tacos...
But seriously, in case you have never heard of the 5 Love Languages, I will give you a quick introduction.
Physical Touch- This person would like hugging, snuggling, massaging, back scratches, etc. This is the person who says “I am a hugger” on the first meeting or the person who gives a hug as a greeting and another hug as a farewell.
Acts of Service- This is the person who wouldn’t need a party or gifts for their birthday, and instead they would likely appreciate a night off where someone took care of the plans, house, chores, etc. This person really appreciates you taking things "off of their plate" like chores, errands, etc.
Quality Time- This person needs more than just being in the same room together, they need to feel that you have devoted your time and energy to being with them. This person needs dates, time with friends and family, and to feel you have sacrificed your time just for them. This person loves good conversation and to feel listened to.
Gift Giving- Sounds expensive? It doesn’t have to be. According to Gary Chapman, This is the easiest love language for people to learn. This person needs visual signs of your love. A card, a little note, a coffee, flowers, etc.
Words of Affirmation- This person needs compliments, encouragement, and to hear you say “I love you” on a regular basis.
A good way to find out what someone's love language is, is to simply ask "What makes you feel loved?" I often ask my younger clients "How do you know your mom loves you?" and get responses like:
- "She tells me" - words of affirmation
- "She snuggles me before I fall asleep" - physical touch
- "She buys me toys" - gift giving
- "She helps me with my homework" -acts of service
- "She plays with me" - quality time
When you are trying to show someone that you love them in the wrong language, there is a disconnect. They may not be feeling loved even though you are trying. When you put in the effort to speak to them in their love language, it will mean so much to them. You don't have to be perfect, you just have to try.