You Could Be Bilingual And Not Even Know It
Keesha Sharp breaks down "The 5 Love Languages"
As some may or may not know, I’ve been married going on 14 years to my wonderful husband Bradford Michael Sharp. And if there is one thing I know about staying married is that I’ve got a lot to learn. My husband and I are constantly eager to learn about human relationships. Because the truth be told, we are not the same people we were when we married (thank God). We are constantly maturing, therefore we are changing. In our quest for higher learning, we discovered a book. A book that actually helped us understand or maybe more accurately, put a language to our inner needs. The book is called “The 5 Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman.
When I first read this book I finally understood what my husband and I were trying to say to one other. I understood that the way he loved and needed love was a bit like a foreign language to me. I loved and needed love in a different way - a different “language”. And for those of you that aren’t married and may be thinking “Well I don’t need this, I’m single”, or “I’m not looking for anyone right now” or may be you are too young to think about marriage, well, these “languages” apply to anyone in your life (mother, brother, friend, father, boss, co-worker).
Let me explain, by first giving you a brief description of each language. These are the five languages described here by Dr. Chapman.
Words of Affirmation: Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.
Quality Time: In the vernacular of Quality Time, 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, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.
Receiving Gifts: Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.
Acts of Service: Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “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.
Physical Touch: This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.”
At the end of Dr. Chapman’s book, you can take the test to see which “language” you speak. My husband and I took the test and found out that he is tri-lingual and that I spoke one primary language. His languages are Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, and Quality Time. My primary language is Acts of Service although Quality time ran a close 2nd. So can you see we were a little confused to say the least. Let me explain:
Brad was constantly telling me how much he loved me and how beautiful he thought I was and hugging me and kissing me etc. to express his love for me. Yet if he never cleaned up after himself or got things done when he said he would (Acts of Service), I didn’t feel loved or appreciated.
When I cleaned the house and made dinner and made sure his socks and clothes were clean and folded, it was my way of loving him. But if I didn’t tell him how much I loved him and needed him on a constant basis he didn’t feel loved.
This was such a big moment for both of us. We had been loving each other the way WE loved but not the way the other needed love. Yes, it takes compromise and maybe a bit of stumbling as when we are learning a new language. We won’t be perfect right away but with practice we get better and better. It depends on how much you want to communicate with the love of your life.
I realized this also applied to everyone in my life. I thought of my sister and I being brought up in the same household yet having dramatically different outcomes. My mother wasn’t a “l love you, give me a hug, you are special” type. She provided for us and that was it. She could be cold (I now, understand why). Well my sister’s love languages were “Words of Affirmation” and “Physical touch” which she never received at home. So she went in search of it outside of our family at a very young age. No one could understand why? But, I get it. She needed to feel love as we all do.
Another example is my husbands father, who recently passed away. He loved to give and receive gifts. We thought, what’s the big deal, gifts should be optional etc. (this is before we read the book of course). When we realized his language was “Gifts” we also realized how much he was showing us he loved us. From that moment on, giving and receiving gifts from him was such a love fest for us. We knew he was loving us and we made a point of giving him gifts so that he felt loved.
I guess my point is, we are different and we all have different needs. When you are lacking something in your relationships, stop and realize that you aren’t the only one in the relationship, it takes at least 2. With this realization your only option is to figure out what the other person needs. The person could be your husband, your wife, your mother, brother and children. I think every parent can tell you without a doubt how different each of their children are. Well yes, and they need different things. What worked for one won’t work for another. To put it simply, they all love differently.
Please run, don’t walk to pick up this incredible book. Take the test , have everyone in your life take the test. Learn to speak in as many love languages as you can. Before you know it you may even become a translator, helping others find their voices.
I wish you love and happiness.