The Five Love Languages and You

Thursday, April 22, 2010 Jonette 16 Comments

Hi, everyone. It's been a long, long, busy, and long season for me at work, and wow, it's good to be back.

Let me tell you a love story. It's not pretty, nor is it dramatic, but it's still a love story, and it holds a very important lesson. Listen closely now.

The weeks had been long and fraught with work and errands, and at the end of my Friday shift at 2am, I went all a-tumbling all over myself, scrambling to go home -- to James' home. We were bound to spend the long weekend together, after all, just the two of us, and with two hearty breakfasts and a ton of happy news in tow, I couldn't wait to be with him again. He opens the door, kisses me good morning, takes breakfast off my hands,  and proceeds to head for the dining room, telling me about the latest unfurlings of a manga series we've been following.

 I felt crestfallen; why hadn't he asked me how my day or week was? Didn't he want to know about how I managed to finish a dozen chores and errands before my shift? Didn't he want to want to hear about all my little achievements for the week? I needed to hear the words from him, to hear him tell  me "good work, honey; I'm proud of you" or "you're amazing"; why didn't he?

The weekend should have been wonderfully restful -- anime marathons, no-fuss meals, taking turns on Facebook, and the occasional Magic: The Gathering game. I should have felt happy and energized through it all, and yet, I felt like it had been the worst weekend ever. I carried this sour feeling all the way into the work week, and made a lot of bad decisions I'm not very proud of. Terrible, terrible.

Some people say Wisdom comes before the folly, and the best teachers will more often than not speed up the folly. We are often our best teachers, and we will, whether we mean to or not, put ourselves in the best positions to learn a very crucial lesson along the way. A phone call, wrecked nerves, and a sobering girl (moi) were all it took for a tiff to happen. At times like these, it is coolness and level-headedness that saves the day, and I am very thankful my boyfriend has tonnes of both to spare, served with a bit of humor on the side to sweeten the mood.

It was then that I realized: we had had two-and-a-half days of fun and relaxation to ourselves, and it should have been a fantastic honeymoon-ish period for the two of us. He did his best to distract me from thinking about what might have been a terrible week at work by entertaining me with stories, prepping the playlists, checking media quality for hassle-free viewing, assembling fun games, and making sure we'd have food for my stay with him. He prepared everything the best he could so we could enjoy quality time with each other. Why ,then, had I chosen to concentrate on that single discordant moment and let it spoil my perception of the weekend and days after?

Taking a number of steps back to see the situation in a more objective light, I realized what happened was truly a case of miscommunication -- He was sending out signals to communicate love to me by service and quality time, but I didn't perceive them as such. On the other hand, I was looking for affirming words as love signals I could understand, but he didn't know I needed it that way.How to bridge the gap, then?

That's where The Five Love Languages come in. I had once heard of it in passing from my friend Mary, and was fully introduced to it by Ditas.

I am blessed to have good friends.

Everyone has their own way of expressing their love to their beloved, and interestingly, are drawn to those same methods of expression. It's of the same principle of the love letter that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside as it is of the dishes being done for you after a gorgeous meal. We can now pretty much categorize these expressions into five forms, thus, The Love Languages. We have Dr. Gary Chapman to thank for this.

To people of this Love Language (like moi), oftentimes a short note saying "Hello love, you're beautiful. Can't wait to see you again" will sweep them off their feet more than anything else in the world. They thrive on words from their beloved to encourage, support, comfort, and uplift them. They will treasure love letters, cards,  even a short note or poem scribbled on a Post-It because loving words mean deeply to them. Try reading them a few lines from a sonnet, play or story to best tell them how you feel. If you feel particularly creative and adventurous, trying writing one yourself and dedicate it to him or her. Think of reasons why you love them, and tell them every chance you get. Tell about your beloved's accomplishments to your friends, and feel his or her heart swell with love.

Wordies will more than gladly reciprocate in kind, and will very likely spend time and effort to carefully assemble the best sentence they can think of to express themselves. After all, the one they love is worth every bit of it. To them, grammar, vocabulary, syntax, everything they've ever learned from Languages class is a means to express their love to the hilt.

Let's not forget a good sense of humor, too. If you can make a Wordie laugh with a well-delivered punchline, you've pretty much gotten a bit more closer to his or her heart.

Bear in mind, though: just as easily as it is to make a Wordie feel loved with a je t'adore, a sharply-delivered  je vous deteste will crush his or heart above anything. So will tearing up their treasured love letters, or destroying their books. Please don't. It would be better to talk things out with your Wordie, and the poor books never did anything.

To Touchers, the skin is the biggest, sexiest, and loveliest organ there is. Touchers love to show their love with kisses, hugs, holding hands, pats, on the back, eskimo kisses, butterfly kisses... you name it. They will hug you or hold your hand when you cry or are in pain to show their sincere concern and love for you, or they will pick you up and twirl you around the room to show how happy they are to hear about your promotion. In crowds or alone, their hands will always reach for yours while walking. Tickling is a turn-on for them. Intimacy in the bedroom is as important as togetherness in the open. Think everything tactile. Give them a long, soothing massage after a long day at work, scrub their backs with a yummy-smelling body wash in the bath, or caress them through their night-shirts. Or, just kiss them where they least expect it -- behind their ears, the base of their necks, the small of their backs, behind the knees... experiment!  As you give, so shall you receive. I hope you're not ticklish -- or are. ^_~*

On the other end, a hard slap to the face, a punch, or any tactile gesture that communicates anger, loathing, and other negative emotions will send their hearts a-crumbling.

Quality Time 
To people who speak this language, being there and spending time together means the world to them. Presence is a gift, and the meaning of the gift is greater when you give them your undivided, irrevocable attention -- TV off, leaving the dishes, putting your favorite book or knitting or video game down, or setting aside whatever you're working on. Quality Time People are happy to go anywhere with their beloved, whether it be at the opera house or the local grocer's, because the minutes and hours spent with their beloved are spent lovingly. They also relish long holidays spent with the person they love, exploring new locales and discovering things together. Doing something fun together, like taking a class or going biking together makes them happy. Even by simply hanging out, being close to each other and saying nothing for some time will speak volumes of tenderness to them.

I like for you to be still: it is as though you were absent,
and you hear me from far away and my voice does not touch you.
It seems as though your eyes had flown away
and it seems that a kiss had sealed your mouth.

As all things are filled with my soul
you emerge from the things, filled with my soul.
You are like my soul, a butterfly of dream,
and you are like the word Melancholy.

I like for you to be still, and you seem far away.
It sounds as though you were lamenting, a butterfly cooing like a dove.
And you hear me from far away, and my voice does not reach you:
Let me come to be still in your silence.

And let me talk to you with your silence
that is bright as a lamp, simple as a ring.
You are like the night, with its stillness and constellations.
Your silence is that of a star, as remote and candid.

I like for you to be still: it is as though you were absent,
distant and full of sorrow as though you had died.
One word then, one smile, is enough.
And I am happy, happy that it's not true.

-- I Like For You To Be Still, Pablo Neruda
In the same vein, postponed dates, distractions while listening or even failure to listen can be very hurtful.

{source unknown}


Does your beloved's face light up whenever you present him or her with a token or a small bouquet of flowers? Do the words "I have something for you" put a twinkle in their eye? Do they exhibit sheer glee and/or excitement unwrapping a present? If so, then your beloved may speak the Love Language of Gifts.

Some people might mistake this for materialism, but I beseech you not to. To Gifters, it is the time, effort, thought, and love behind the gift that matters. The gift tells them the giver values them above what was sacrificed to make the gift happen. The gesture doesn't have to be grandiose -- even a simple cupcake or a flower will make them feel cherished when the act of giving is turned into an intimate and sincere ritual. Gifters may also keep mementos of gifts past, be they gift tags on presents, pressed flowers, or a clean wrapper of the first chocolate bar given to them.

A word of caution, though: please never, ever miss their birthdays or your anniversaries, or even try to make up for it with something you hastily grabbed off the store shelf without a single thought. This might hurt your Gifter more. If you do forget important dates, I suggest taking careful time and thought in picking out a gift you know will matter a lot to him or her. A second-hand and well-kept early edition of Kurt Vonnegut? Fair-trade marmalade? Geeky toys or apparel for the office? Balls of sumptuous yarn and knitting needles? Protective sparring gear? Why not? ^_^*

That, and a date-keeper or organizer to write down important dates in. Trust me. I need to get one for myself, too.

Work is Love made visible, as Kahlil Gibran said. To Servers, this is their motto. Nothing communicates your love to them more than cooking a meal  for them, doing the dishes, or even getting up before them to see to the baby.  Even the very simple gesture of sweeping the floor for them makes their heart light up.The words  "let me do that for you" makes them smile and feel warm and fuzzy inside.

You will spot a Server by his or her actions. Doing the groceries, keeping a clean house, doing a laundry run, fixing a leaky faucet or a squeaky electric fan is their big bouquet of "I Love You", specially made for you. Or, another way this can be expressed would  be to stick to a boring job, or even take on a second job they dislike just to pay off the mortgage or family loan. If that's not love, I don't know what is!

Be mindful. Oftentimes, the Love Language of Service is the easiest to miss, or even take for granted. The little acts of loving service Servers render may be misconstrued as obligation, or as merely "doing their duty." "That's not an act of love; it's really his job to take the garbage out."  Ouch.  This is one of the quickest ways to break a Server's heart. It may be his turn, or it might be her job to do so, but they  will willingly and happily do it with their loved one in mind. A clean, comfortable home; delicious, nutritious and hassle-free meals; not having to think about the dishes; clean clothes to wear; a few extra hours of sleep... Wow! What a phenomenal way to say "I love you" !

The Love Tank (Bank)

We all have our own Love Tanks to take care of. The concept is simple, really: Every time you feel loved, your Love Tank gets filled. Withdrawal,  harsh words, hurtful actions or  even a failure to connect will result in an empty Love Tank. Full Love Tanks make you joyful and loving, while empty Love Tanks make you feel miserable and potentially hostile. Note: This Love Tank doesn't determine how much you are loved, but rather how much you feel loved.

Being in a loving relationship, we want to fill our beloved's Love Tanks as best we can.The way to do it is to speak your partner's Love Language and let them know often how you care for them. If you find your partner's Love Language isn't the same as yours, that's perfectly fine. Most couples will not speak the same language. I  personally like to think this is a good thing -- keeps things more interesting  and exciting as the years go by. ^_^*

Dr. Chapman suggests having a "Love Tank Check-up"  every 3 weeks or so. Take some time to ask your partner "Honey, how is your Love Tank tonight?",  and have them rate it on a scale of 0 to 10.  If the number is anything less than 10,  the question to next ask is, "What can I do to fill it and bring it up to 10?" , then go do that to the best of your ability.

Understanding the Love Languages has helped James and I understand each other on a deeper and more fulfilling level. After taking a quick quiz, we were both pleasantly surprised with our results. I feel so lucky to be the girlfriend of a Toucher; I make it a point to tell him how much his hugs mean to me -- while hugging him, of course --, and he takes time to send me small love notes.  Domestic bliss is truly blissful.

We took the quiz, and you and your partner can too. Please do so! It will be so worth ten relaxed minutes of your time.  Once you're done, why not try to send an e-card that matches with your partner's Love Language? It's pretty, it's free, and it will be good for both you and your beloved. ^_^*

In the end, being in a loving relationship really boils down to the trust and commitment you have for each other. It's savoring the happy moments, and working together through the tough moments. It's knowing a good thing, a really good thing when you see it, and knowing enough to not let it go, to care for it. It's falling in love over and over with your partner, despite knowing each other very, very well. It's being  well aware there will be bad times and there will be problems, and knowing not to sacrifice the good times because of them.

It's going  from I'm not giving up on you if you're not giving up on me, to I'm not giving up on you. Ever.    

Question time: What's your Love Language?  How do you communicate it to your loved ones? 


  1. Love the love languages!

    I am time, oh I am time, time, time, all the time. haha.

  2. I suppose we're both word people *lol* That's why those things matter so much to us. Like James, JM's another service kind of guy and thankfully we're also quality time kind of people. We just have to remember that our Love Tanks/Banks are full so we don't feel disappointed with a lot of things.

    You guys are awesome, working things out despite everything. Take care of yourself and of each other.

  3. Balls of sumptuous yarn and knitting needles? Crochet hooks too!! ^_^

    Well-written, as always. Thanks for the mention! ^_^

  4. Found your post via Gala Darling. My parents read The Five Love Languages when my siblings and I were very little, so this concept has been hugely emphasized in my house. I'm words and touch. Tell me I'm beautiful as you wrap me up in a bear hug, and I'll absolutely melt. =)

  5. Love the love languages!

    I am time, oh I am time, time, time, all the time. haha.

    Here's to more exploration dates and whirlwind adventures with your beloved for you, flowermash! :)

  6. You guys are awesome, working things out despite everything. Take care of yourself and of each other.

    Thanks so much, Clair! Here's hoping all the best for you and JM! *hug*

  7. Balls of sumptuous yarn and knitting needles? Crochet hooks too!! ^_^

    Well-written, as always. Thanks for the mention! ^_^

    Mos def on the crochet hooks! Thank you, thank you so much! *curtsies*

  8. My parents read The Five Love Languages when my siblings and I were very little, so this concept has been hugely emphasized in my house.

    I think you're really lucky to have seen the Love Languages in action growing up! It's wonderful to be started off in the right direction. Go you! :)

  9. This is a gorgeous post, thank you! x

  10. This is a gorgeous post, thank you! x

    Thank you, Becky! ^_^*

  11. I love this entry! Linking it at my blog. :)
    Btw, your hats are lovely. I'm wondering if you're selling some?

  12. I love this entry! Linking it at my blog. :)
    Btw, your hats are lovely. I'm wondering if you're selling some?

    Wow! Thanks, superhero! I most certainly do. do you have a particular hat in mind? Please let me know! I'm puting [dot] tikbalang [at] gmail [dot] com. :)

  13. Lovely site. I am so happy to find another passionate filipina here on the web.

    Anyway, I'm a physical touch and quality time person. Its a deadly combination I must tell you. LOL

  14. Thanks, Nori! Much obliged. ;) and yes, that is one awesome combination. you're partner is one lucky duck, and would do well to get used to extended cuddling sessions. :D

  15. Tito Ryan and I were taught this when we attended 18 weeks of "Growing Kids God's Way" when Johannah was still a baby (every Sunday, we attended meetings with other couples with young children). I am GIFTS and he is SERVICE. BTW, there is also a book Love Languages for Children. Its a good read. Thanks!!

  16. Oh, wow! Thanks for dropping by and reading, Tita! :D I really appreciate your being here.

    I'd really want a chance to read the book to get a better idea of how it works. I'll add Love Languages for Children to me to-read list too. Thanks! :D


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