Many of us have heard of “The 5 Love Languages” concept theorized by Dr. Gary Chapman – a renowned marriage counselor – in his book of the same name released over 20 years ago. I myself came across this love theory on Oprah’s Lifeclass in 2013. Chapman theorizes we all have a primary and secondary way we like to be loved, and that there are 5 major categories expressions of love fall into:
3) Quality Time
It is believed that learning about our loved one’s most effective method enables us to cater our ways of affection best suited to their preference, which can transform our relationships by getting to the core of how they receive love and connect best.
If there’s one thing for certain, What The World Needs Now Is Love, Sweet Love, and I firmly believe it begins with how we model how to love and be loved in our homes. As we approach the “Day of Love” that is Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be a meaningful activity to uncover the love language of our family. Most associate this concept with marriage and couple-hood, but there is an assessment specifically for young children and teens as well. The assessment is most suited to children 9 years of age – Teen. Chapman suggests children 5-8 years old aren’t quite able to verbalize their love language yet, so suggests these activities instead of the assessment to get a better understanding of their preferred method of affection. The Love Language assessment for Teenagers helps parents uncover their teen’s emotional communication preferences, encouraging constructive conversation and arriving at understanding.
Discover Your Love Language
Your love language profile will explain your primary love language, what it means, and how you can use it to connect to others. We have the two books above on order, but being too impatient to wait to find out our love language profiles, we did this online assessment for myself, Andrew and our almost 9-year- old son instead. We did some of the suggested alternative activities to the assessment for our 6 year old.
As our oldest is just 3 years shy of being a pre-teen, I find myself more aware of wanting to maintain a strong bond with him. I hear it everywhere “just wait until they’re teenagers”. It kind of frightens me, but also motivates me to prepare as best I can by keeping our connection strong. In parenting, I really believe it’s so important to understand the most effective ways to love our children and completely believe we all have different ways we like to be loved, and respond more positively when those secrets are unlocked. Dousing a child with gifts as a form of affection who is more fulfilled by words of affirmation, for instance, would be somewhat fruitless. We may not get the gratitude for the gift we hoped for, in turn, passing our children off as ungrateful or entitled when in fact it just doesn’t get to the core of how they want to be loved.
Which brings me to another theory highlighted in the book – we tend to love others the way we want to be loved. Giving love through material generosity may be our own love language we are projecting on our children and partners. Pay attention to the ways you dole out affection in your own families – it is a window into the heart of what brings your spirit to life and your most favoured form of affection.
I hold their trust in high regard, so our individual love languages will be kept sacred between us, but there were some significant take-aways from doing this activity I want to share, and hope to encourage you to try this activity in your own families to unlock your own love languages.
Lessons Learned From The Love Language Assessment
- Having been with Andrew for over 20 years now, it affirmed some things I already knew about his most desired forms of affection, but also shed light on things he holds in higher regard to other methods of love than I thought. It was a good lesson in not making assumptions about our spouses/partners based on gender stereotypes and generalizations. It also affirmed that a loving marriage means continually staying tuned into the needs of our partner, no matter how long you’ve been together, and acknowledging that those needs can change over time and circumstance.
- It enabled us to see that our kids’ love languages are different and will guide how we move forward in showing affection to each of them individually. It will also help us discipline more effectively by considering their individual needs.
- It helped us realize that we cannot project our own favoured ways of being loved onto each other and then get frustrated when the other doesn’t respond how we think they should. This new knowledge of each other will transform the way we interact and help guide our parenting to meet our childrens’ deepest emotional needs
- It was a really meaningful activity to do as a family. The activity itself forges connection and is a small investment of time to get to new, invaluable understanding of one another. Our oldest son said he can’t wait to do it in his own family one day 🙂
- As parents, we learned that we misjudged the way our oldest son feels most loved. It was an eye-opener and connected some things we weren’t paying attention to before.
- The kids got a kick out of their parents quizzing each other to uncover our love languages. We discussed our results with them, and believe modelling to them that our marriage and appreciation for our individual needs is important will lay the foundation for them to foster quality, loving adult relationships of their own in the future.
How To Live Out The 5 Love Languages in Your Home
Once you unlock your family’s love language, use the chart below as a guide on how to cater your affections to the deepest needs of each family member.
Have you already uncovered the love languages in your own families or relationships? What did you learn?
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