Finding Your Love Languages

“When you know the language of love, it is easy to understand that someone in the world awaits you.” Paulo Coelho

Gary Chapman theorized there are five love languages.

Acts of Service is when we do something like help clean up or make dinner for someone.

Physical Touch can be hugs and kisses with a partner or non-sexual touch with a friend.

Quality Time is spending time with our loved ones.

Receiving Gifts is exactly that, no matter how small.

Words of Affirmation. This is when we let people know how much we appreciate them. 

What are the top 3 ways you prefer to receive love?

We all have our preferred ways to both give and receive love. One of my preferred love languages is Acts of Service, but it was something I was taught.

Some lessons are learned the hard way. One of my hard-earned lessons came when I was six years old and in an airport with my mom. She asked me if I was thirsty and as I nodded my head, she handed me a bottle of Coke. I eagerly opened it and started gulping it down.

Immediately my mom said in a loud voice: “Oh?!” Confused, I stopped drinking as my mother continued. “So you are not going to offer your mother any?”

 I felt so guilty. I swallowed the Coke in my mouth and offered her the bottle. “No! Now it’s too late. You drank from it already!”

My mom laughs at that moment. But it stuck with me. I learned that Acts of Service are important. It was kind of traumatic and my mother could have handled it better but the funny thing is that years later I passed down the same lesson to my best friend. 

When I was 21 years old, my friend and I were playing pool in a bar. We had a pitcher of beer and both our glasses were running low, so I reached for the pitcher and topped up his glass and then mine. We played some more and we both finished our beers. This time my friend reached for the pitcher and poured himself a beer but didn’t pour any for me!

I looked at him angrily and in an unconscious channelling of my mother said, “Oh! So you are going to pour yourself a glass but you are not going to pour one for me?” He looked guilty as he reached for the pitcher to pour me a glass. “No, man, it’s too late! I will help myself!” 

I’ll be honest, I didn’t handle that well. And we argued afterwards. But I explained that you had to think about others, not just yourself. 

But just last year – about 15 years after this happened, my friend said to me, “Hey, remember that time you yelled at me?” I laughed as I asked which time. “You know, in the pool hall, when you berated me for not pouring you a glass of beer.”

I suddenly felt guilty and started to apologize. But he cut me off. “No Aleks. Thank you. You taught me a lesson. In my family, we take care of ourselves. We don’t show love like that. But because you taught me that, I always pour drinks for others first. Everyone always compliments me and says how thoughtful I am and that my mother must have taught me well. I always correct them and say that I didn’t learn it from my mom, that I learned it from my best friend.”

And I looked at him with my jaw on the floor smiling and still feeling guilty for how I treated him all those years ago. But it reminded me of something important.

We all have our preferred love languages. Sometimes we make the mistake of assuming others know how we want to both give and receive love. But it is up to all of us. We can’t blame others for not showing us love in the way we want.

That’s what my mom did to me and I did to my best friend. We can and should share with our loved ones our preferred love languages and how they can meet us with love that will be most felt and received by us. 

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