I don’t remember the first time I read this book.  I don’t remember where I was or even who recommended it.  What I can tell you is this: "The 5 Love Languages," by Dr. Gary Chapman changed my life.

Changed my friendships.

Changed my marriage.

Picture my house.  I’m telling my husband what a great job he does while I'm chasing 3 kids and cooking dinner.  Meanwhile, he comes home from a long day and just wants to snuggle on the couch and talk.  I could get frustrated that he's not acknowledging all that I do or helping me.  Meanwhile, he could just as easily get frustrated because I'm too busy to hug him or sit and talk.  So, we both end up frustrated and not feeling loved without really knowing why. 

Let’s try it another way. Your boyfriend or husband buys you wonderful gifts or does sweet things like filling up your car with gas. But he’s also a workaholic and you feel neglected because he never spends time with you.  Your friends don't understand why you're upset because he "spoils" you with gifts.  

If a relationship ever fizzled out because you felt neglected, he likely wasn't speaking the right love language - how he showed you he loved you.  Kind of like him saying "I love you" in French, but you only understand English.  Now, they aren’t really languages.  I’ll list them here. See if you can identify yours.

1. Gifts –  "I got you something!" Even the idea of getting a gift excites you.  You tend to find the perfect gifts for others.  You are hurt if a close friend doesn't get you a gift for your birthday.

2. Words of affirmation –  "You are so talented!"  You like to point out what others do right and you avoid criticizing.  You feel hurt when others criticize you.

3. Physical touch –  "Hug me!" Oh, you could snuggle all day.  You love hugs and want to hold hands in the grocery store.  You feel isolated and neglected if you aren't touched often.

4. Quality time –  "Wanna grab a coffee?"  You just want to hang out.  Doesn't really matter what you are doing.  You will talk, play cards, go for a walk.  You connect with people through time and feel lonely when others don't have time for you.

5. Acts of Service – "How can I help you?"  Forget the flowers and candy, run the vacuum honey (an ongoing joke in my house!)  You feel loved when others help you, like household chores or planning your birthday party.  You are hurt when others don't help you.

So, I told you that this book changed my marriage. Here’s how.  My main love languages are words of affirmation and acts of service.  I naturally try to encourage others through my words and avoid criticizing.  I will also do things for you to show I care.  My husband’s love languages are physical touch and quality time.  Because we understand love languages, I hold his hand in the car (physical touch) and he washes dishes after dinner (acts of service). 

You can pick up on someone's love language by what they do.  Are they a gift giver?  Encourager? Loves spending time with others?

I encourage you to grab a copy (and I'm not being paid to say this!).  There's a quick test in the back to help you identify your language and the chapters go more in-depth to explain each love language.  Start speaking the right language to your significant other and friends and watch your relationships improve!

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About the Author

kristenhodges

Kristen lives in Florida with her awesome husband and 3 energetic kids. She earned a graduate degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Michigan and is a psychology professor at a local university. In her free time, she hangs out with family and friends, volunteers at her church and laughs as much as possible. She has a passion for Jesus, helping others and anything chocolate. Follow her on instagram @kristen_hodges_cg