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What is your love language?

January 15, 2011

I know, I know, Valentine's Day is an entire month away, but my desire is to give you a head start.

Every person on the face of the earth has a love language. However, if we do not speak the language, how can we communicate with them. For instance, what if I said: "Como esta usted hoy? Estoy muy bien. Espero que este dia sea fantastico y usted tiene buena salud, el un monton de alimento, y un night' relajante; !sueno de s esta noche!"

If you do not speak Spanish, then you would have no idea what I just said to you. If it were me, I'd go to and translate it, so we could be on the same page, so to speak.

By the way, I said, "How are you today? I am fine. I hope you have plenty to eat and a good night's sleep tonight."

It is important to speak the language of the one we wish to communicate with, am I correct? Did you know we all have our own love language? It is true. There are basic love languages, and it's not always the flowers and candy type of love language depicted in movies.

Many people are trying to love someone, but they are not speaking their language. Therefore, the other person is not "hearing" them. Many of us speak "our" own love language only to have it fall upon deaf ears as it is not the love language of our kids, our spouse, our boyfriend/girlfriend, friend, or even a parent. If you learn the love language of the person you love, and speak that language to him or her, you are going to see that relationship revolutionized. It is amazing.

Remember: you give love like you want to get love. Did you "get" that? We all give love like we want to get love. I have a running joke, just give me a note on toilet paper, I don't care. Forget the diamonds and BMW's, just a note on toilet paper is fine. In other words, it doesn't have to cost anything. Now, as you read the list below, you determine what my love language is. Here are the five basic love languages

Dr. Gary Chapman's Five Emotional Love Languages:

Words of Affirmation

This is when you say how nice your spouse looks, or how great the dinner tasted. These words will also build your mate's self image and confidence.

Quality Time

Some spouses believe that being together, doing things together and focusing in on one another is the best way to show love. If this is your partner's love language, turn off the TV now and then and give one another some undivided attention.


It is universal in human cultures to give gifts. They don't have to be expensive to send a powerful message of love. Spouses who forget a birthday or anniversary or who never give gifts to someone who truly enjoys gift giving will find themselves with a spouse who feels neglected and unloved.

Acts of Service

Discovering how you can best do something for your spouse will require time and creativity. These acts of service like vacuuming, hanging a bird feeder, planting a garden, etc., need to be done with joy in order to be perceived as a gift of love.

Physical Touch

Sometimes just stroking your spouse's back, holding hands, or a peck on the cheek will fulfill this need.

Determining Your Own Love Language

Since you may be speaking what you need, you can discover your own love language by asking yourself these questions:

How do I express love to others?

What do I complain about the most?

What do I request most often?

Speaking in your spouse's love language probably won't be natural for you. Dr. Chapman says, "We're not talking comfort. We're talking love. Love is something we do for someone else. So often couples love one another but they aren't connecting. They are sincere, but sincerity isn't enough."

Emotional Experiences

The No. 1 emotional experience reported by folks is feeling the presence of God in their lives. The emotional high of being in love (which generally lasts around two years) is the second highest emotional experience that people reportedly have.

That is why it can be so difficult to try and talk some sense into someone who is in the midst of falling in love. Chapman stated that obsessive love can render people mentally incompetent. "There's not much difference between being in love and being insane."

Fading Tingle and Empty Love Tanks

After the first or second year of marriage, when the initial "tingle" is starting to fade, many couples find that their "love tanks" are empty. They may have been expressing love for their spouse, but in reality they may have been speaking a different love language. The best way to fill your spouse's love tank is to express love in their love language. Each of us has a primary love language. Usually, couples don't have the same love language.

Tank Check

Dr. Chapman recommends that you have a "Tank Check" three nights a week for three weeks. Ask one another "How is your love tank tonight?" If, on a scale from zero to 10, it is less than 10, then ask, "What can I do to help fill it?" Then do it to the best of your ability.

Honestly, learning about love languages will revolutionize your life. Not only with your spouse, but with your children, friends and family. There is a free assessment on this website that will help to determine your love language, if you are still a bit fuzzy: There is a place for wives, husbands, children and more to take the quiz. If you begin talking the love language of your spouse, then you will begin speaking in a language they understand. I also recommend the book by Dr. Gary Chapman: "The Five Love Languages." Your life will truly be transformed as you learn to speak the language of your loved ones.

(Kimberly Short-Wolfe, MA, is a counselor and licensed chaplain at Cornerstone Christian Counseling. To contact her, call 304-637-7018 or e-mail



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