Recall Love Languages? Think about them in this new way …

Heather Jose photo.

Heather Jose

Do YOU KNOW your Love Language? Are you among the millions of us who have read The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts?

Gary Chapman has sold more than 6 million copies of the book in 38 languages. As incredible as this may seem, his book has ranked in Amazon’s top 100 best sellers for more than a decade.

At this point, Chapman’s 5 Love Languages aren’t much of a “secret” any more. His key insight is that the word “LOVE” means at least five distinctly different things to people. One person feels loved through words of affirmation; another through quality time; someone else through receiving gifts; or acts of service; or personal touch.

This means that we each have different things that make us feel loved. For many years, Chapman has been helping couples improve their relationships by learning about these distinct love languages.

Here’s the new insight I had this week…

Love Languages for Caregivers

Dr. Chapman recently was on television with Oprah. Seeing that interview got me thinking: This isn’t just about husbands and wives. Chapman’s work also relates to each of us as caregivers as we seek to meet the needs of those we care for.

Learning about Love Languages starts by recognizing this basic truth: Experiences that mean a lot to you, that make you feel loved, may not hold the same meaning for the one you are caring for.  It is valuable to meet the needs of the one you are caring for in a way that really speaks to them.

What if you could eliminate some of the things you may be doing simply because they are not speaking your companion’s language?

Let’s Get Personal

That’s what it takes—personal reflection. What is your Love Language?

I am an “acts of service” person. Nothing says love like cleaning my kitchen! On the other hand, my husband is more of an “affection” kind of guy. So while I feel loved and cared for when he does something for me—he does not respond to an act in the same way that I would. Kitchen cleaning just doesn’t speak to him in the same way!

This idea isn’t relevant in all cases. It seems to me there are periods of caregiving when these languages may not be quite as important. As my father declined in recent months, a gift of food—something he once would have loved—lost is allure for him. In fact, toward the end, the most important thing was just time spent by his side.

As with anything in life, these languages will ebb and flow—and may change over time—but consider pulling out a copy of Chapman’s book and reading it with fresh eyes. His wisdom may help more than you and your spouse!

How about you? Add a comment. Tell me what you think.

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