March 2017, Issue 7
“The 5 Love Languages”
What language is your family speaking?
Years ago, while browsing in my local bookstore, Gary Chapman’s best-selling book, The 5 Love Languages:The Secret to Love that Lasts nearly jumped off the shelf into my hands. That night, flipping through its pages, I began to understand the simple brilliance of this best-selling book, which is part of a successful series.
Chapman teaches that there are “five love languages.”
While many people see the value in all of these expressive “languages,” Chapman writes that most of us are fluent in one primary mode of expression. Chapman’s book helped me to understand my own family differently. My oldest daughter’s love language is “physical touch.” Growing up, she connected with her siblings through constant hugs and rough housing. My husband’s love language is “quality time.” I express and receive love through the language of “gift giving”. (I can still remember each wedding present I received 30 years ago!) My youngest daughter is the same and expresses deep delight when we bring her a small trinket from our travels somewhere.
After absorbing Chapman’s powerful work, I was better able to understand and appreciate my family members’ communication styles. Once I understood that my oldest daughter shows and receives love through touch, her dad and I made sure that she had plenty of cuddle time with the both of us. Likewise, I came to realize that errand time was something far more significant to my husband than picking up dry cleaning or a can of soup! Now I join him for a drive every chance I get.
Just after I finished reading this book, my children and I visited their godmother’s house. We noticed that she had words everywhere; on her refrigerator, on wall hangings, even on rocks. My daughter turned to me and said, “Well I guess we know what her love language is—”words of affirmation.” In that moment, I realized that whenever I wanted to show my love for this friend, I’d always sent flowers. In actuality, a handwritten card expressing how much I care for her would have meant more.
So what’s this got to do with homeschooling, you wonder? Everything! As your children’s primary source of love, affirmation, and learning, it’s helpful to understand how they receive and respond to your love language. What if your love language is not the same as your child’s? This can become a root cause of miscommunication. By identifying and responding to the language our loved one is speaking, we strengthen and deepen our relationships and avoid unnecessary miscommunication.
Read The 5 Love Languages or visit the author’s website to take an assessment test and identify your love language. Ask your family to give it a try as well! You’ll glean fresh insight as you determine which languages your family members understand and appreciate most. You’ll also be able to advocate for yourself by giving the people who care about you an opportunity to honor and affirm your needs.