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How Do You LOVE? February 22, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Happiness, People.

Tiggers-R-UsWhat makes you feel loved?  A kind word?  A warm embrace? A helpful act?

How do you express love?  Gifts and tokens of appreciation?  Giving your undivided attention to loved ones?

According to Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages, people express love in different ways based on innate preferences:

Words of Affirmation: Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.

Quality Time: In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.

Receiving Gifts: Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.

Acts of Service: Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.

Physical Touch: This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.

Do you see yourself in one of these five categories?  In more than one?  Which one resonates the loudest in your heart?

Not sure?  Dr. Chapman’s site gives you a chance to assess your preferences:

Love Languages Personal Profiles

Different assessments are provided for Wives, Husbands, Singles, Parents of Teenagers, and Children.

I am not generally impressed with on-line profile assessments.  I read through the 5 categories above and knew exactly which fit me.  Just for fun, I answered the 30 questions in the assessment for Wives.

The results matched what I had discerned by reading through the categories ~  I scored 11 (out of a possible 12) on my top preference and 8 (out of 12) on my second.

Since the assessment seemed accurate, I asked BFF to take the assessment for Husbands.  He did.  The results mirrored his actual preferences.

Better still ~ his preferences and mine mirror each other’s!

Yay!  We are compatible.

What a relief.

After 30 years together, I would hate to start looking for a new BFF.

Quote:  What if seekers need only ask:  How well do I love?

No rules.  Just write!

Taking the assessment revealed that words are enough . . . for some.  For others, actions, attention, touch, and gifts speak louder than words.

How about you?  Which camp do you fall into?  Words, Deeds, Time, Gifts, or Touch?

And, based on what you know about me, can you assess which of the 5 categories BFF and I scored highest on?  {{Answer tomorrow.}}

Finally, a big shout out to Jeanne (Jeanne’s Blog) for bringing Dr. Chapman’s  book to my attention:  Learn a New Language in 15 Minutes or Less


1. Cindy - February 22, 2011

RESPECT. That is what makes me feel loved.

nrhatch - February 22, 2011

But how do you like that RESPECT to be demonstrated? Acts of Service? Quality Time together? Warm Embrace? A Thoughtful Gift?

2. Paula Tohline Calhoun - February 22, 2011

This is wonderful and so needed a message! It of course reminds me of a story. It is one I read many, many years ago, and I cannot remember the author, nor where I read it, but the story has stayed in my mind, and has guided me often in my relationships:

The story is told by a teacher at an elementary school. She noticed one day that one of the ladies who worked in the cafeteria line at the school cafeteria was not at work. She wondered where she was, but then put it out of her mind. Various things kept her from pursuing the subject, and the time she was gone stretched into weeks. At the end of the school year, she found out that the lady was dealing with Stage 4 breast cancer, and was very ill, not expected to recover. She immediately went to her desk and wrote this lady a letter. She realized that this woman had no way of knowing that she was missed or thought about. She might never know, because “How could she know unless I tell her?” SHe told her in that letter how much she was missed, and that her absence had been noted by many.

THe woman died a few weeks later, but her husband told the teacher at the memorial ervice that his wife was immensely touched by the letter and it meant a lot to her. She had heard nothing else from anyone at the school except the principal, even though many teachers sent flowers after her death.

Service, and love in action means a lot and CAN speak louder than words, but sometimes the best was to express love, is to open your mouth and say so – in some situations there is no other way that person could know, and many times hearing those the words “I love you,” or “I care about you,” or “I miss you,” are pivotal in someone’s life.

nrhatch - February 22, 2011

Well, that’s the point, Paula. The BEST way to express love is to meet the expectations of the OTHER person.

For some, words are NOT enough ~ for them, a personal visit might mean far more than all the words in the world.

Paula Tohline Calhoun - February 22, 2011

I don’t disagree at all. I recognize that for many people empty words, or words said just for the sake of saying them, mean absolutely nothing and do not promote love. The point of the story is that often people will go overboard trying to “prove” their love for people when all that’s really needed is for one to acknowledge those feelings to another. BUT: that acknowledgement can come in many ways, as your post and the book point out.

It touched me because I can think of times when I did not say anything to someone because I had nothing else to give, and felt inaequate because of that. I have learned that in many situations, just telling someone is a gift. Because, how would that person know unless I told them? (When other ways are not possible).

I took the tst – haven’t asked hubs too yet, but I will. I end up with quality time and words of affirmation at the top and gifts at the bottom, with the others kind of evenly spread out.

Very interesting, and kind of fun!

nrhatch - February 22, 2011

I read the story and thought, “Why didn’t she go visit the woman?”

If I were dying, getting a card from someone who lived that close would make me feel WORSE not better. Like they couldn’t even be bothered to come say good-bye in person.

BFF tells me he loves me EVERY DAY . . . and he doesn’t have to say a word.

nrhatch - February 22, 2011

On further reflection, it would depend what the letter actually said . . . whether it sounded like it came from the heart, or whether it merely echoed generic store bought cards which are so good at saying all the “right” things.

Paula Tohline Calhoun - February 23, 2011

My understanding of the situation is that the woman to whom she wrote the letter was someone she had never formally met, just someone to smile at politely as you passed through the cafeteria line. Shw had no idea where she lived or even her last name, just the “Mary” or whatever, pinned on her smock or uniform.

My instinct would have been to visit her as well, but I think that the teacher felt that since she waited so long to follow up on that still small voice, she was anxious to get something off to her while it was still fresh on her mind. I don’t remember or know the specifics of what was in her letter, but I have a feeling that it was not generic, as the tone of the article was very sincere and heartfelt, and did not feel manipulative (although admittedly, I can be a sucker 😀 ).

Your points are valid, but the way each person responds, and the instincts they have, are varied and unique. I believe that if I were in the position of either of the women, that as the lady with cancer I would have been deeply touched that someone I didn’t know had taken the time to write at all, much less a letter of apology for not having contacted her, in any way, sooner! As the teacher, I think I would not have wanted to intrude on the woman personally when the other was so very ill, especially one with whom the relationship was so minimal, but I would have wanted to find some way to express my feelings, and a personal letter would have felt right – at least better than continued silence.

Sounds to me that you and your BFF are so wonderfully suited for one another, as I believe hubs and I are. He never says “I love you” verbally unless he means it, and he also finds countless ways to “say” it otherwise! I know of few people who would have stuck it out for so long and so faithfully as my Ashley has through my extended periods of sickness and confinement – and do it with such equanimity of spirit! When he vowed “for better, for worse, in sickness and in health,” he didn’t know what he was in for, but WOW! he really MEANT it! 😀 From what I read these days about other marriages and relationships, that is a very uncommon thing. I have always been most richly blessed.


nrhatch - February 23, 2011

I had to check . . . February 22nd, yesterday, marked one year from my first post.

We didn’t have cake last night . . . but we did split one of the BEST chocolate chip cookies in the world, from Yoder’s Amish Village. 😀

3. jeanne - February 22, 2011

This is powerful information. Great job sharing the love!

nrhatch - February 22, 2011

Thanks for shining the spotlight on Dr. Chapman’s book. I found his ideas thought provoking.

4. suzicate - February 22, 2011

That’s a fabulous book!

nrhatch - February 22, 2011

Thanks, Suzicate!

5. gitikapartington - February 22, 2011

person one
“I love you’
person two
“bake me a cake”
I heard this on a comedy show and it made me laugh_ use it as friendly banter with hubby who does the ‘word’s a lot…though has moved to more doing over the years…i have moved from less ‘gifts’ and more of something else over the years
we are meeting each other on the road of changing ways of showing the love as people do change-while hugs is always number 1!
the book sounds like fun
will give it a look x
I remember my dad once saying “love is what Love does’

nrhatch - February 22, 2011

Hearing “I love you” is okay.

Having someone bake me a cake . . . divine love indeed!

6. Rosa - February 22, 2011

Wow. I have No Idea which love I like best! One doesn’t really stand out to me the most. I guess to give love I can see which one I prefer, but as far as receiving, I don’t know. I’ve gotta take the assesment!

nrhatch - February 22, 2011

If you take it, let me know how it came out. It may be that you don’t have a strong preference and will score 5 or 6 in each of the categories.

7. Carol Ann Hoel - February 22, 2011

I haven’t taken the test, but I think quality time, first, and physical touch, next, for my husband and me, both. I didn’t ask him, though. After reading through a second time, I wouldn’t mind being the happy recipient of them all.

Guessing about you and your BFF would be difficult. I know you are a word person as a writer, but then so am I, so maybe it’s not Words of Affirmation, but that’s my guess.

I may have to change my own classification. I’ve had three husbands, and only one was a man given to words of affirmation, and I truly loved it. Blessings to you, Nancy…

nrhatch - February 22, 2011

Words of affirmation mean very little to me, probably because I know how easily they can be manipulated. 😉

I’ll give my order of preferences tomorrow. If you take the assessment, let me know where you fell.

8. Pseu - February 22, 2011

Can depend on mood – and he has to guess what mood that is…! 🙂
Not really. Interesting article

nrhatch - February 22, 2011

I think that mood may definitely come into play. Sometimes you feel like a nut . . . sometimes you don’t!

9. Maggie - February 22, 2011

I’m not really a touchy-feely person. I’d rather do things for people or spend time with them to express love. Words of affirmation are good, too – but actions speak louder than words.

nrhatch - February 22, 2011

I agree, Maggie. Words are pretty low down on my list. I think they came in last place of the five categories.

10. kateshrewsday - February 22, 2011

Interesting! I may give this a try!

nrhatch - February 22, 2011

Please do. It only took about 5 minutes to pick our preference out of each of the 30 pairs.

11. Tokeloshe - February 22, 2011

Good post!

Congratulations on 30 Years!

nrhatch - February 22, 2011

Thanks, Toke.

I’d keep him as my BFF even if the assessment said we didn’t belong together, but it was nice to see WHY we’ve been such good friends for so many years.

12. nancycurteman - February 22, 2011

I think Chapman’s book would be an interesting read. I wonder if there are differences between men and women in their love expectations.

nrhatch - February 22, 2011

I wonder if there are generational differences among both genders ~ people who grew up believing that women were here to cook and clean and men to “provide.”

13. oldancestor - February 22, 2011

We were talking about this list a work a few months ago, and after everyone picked their “thing,” it seemed obvious, given their personalities.

Words don’t mean a lot to me either. Oddly, I like physical affection, which is weird, because I am not a touchy person at all and don’t like people in my space. Mrs. OA is allowed.

She likes acts of service, which means I do a lot more housework than I want to.

nrhatch - February 22, 2011

Thanks, OA.

I suppose that’s why this resonated with me, because I recognized my preferences without having to take the assessment ~ taking it confirmed what I already knew . . . although I’d never taken the time to think about it.

I’m guessing enough people have chimed in at this point that I can list my top 3 preferences:

1. Quality Time
2. Acts of Service
3. Physical Touch

Words of Affirmation and Gifts brought up the rear and I can’t recall which order.

Thanks for doing more housework than you want to . . . it says a lot about the man you are. 😉

oldancestor - February 24, 2011

I’m not surprised that you picked Quality Time, given that a number of your posts revolve around trips you’ve taken and shared experience.

nrhatch - February 24, 2011

Yes, it’s the time we spend together, even more than the specific things we do, that have fostered our relationship.

Quality time can include the words exchanged . . . as long as they are not tossed our way with no thought behind them.

14. tsuchigari - February 22, 2011

Dr. Chapman’s book is one of my favorite books on building a strong relationship – great advice for anyone. I also loved “Getting the Love you Want” by Dr. Harville Hendrix – it’s a much deeper look into why the whole love languages theory works. Good stuff.

nrhatch - February 23, 2011

Thanks, Jo.

I’d never heard of Dr. Chapman’s book before, probably because our relationship couldn’t get much better than it is . . . so I haven’t been looking for any expert relationship advice. 🙂

15. carldagostino - February 23, 2011

Everyone I know is so full of their own demands and tasks there is really not much love coming my way. But one thing that does make me feel loved is that my son sends me a birthday card every year around August. Ah, yes. (my birthday is in June)

nrhatch - February 23, 2011

If we watch and wait for “love” to come our way, it trickles in slowly. If we’re busy spreading “love” about, it abounds.

Happy Birthday, Carl! Belated for last year, or early for this . . . your choice. 🙂

16. eof737 - February 23, 2011

They are all great forms of expressing love and actually each form is used at different times even by the same person… I love all five and accept love in whichever form it shows itself; the more of it we give, the more we receive. I agree that we shouldn’t sit and wait on it. Just give it….
I enjoyed this Nancy. 🙂

nrhatch - February 23, 2011

Wonderful comment, Eliz. Of course, you’re right ~ BFF and I use all 5 forms.

But it’s the quality time we spend together that makes my heart sing.

Hope your little one is on the mend and that you are all catching up on your sleep.

17. Author Kristen Lamb - February 23, 2011

I love stopping by and leaving blog comments. 😀
Great blog, and I believe it is a collection of the little things that make us feel love. every day offers new opportunity to be kind and offer small doses of love to those who cross our paths. You are very good about doing that for me on my blog…and I feel very loved.

Thanks for living what you preach. You have no idea how much it means to others…whether we get a chance to say it or not ;).

nrhatch - February 23, 2011

Wonderful points, Kristen. The more we scatter love, the better everyone feels.

Your blog offers so much support to your readers . . . that’s why we keep coming back for more!

18. crazygoangirl - February 24, 2011

Although I like all 5 options, what makes me feel most loved is ‘spending quality time’ with the people I love. Often that just means being in the same room but no conversation required! Being in the presence of people I love makes me happy like nothing else can 🙂

Thanks for the link…will try out the assessment for fun!

nrhatch - February 24, 2011

Me too! We hang out, speak when we have something to say, and remain still when we don’t.

I expect that the assessment will mirror what you already know to be true about you.

19. Tammy - February 13, 2012

I’m not sure how I missed this when you did this last year Nancy. My DH and I are also the same languages!

nrhatch - February 13, 2012

Yay! It’s great when we share the same language of love with those we love. 😀

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