According to Gary Chapman, there are five love languages:
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch
The names of the languages make them pretty easy to understand and even identify your own through some self-reflection. In case you do want a more scientific way to figure things out, there is a free quiz available at The 5 Love Languages.
Unlike all the Buzzfeed quizzes I take to find out what soda flavor I am (Diet Dr. Pepper) or what superpower I should have (shapeshifting), I didn’t need this one to know that my top language is receiving gifts. I also knew that for me, giving gifts goes right alongside the receiving. I really enjoy finding the perfect present for another person. If someone has a registry, I follow the rules and get something off of it, and then add my own discovered treasure alongside. There is a large box in my room of presents, ones that were bought with someone in mind or ones that are just waiting for the right person and occasion to be brought out.
Gifts, in their best mindset, are not about the cost. Instead they are about the though, the intention, the connection with the receiver. One of my favorite gifts ever is a snow globe from my parents. It matches the one from Feed the Birds in Mary Poppins. And it was the second time I had gotten that present. The first was before I went off the college. Every year that globe sat on my dorm room desk. And then, senior year, as I was packing up, I had placed it on my bed. While standing on the other end to pull a posted from the wall, the globe crashed to the ground with shards of glass and fowl-smelling “water” puddling under my bed. I sat down, crying over the loss of a physical object on the same day I was leaving a beloved space forever. When my parents gave me a new globe, years later, I cried again and tried to hug a piece of glass and medal tighter than you really should. Now the globe sits in my bedroom, firm on its stand and a large flat book.
Love languages can be a fun way to understand how you want and need to be loved, and to learn about others. They should not limit you to just one thing. If someone gave me gifts but never said they loved me, never spent time with me, never held my hand…what kind of relationship would that be? As complex human beings, we want and need complex kinds of love. Know where you want to start and then have fun getting to whatever is next.