What If Today…You Understood Love Languages?

“Love is a verb.” ~ Gary Chapman, Five Love Languages

Do you know anything about love languages or thought about their importance in understanding the significant people in your life – your family members, friends, coworkers, employers, employees, and how best to serve them?

Take the brief Love Language test if you’re interested in discovering your love language.

Which one is yours?:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Acts of Service
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Quality Time
  • Physical Touch

A clue to figuring out which is yours is to ask yourself how you express love to others. That’s probably where you’ll find the answer.


I sat in the driveway and pressed the heels of both hands into my eyes as hard as I could to stop the tears. Problem was I couldn’t stop my heart from reminding me that it wanted to be heard and the tears were its voice. There was no way I could go inside unless I could pull myself together. I knew what I felt and why, but those feelings would be a burden if shared, out of context, in the middle of an ordinary day.

My daughter and I had been enjoying each others’ company as we drove down the winding road through the woods and along the beach on our way home. We were listening to music from her collection and she said, “Listen to this, it’s from the funeral. His brother is in a band and wrote this for his brother after he died.”

She went on as I melted into the music: “His dad and this brother built his coffin that morning. Then the roads were closed and they carried it one last time down Water Street (the name of the song) to bury him next to the church a few hours before the funeral.”

The feelings were intense. They always were.

Twice more that same day I tried to share what I was feeling, but I kept getting choked up as the images of a young smiling blonde-haired boy with a big smile morphed into a coffin resting on the shoulders of family and friends being carried past mourners and anchored boats in the quiet harbor.


What was it that I was really experiencing?

When someone says goodbye or dies, who they are smacks me hard in the face and heart. I see and feel them completely.

That’s what I do all the time. Not a day passes without those feelings.

Noticing people and understanding them – their thoughts, feelings, and life,  is my love language.

How I love other  people  –  listening, observing,and  understanding them, is what I really want done for me. I’ve learned to channel that emotional need of mine into family history – service for other people for whom really paying attention to and valuing  a deceased ancestor or distant living relative doesn’t come naturally. It’s a perfect fit.

Learning someone else’s love language is a little it harder.

“I’m bored!”  was followed with a lot of crazy behavior that was getting my little boy in a lot of trouble. I’d provided him with books, crayons, paper,and toys but nothing stopped the whining. I couldn’t stand it any longer because it didn’t make any sense. What did he want? It didn’t seem healthy to keep providing ideas and props to entertain him. That wasn’t how I grew up. I always found things to do.

I had to leave the room ’cause I wasn’t reaching him. As I passed him I spontaneously grabbed him and started tickling him. After about fifteen minutes of chasing, screeching, and writhing on the floor, we ended and I sat back down, out of breath.

“Thanks for playing with me! “my son said from across the room with a huge smile.

Wait. Wasn’t that what I was doing before? Apparently not.

Was it really that simple?

Listen to what Gary Chapman says:

“When a child really feels loved, he will develop normally, but when his love tank is empty, the child will misbehave. Much of the misbehavior of children is motivated by the cravings of an empty love tank.”

Doesn’t that make a lot of sense?

Later that night he was watching tv with me and leaned in and gave me a hug. “I’m the best boy,” he whispered to me.

“How do you know that?” I asked.

“You told me.” he answered as he stared straight ahead. Yes, I had told him that many times. I didn’t think he’d heard me. But he had. He just never believed me.

I guess he just needed to be tickled….

What if you watched people to discern their love language so that you would be able to communicate your love for them them in a way that they could feel and understand?

What if instead of buying your significant other jewels (Receiving Gifts) you knew they’d rather have a back rub (Physical Touch)?

What if instead of remodeling the kitchen for your mom (Acts of Service), you perused her scrapbooks and photo albums for an afternoon here and there (Quality Time)?

Wouldn’t it be fun to try and figure it out?

I dare you. Whadya say?


13 thoughts on “What If Today…You Understood Love Languages?

  1. Hmmmm..I don’t think I could pick just one! I tend to use what works for each person and it isn’t always the same, just as each person is not the same. Gifts I’m not so big on, that seems like the easy way out to me, unless it’s something I made myself for that person.
    I love the tickle..lol..why does that always work be they big peeps or small!

    As Always ~*~

    • Everyone has a different language, don’t they?! One of my daughters give me little gifts all the time. And I don’t like gifts! Once I understood that her love language is Giving Gifts it made so much sense. Now, when I go to the beach I collect shells for her to let her know I’ve been tinking of her. Little things go a long way. Don’t they! Have a good night, Ann! Thaks for the visit!

  2. This is such an important post, Betsy! That’s what’s so deceptive about language. With one word, we think that it must have one meaning and one way of being expressed or ideally received. It’s no wonder that there can be so many misunderstandings in relationships when love can be shared and experienced in so many ways! Looking forward to checking out this test. =)

    • Hey, Samamntha!
      There are two sides to very relationship. Knowing myself and my needs, and having the ability to communicate them, and then watching you and listening to you and yours, I can then figure out how to communicate better with you and give you what you need to feel heard, valued, and loved. It’s fascinating to me.
      Thanks, Samantha! Take the test. It’s fun!

  3. Hi Betsy! What a lovely post and there is so much in it! Of course, I headed right over to the test and my highest score was on quality time. I am obsessed with time, obviously! I do not like gifts that much either. And I really like what you say in your comment to Sam on there being two sides to every relationship, individual needs, interpretation and communication.
    Ah, and the tickle, I love that even now!
    Have a wonderful and love filled week!

    • Quality time! That one is the hardest need to discern in a person for me. It’s an art. Isn’t it? Really paying attention to people for the express purpose of improving the relationship and learning how to give what is needed not what comes naturally.
      We are all a mixture of the 5, too. I REALLY love sitting with a friend and talking, too. But what if their idea of quality time was watching footbal or golfing?? Oh, my! What a challenge that would be. But, I’m sure that the effort and positive attitude would count even if I never became a fan. Right?
      One of my kids used to tell me the storylines of movies from beginning to end! Another has just started and is obsessed with golf. I could list a million challenges I have with understanding my kids’ emotional needs. It’s fun, to say the least!
      Thanks, Barbara, for coming by!

  4. Oh Betsy this post is beautiful! I LOVE this blog! I’m a quality time girl no doubt!

    You’re a very intuitive, very aware person Betsy – you share a lot, we learn a lot! This post I’ll hold close to my heart … thank you!! (BTW, I love the heart picture … reminds me of my sweet Eve who was born on Valentine’s day, so I’m heart-focused indeed! :))

    Peace & goodness to you & yours my friend,


    • I love your daughter’s name! Eve is such a beautiful name. Thank you for your uplifting words, Elena. They strengthen me! I’m so puzzled about quality time! Maybe it’s just not one of my needs. I feel like I could stay by myself for long stretches of time. But I love social media. Go figure! HA! I remember when I first started dating though. I hated going to movies. How in the world do you get to know someone if you’re watching a movie? I say THAT’S not quality time ’til after you’re married. Unless you don’t like the same kinds of movies, then it’s still not quality time!According to Kenny, 7, on our walk today he informed me that we all (James, Kenny, and I) like our walks- they like riding their bikes and “you like walking…and reading books!” He notices everything!
      Where’s that post you promised???? HUH?

  5. Hi Sister Betsy, such a great post! Love for me is always a hard subject to talk or explain it, but after reading your post i thought about my life and discovered that I like to see people happy by serving them or giving gifts! Now I will try to see those languages on others!
    Wish you a good week!

    • Vitor, thank you for coming by! You served others so well when you were here. I think women tend to pick up on these things quicker than men, but the men that I know who have read about it are so grateful. Their lives and their companions lives are so much happier! Hope you’re happy in Brazil! Come and visit any time! The kids say hi!!

  6. I’m not afraid to admit that sometimes, when I need to write a sad scene, I’ve been known to go to YouTube and watch memorial videos for guinea pigs. It always gets to me when they finish with something like, “Roderick was the best guinea pig EVER. RIP Roderick, 2001 – 2007” Then, with tears streaming down my face, I take to the keyboard and kill off a character.

  7. Pingback: Giggling | Extremely Average

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