Love languages

I’ve often marveled at our couple culture.

My honey and I are nearing 36 years since we became lovers in Beijing. That’s when he, a China-born Canadian, joined Gates to China, that is, my father-partner and me, in exhibiting on behalf of ten Canadian companies in the first international trade show in China since the sleeping giant opened its doors to foreigners.

On our first dinner date in Toronto some months earlier we fought like a cat and dog about our mutual topic of interest—China—with each of us bringing new perspectives, knowledge, and opinions to the fore. I had just spent my first three months there and had fallen in love with the country and its people.

It took me a few more years to recognize that we are soulmates, and our life together continued to include cat-and-dog fights, with him being the cat—a charming Leo. Never a dull moment, for sure.

We need not agree on everything, but we must find a way to handle our differences so that they do not become divisive.

Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages

Truth be told, the diversity in viewpoints and ways of thinking have enriched our lives. We both became better listeners and learners.

And our romance grew steady and strong over the years. We are more in love today than we were in year one.

No matter where we come from, there is one language we can all speak and understand from birth, the language of the heart, love.

Imania Margria

Some months ago, I stumbled on Gary Chapman’s “love language” quiz online. I took it for a lark.

And I was surprised at how accurately it described us, our couple love language. In effect, it gave us big clues on why we could withstand the discord of our less important differences.

The test (see image below) revealed that my three primary languages of love are:

  • physical affection (looove our ceaseless hugs and kisses and holding hands!)
  • doing things together (tennis, road trips, photography, writing my honey’s memoir, and so much more!)
  • regular acts of service/kindness (we are so there to help each other, without fail)

Quality time does not mean that we have to spend our together moments gazing into each other’s eyes. It means that we are doing something together and that we are giving our full attention to the other person.

Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages
My love language scores

You can see that the two areas where I scored low are words of affirmation, and least of all, receiving gifts. The low scores mean I care less about accepting those things.

When I presented the scores to my honey, he agreed they applied to both of us.

I admit that it took me a few years of living together to embrace with grace that he was rarely going to compliment me on how I look, congratulate me on a win, or even wish me a happy birthday. At least not in words.

His appreciation and love are shown in the other ways. Every hour, every day.

He readily goes to get/buy me anything I need, but I can forget about roses and trinkets. And in fact, I’m a lousy gift giver, too.

Our generosity to each other—and often others, too—is expressed in many other ways… with time, care, and effort.

I am deeply grateful for learning the distinction, to receive my honey’s deep love language and to stop expecting more. AND to express my love in ways that matter to him.

Now, I’m wise enough to know that nothing in life can be placed in neat little boxes. But this was a fun framework to write in.

I can see that the five love languages are not only used between lovers. It’s also between friends and others. And that language may be quite different, depending on the relationship.

For example, because of my work, I’m much more open and lavish with positive feedback and words of caring or praise to my team members and clients. And with my friends, I’d say.

A smile is a language of love which everyone can understand.

Debasish Mridha

And the thought-provoking idea here is that depending on what our own language of love is, we can be missing a connection with someone because their expectations are in a language that we are weak in. For all I know, a dear friend may be disappointed in me because I failed to get her a birthday present.

Taking the time to consider what a friend’s or colleague’s love language is enables us to express better our caring in the way they can receive and make us more open to receiving their love as given, not as we feel we should get it.

There are innumerable languages in our world. But the only one that can connect people with each other is the language of love.

Avijeet Das

What are your primary love languages? How do they color your relationships? Can you see how not seeing someone’s main love language might cause misunderstandings and hurts? What could you/we do to avoid such blips?

PS. I’ve passed drama-free chemo session 5 and I’ve lost 80% of my hair. I don’t care, I’m ready to shave it. But my honey prefers I wait, so it’s an easy thing I can do for him.

PPS. If any of my writing resonates with you or you can think of someone who would appreciate my musings, please do share. And let me hear from you in the comments.


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