Many entrepreneurs love what they do, but they sometimes struggle with work-life balance. While you’re working hard to build your business, to live life fully, you also need to ensure your relationships flourish. That’s why you should learn the five languages of love. It’s a relatively easy way to enrich your life, and the lives around you.
Renowned marriage counsellor and best-selling author Gary Chapman explains in The 5 Love Languages that individuals speak and understand different emotional languages. When you know a person’s love language, you can make him or her feel deeply loved and full. If you don’t, you can invest years trying to make them happy, and leave their ‘love tanks’ empty.
The Love Languages
The concept of love languages can help pretty much any relationship. Whether romantic, family or professional, it’s important to understand what matters to those around you. Here are the five languages summed up:
Words of Affirmation
Words matter. Saying “I love you,” complimenting or praising your partner means a great deal.
This person wants your undivided attention. The gift of your time is worth more than any material present you could give.
From chocolates to season tickets, this person feels loved when you present a token of appreciation.
Acts of Service
To this person, doing errands or helping out with household chores are equivalent to saying, “I love you.”
A hand on the shoulder, stealing a kiss, a quick hug or an extended cuddling session makes them feel loved.
Making the Connection
People tend to naturally give love in the way that they prefer to receive love. For instance, if you grew up in a family that expressed love with small gifts, and that’s your language, you might frequently shower your partner with flowers and chocolates. You might also assume your better half feels ‘full’ and deeply loved. However, if he or she is actually craving affection or words of affirmation, he or she might be feeling empty.
My partner in crime’s prominent languages are physical touch, words of affirmation and acts of service. While I spoil her with jewelry and other gifts, and we enjoy rich moments together, she truly feels fulfilled when I communicate in her languages. So stealing a kiss, tightening a leaky faucet, or giving a heartfelt compliment often trumps a beautiful bouquet of flowers.
Three Steps to Fulfillment
1. Figure out which language you and your loved ones speak.
Chapman offers quizzes to help you figure it out. You can even ask others: “On a scale of one to 10, how much love do you feel from me?” Then ask, “What can I do to make it a 10?”
At home, we made it a fun activity with the kids, with the aid of a few items from the local dollar store (five blank cardboard posters, different coloured stickies and felts, confetti shooters and silly string sprayers). We all wrote down “what makes us feel special or loved” on our uniquely coloured stickies. Then we collectively posted the stickies on the appropriate posters, which were labeled words, time, gifts, acts and touch. Everyone’s language became clearly apparent with the number of stickies we placed on each of the posters. Finally, we awarded the children for their participation and patience with a major confetti and silly string battle, making the evening fun and memorable (and messy).
2. Start showing others love in a way they understand.
We learned that all three kids have different love languages — gifts, time and words. That’s priceless insight to help make each of them feel loved and full. Mind and communicate the desired languages of those around you, and keep at it. It might take some practice to break out of preconceived notions and habits.
3. Communicate your needs to your partner.
As much as we think those around us — especially our partners — should know us well enough to figure out what we want, there’s a good chance they don’t. Your partner is not a mind reader, so be sure to express your desired languages, and be as specific as you can.
Make Your World a Better Place
Now that you have new insights to enhance your relationships, health and overall happiness, please take a moment to spread the good word, so others can too.
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