One of the concerns I have with talking about the 5 Love Languages is that in ‘diagnosing’ ourselves it becomes all about me.  My love language is…(fill in the blank)  and really, though that is helpful, it isn’t the purpose.  I want to show other people that I love them – and I want them to really feel my love.  Showing love is always about the other person.

This idea of 5 Love Languages is only a helpful tool if we learn to speak all 5 languages, so that we can show love to all the people around us.  For sure, we may have a more ‘native’ language – our own love language – but showing love isn’t about just loving those who are easy to love; it is about loving those around you.

Recently, I called family time and asked everyone to bring their mobile devices (something we are doing more often lately).  After re-iterating the above idea, that the love languages weren’t about ourselves, each one of us shared what we thought our own language was.  What a delight to see my kids, whip out their phones and start taking notes on their siblings (and parents).  We then took a little test to see how we would assess.  Daniel, being under 18 took the teenager’s test.  We discussed whether we agreed with the test or not; for some there was some surprising results, for others it simply confirmed what they knew.

It takes Practice to speak a new language

Now the challenge to each of us is to get comfortable speaking all five languages.  I’m going to make up a little family chart to keep as a reminder until things become natural.  Much like making up a chart of new vocab when learning a new verbal language!

When we learn to speak a new verbal language – like Japanese or German or Auslan – at the beginning it sounds weird and we stumble over the new sounds.  It is much the same when learning to speak a new love languages.  We may feel awkward; we may feel like we are getting it all wrong.  But we need to keep on using it.  We will only become proficient as we practice, and the more gracious and accepting (even if it comes out wrong) the recipient is, the quicker we learn and become comfortable speaking all 5 love languages.

It is about giving not receiving

We open up a gamut of human reactions when we start intentionally talking about how you could show me that you love me.  And we really have to keep a lid on those expectations.  Just because our family has discussed this, done the test, and agreed to grow in these languages, it doesn’t mean it is going to happen all the time.  It doesn’t mean we won’t feel unheard, or as if someone in the family has completely missed it!   It is not about everyone else loving me – it is about me loving everyone else.  We must keep this as our focus point.  As soon as we start reflecting on how everyone is going showing me love via my love language we have missed it.

Talk about love languages with your kids

This was a great family time activity and I would encourage families to do this – if you don’t want to do the test on a mobile device, there is a pdf version to download as well on the same website.   One other activity that can be done as a family, is to brainstorm generic ideas for each love language.  One of my children saw ‘quality time’ only as having one-on-one dates and talking about serious stuff and was greatly relieved that there was more to it than that!

We have touched on love languages over the years but mostly one on one with our kids.  So it was good to revisit and be intentional about knowing each and doing our best to speak your love language.

It is important to speak all five love languages not just our own.

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