The idea of a love language has been talk of the town in the last few years. A love language is supposedly the way in which a person shows their love or affection to others around them. It could be towards family, friends or a spouse/partner. A love language is the way you express your love, without actually noticing it.
There are five love languages in total – words of affirmation, quality time, giving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. For example, someone who has a love language expressed by acts of service might love making coffee for their loved ones or running errands, cooking supper or giving massages – you get the idea. People are basing how they interact with each other, and how they function in a relationship, by their love languages.
But do these love languages actually have a place in our day to day relationships? Should we spend the time finding out how we express love, and then base our relationships on that?
Simply put– no. If you love spinach, and did all your research on why spinach is so good for you, would you base every meal on spinach? We are complex beings. We can’t thrive just on one form of affection. A love language can almost become an easy way out of showing love or giving attention. How easy would it be for an uninterested partner to buy you flowers, but ignore you for the rest of the day simply because their love language is ‘giving gifts’.
We are giving ourselves an excuse to not explore different ways of showing, and feeling, love. Would you not want to experience all the different fields of affection? Spending time together, spoiling each other with gifts, hugging – all of these things make a relationship. You cannot simply cut them out because they aren’t your ‘love language’. This can span from family relationships to intimate ones. We need variety, we need effort, and we need to feel appreciated.
Relationships allow you to learn and mature. By limiting ourselves to our ‘designated’ love language, we aren’t giving ourselves the opportunity to explore other means of showing love. Maybe our love language was determined by what we were surrounded by growing up; surely we should give ourselves the chance to discover our love language on our own?
Love languages are also often used in relationship therapy. Now when you try and fix a problem, you need to be creative. Setting aside differences, you need to approach each and every situation differently. Going in to fixing a relationship with the same ‘love language’ traits that probably aided the problems in the first place just isn’t going to cut it. You need to meet each other half way and find different ways to show appreciation and love – spice it up!
Some also believe that children should be taught their love language from young. That this will help them deal in social situations growing up. But surely if we are teaching them to harness a certain type of love language at a young age, we aren’t giving them the opportunity to find their love language out on their own? We should be teaching them that every person and every situation is different. They need to know and understand how to adapt themselves to deal with different people, and making them think that showing their affection and love in one way isn’t going to help the later on in life. They need to learn to express themselves in different ways.
In a relationship, we want roses, we want attention, we want kisses and we want coffee in bed. Nobody should get to pick and choose what they want to do and leave out all the rest. In all honesty, it is an easy and selfish way out of putting effort into a relationship. You should go out of your way for the ones you love, not sit back with an excuse as to why you aren’t stepping up to the plate.
So love languages – learn them, understand them, but please – don’t rely on them. They should all be explored. Don’t limit yourself, your relationship or your children to just one. Emotions need to be explored; don’t put yourself in a bubble.