I have been in many relationships…with romantic partners, family, friends, colleagues, etc. If you don’t work on it then it falls apart. In my opinion, it’s just like taking care of your car. If you change your oil, your engine will run. If you deposit money into your bank account, then when you pay your bills, there is enough money. If you eat like crap and don’t exercise, you will gain weight. If you order a steak and don’t tell them how you want it cooked, you will be unhappy. So why are interactions with people any different.
Enter Gary Chapman and the 5 Love Languages. Wow what a game changer.
- Acts of Service
Don’t know which language you are? Take the quiz.
I’m a little of all of them. But my primary language is words and secondary is touch. S I tell my husband warm fluffy things every day. And I hug him, give him massages, kiss him, hold his hand, etc. My husband’s primary language is acts of service and time. So he cooks dinner, vacuums, does laundry, picks me up from the mechanics, drops off lunch for me at my office. And he teaches me how to play squash, fixes the dryer or for handle and mows the lawn. Uh oh… We don’t speak the same language. Which means when I show him love, I speak English, when he shows me love, he speaks French. We have a communication problem!
So I ask him how full his love tank is….he says 9/10. He asks me and mine is 4/10. I have to ask him to say nice things and to hug me. He doesn’t like to do it on command, but he remembers. Can he read my mind? No. Should he be able to? No. I need to ask just like I ask for how I want my steak done. If I ask for what I want, I will get it. If I don’t ask, I won’t. The secret is it ask before my tank runs out of gas. Otherwise, I seem bossy, demanding, or desperate. Not attractive and not conducive to receiving love. When he does something I want, I thank him. When I notice in a movie that something happens that I like, I take note of it. Having ideas helps so I know what to share with him. If he doesn’t speak the language he won’t know. So I have to give him ideas.
But the love languages isn’t just for romantic partners, its for children, friends, siblings, parents, and colleagues. Are you a leader at work and want to motivate your employees to work more effectively? Find out what motivate them. If they are motivated by gifts (like an award) but you show them in words (like praising them in a staff meeting) that is like speaking another language. Maybe an employee is motivated by time, and getting an extra day off work is what will motivate them to work more efficiently. Tom Rath wrote a book called Strengths Based Leadership – it might lend insight in how to get your employees or co-workers producing optimally.
How do you know what someone’s language is? If they can’t take the test, then notice what they do with you… However they are interacting is the language they speak. Not sure? Ask how fulfilled they are 0 (empty) 10 (happy as can be). Ask them what would help them be closer to a 10.
Enjoy the love!