Updated: Apr 27, 2020
Whether you live on your own or are sharing a house with members of your family, as we head into the fifth week of lockdown our love languages are being tested like never before. Sharing space with family with this imposed intensity is an unnatural way to spend our days and causes heightened tensions, arguments, judgement and misunderstandings.
Conversely, If you are living on your own then your usual (and perhaps unconscious) way of meeting your love language needs are simply not being met, due to social distancing and self isolation.
I live with my mother and teenage daughter; yes indeed, a three generation household living together through choice. The five love languages are something that I practise, and have been practising for some years, to bring harmony, balance and empathy into my household. At this present time I find myself practising them even more keenly.
Each of the five different methods (languages) impacts our innate way in which we feel emotionally connected to those in our life. These love languages act as a guide in how we show and perceive love in five unique ways. When we feel loved and appreciated we communicate, relate and understand one another more deeply.
The theory of the five love languages was developed by Dr. Gary Chapman, who originally wrote a book on the five love languages with couples in mind. That said the concept can be applied to all types of relationships e.g children and teens, long distance relationships, friends and coworkers.
The following outline a brief detail to the five languages and some ideas on how to express each to those we care about, adjusted to accommodate our current stay at home way of being.
Words Of Affirmation
This refers to how we verbally express our care and affection. Examples of how to express this love language would include explicitly taking an extra moment to say thank you in a sincere way. Scribbling short love messages on post it notes and placing them in random places around the house. Leaving that co-worker, boss, or friend a heartfelt voicemail. How about using your newfound free time to write an old fashioned letter to send in the mail to loved ones who live elsewhere?
The person who speaks this languages thrives on not just the gift itself but the intention behind it. The next time you leave your house to head to the supermarket could you pick up something extra (even if it’s very small) for your special someone in mind? Pro tip: the delivery of the gift is also an important component of this language.
This language, of course, will especially need to be modified given our current circumstances; however, it’s not a dealbreaker. Respecting the current guidelines with the mindful avoidance of close contact with those in the household who are sick, when we’re stuck at home for days we can still engage in physical touch. What does your child or partner prefer? Hugs? Kisses? Cuddles? - or perhaps a shoulder massage, or a manicure?
Acts Of Service
This refers to a kind or helpful gesture for a loved one. Could you see if your elderly neighbour needs something at the shop you can pick up for them? How could you be more attentive to your other housemates and be proactive in terms of pitching in? Could you step outside your comfort zone and work on a chore you don’t usually do, or better yet ask what could be done? Or how about dusting off that list of long-term house projects and start to work on them. In short, how can I show affection by performing actions.
This love language is about spending time with another in an undivided way. And with our current COVID crisis, there is literally no better time than right now to be focusing on this! Can you get outside as a family and walk around the neighbourhood? Make a phone call or, better yet, a video chat with your family and friends to check in? And as I’ve been reminding clients, “social distancing” isn’t the best description of the current buzz phrase going around: “physical distancing” is. We are wired to connect and through these difficult times we’ve been experiencing, it’s imperative we spend time with others, even if that means we need to stay 6 feet (or 6 countries) apart.
The best part about this Love Language concept is that we can learn to adapt how we express our affection. If you speak Greek but your partner speaks Mandarin, there can be a natural loss in translation; however, each of you can learn each others’ languages and meet in the middle.
How do you know your love language? For some of us we may have a good idea as to what feels like a loving and kind act. However, to look at this more deeply and discover more about your loved ones and your own love language I highly recommend taking this free online five love language quiz here: www.5lovelanguages.com