I read the “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman because I wanted to try and reconnect with my husband. Due to his depression I was feeling very distant from him. I also wanted to understand how to make my son feel more secure when growing up around Depression.
I came across “The Five Love Languages” whilst listening to an Oprah podcast and it got me thinking; Did I know the love language for my husband and son?
I started with “The Five Love Languages of Children” and then moved onto the “The Five Love Languages”, however I am going to review this as a concept and the power it has improving relationships.
Did I know how they like to be shown love, how they recognise love and what is meaningful to them? The answer was worryingly, “no”.
I decided to turn my attention to The Five Love Languages for children first.
The reason for this was because I could see Patrick was feeling isolated and his behaviour was demonstrating that he clearly needed attention. I wanted to be able to communicate to him how much he is loved, and I wanted to do that in a way that was powerful for him.
Perhaps this a good place to list the 5 Love Languages, these are.
- Words of affirmation.
- Quality time.
- Receiving gifts.
- Acts of service.
- Physical touch.
The book took me through each of these and how I can recognise them in my son and how to identify his preferred language.
This was incredibly powerful, and I was able to change how I demonstrate my love to Patrick and I found he became more settled.
I then turned my attention to Richard. I now know what his love language is, and I know it’s not the same as mine. This does bring its challenges because it’s easier for us to express love in the language we prefer rather than in someone else’s.
I found these books life changing. They really helped me to understand how communicating love in the way our loved ones prefer to receive it can change relationships utterly.
Understanding these has helped me cope during Richards depression. I’ll explain how.
My Love Languages are Acts of Service and Quality Time, equally (you can have more than one).
Living with someone with Depression meant that I was getting no acts of service, in fact I was delivering them all. Quality time was limited because even if we went out, he couldn’t engage with me.
I therefore felt unloved, neither of my love languages came naturally to my husband. What did was Physical Touch, which is Richards love language. So, we were at odds with each other.
Now I understand that even if I’m in middle of something I need to respond to the hug Richard is trying to give me because I recognise that this is his way of feeling loved.
I also understand that if I show my love using my language, Richard won’t recognise this as love; therefore I shouldn’t expect it to be acknowledged as such.
I would really recommend these books to help understand the unspoken languages going on and how recognising them can really change relationships. This is particularly valuable when there is a Mental Health illness as the person with the illness will likely gravitate to their own Love Language and won’t have the capacity to try and communicate in yours. If you know theirs you can interpret their actions as their demonstration of their love for you.