Filling the Love Tank

For Mother’s Day 2015, my boys collaborated on a load of bark mulch for my flower gardens — and then faithfully spread every last particle.  What a gift!  They were certainly speaking my love language!

Gary Chapman’s five love languages have become woven into the fabric of our culture.  Any conversation centered around interpersonal dynamics and relationship building is going to, eventually, come around to a discussion of understanding the other person’s love language.  But what if the conversation started during the teen years when relational habits are still being formed — before life partners are chosen and language barriers are already in place?  Although Rosetta Stone hasn’t come up with a series on love languages, Paige Hayley Drygas has lent her voice to Gary’s classic material and the result is A Teen’s Guide to the 5 Love Languages.

Since there are only five fundamental love languages, all humans express love emotionally in five distinct ways.  Each of us has a primary love language, which means that one of the five speaks more deeply to us than the other four.  This is crucial to understand in a relationship because no matter how much I love my husband and sons, if I am not communicating that love to them in a way that is meaningful to them, they will not feel loved.  We have a tendency to speak the language that fills our own love tank, when that may not be the most effective means of communication to our loved ones.  Too, we should not speak only the primary love language of the people we care for.  Love can be expressed and received in all five languages.  However, keep in mind that “if you don’t speak a person’s primary love language, then that person will not feel loved, even though you may be fluently speaking the other four.”

Through the use of engaging illustrations and personal examples, Gary and Paige present all five love languages with related tips on enriching teens’ relationships and very practical examples of what each love language would look like in real life. The goal is to identify ones own love language and then to key into the preferences of family and friends:

  1.  Words of affirmation — Truthful words spoken or written from one person to another to uplift, to encourage, and to make the recipient feel loved.  Specific and intentional words can communicate how much we value those we love by expressing appreciation, encouragement, praise, and kindness.  Warnings against flattery are wise.
  2. Quality time — Intentional, deliberate time spent with a person to make the individual feel loved.  With each of the five languages, there are dialects that guide exactly how the love is received.  For instance, quality conversation may fill the love tank of one person while shared activities may be the preference of another.
  3. Gifts — More than a material item, a gift is a visual symbol of love representing the giver.  A gift is a tangible object that says, “I was thinking about you, and I wanted you to have this.”  The value of the item does not correspond to its price tag but to its meaning to the person.
  4. Acts of service — Doing something kind, intentional, and unexpected that helps someone else.  Once again, we’re looking for impact:  what will mean the most to the recipient?  This may not necessarily be judged in the amount of time spent, or even by how hard you work.  Attitude and eagerness are important, and service does not imply becoming someone’s doormat.
  5. Physical touch — If someone’s primary love language is touch, then your touches will speak more loudly than your words.  Boys and girls will express affection differently — and individual personalities, the parameters of the relationship, and timing all play a huge role in communicating love through touch.  Obviously this is a tricky one for teens, for, sadly,  no other love language has been more distorted than touch.

Some important considerations:

  • It is critical to learn to both receive and give love in all five languages.
  • All the love languages can be learned.  Some may feel more awkward than others, but all of us need to be able to speak love in a variety of ways.
  • Every love language has an opposite.  Quality time’s evil twin is deliberately leaving someone out; the twisted version of gifts would be bribery and manipulation.

The Five Love Languages Profile is a diagnostic test to help readers evaluate their own love language, and a helpful chart is provided for analyzing the go-to language of loved ones.

Just as missionaries labor to communicate in the “heart language” of the people group they serve — the language of their thoughts, feelings, and dreams — we communicate love and respect, value and appreciation for others by learning their love language and using it to speak deeply to them.

“All of us want to be known and loved.  That’s universal.  However, how we want to be loved is unique to each of us.”

A terrific study for a youth or college-aged group, A Teen’s Guide to the Five Love Languages is a helpful tool for better communication and the laying of a good foundation for healthy relationships.

//

This book was provided by Northfield Publishing in exchange for my review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Michele Morin

Michele Morin is a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for over 25 years, and their four children are growing up at an alarming rate. Michele loves hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop her in her tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. She laments biblical illiteracy and advocates for the prudent use of “little minutes.” She blogs at Living Our Days, and you can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

30 thoughts on “Filling the Love Tank”

  1. Thanks for bringing our hearts to LOVE this morning Michele.
    How have you been? Thanks for your help with the book. I hope you like the cover page?
    Blessings to you

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  2. Someday I will actually read Gary’s book on the Five Love Languages but I have discussed the five with my sons and other people many times. I am definitely a words of affirmation girl as well as someone who loves quality time with others. It is a wonderful way to speak and build into those we love the most. Happy Tuesday!

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  3. Michele,
    What a great resource! Going to share with my son…In addition to learning to speak in others love languages, I like the emphasis on learning to give and receive in several languages. My dad, now deceased, spoke to me in “acts of service”. Because I am a words of affirmation girl, I often missed some of the sweetest expressions of his love because I didn’t learn his “language”.
    Blessings,
    Bev

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Michele, what a great post! Having a teen in the house, I’m really evaluating what his love language is. And I never considered the evil twins of each love language. Yikes! My mind doesn’t go there, but I need to be aware of these.

    Hubs’ primary love language is acts of service; mine is words of affirmation. My boys? I think (I THINK) both of them have physical touch as a primary language. I’m still trying to determine this. : )

    I loved this quote: “All of us want to be known and loved. That’s universal. However, how we want to be loved is unique to each of us.” Very true words.

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  5. Gosh, if we ever needed to learn a love language well, it would be during those teen years when communication is often so easily misunderstood. I especially liked your point, Michele, that every love language has an opposite.

    Sounds like where the enemy must love to get a foothold.

    Great review, friend …

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  6. My husband and I read and did a bible study on this book early in our marriage. What a relationship changer if we began this earlier in our young adults. Seriously. I think of the impact this would have on many marriages and even those relationships they consider close to them; friends, extended family and even children. Great insight. Always enjoy seeing you on Thursdays at my party.

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  7. I used snippets from this book to teach a girls’ teen class a couple years back and it was enlightening to them and to me. I probably should have my now-grown kids retake the quiz to see if their love languages have changed any since they’ve left the teen years. For me, I’m definitely all about words of affirmation! 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Michele.

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  8. I am so excited this book is out. We love The 5 Love Languages books. Thanks for linking up with Thankful Thursdays.

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  9. I’m so happy for this book. I have had to recommend the Five love languages some of my married friends and God used it to save their marriage a lot of stress. I have also used it in teaching teens and young people like me during the varying opportunites I’ve had to address them on relationship related topics.

    One thing I observed in reference to our relationship with God is that God speaks all of this language. He desires us to spend quality time with Him (quality time).. He lives in our praises and words we use to affirm His love for us and workings in our lives (affirmation).. Our Gifts to Him and to others are important and encouraged.. We are encouraged serve Him, serve others as our love for Him… and the touches too.. like when we reach out to others in need and touch their lives positively.

    Apart from our human relationships, I think this love languages also works in our relationship with God.

    Thanks for sharing this review.
    Its nice reading from you again.

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  10. This is something my husband and I have raised our family with, and we have tried to grow our marriage with the same. It is amazing to discover each other’s love languages and watch children thrive in them! Love, Love, Love this!

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  11. I love the thoughts you’ve shared here about the Five Love Languages, especially that it is crucial that we all learn to communicate in all of them! So true. Incidentally, my husband (a Taiwanese-American) is quite insistent that there is a sixth love language that most Chinese people share: the love language of food. 🙂 Nothing speaks love to my husband (or my sons) like food, and I have learned to receive love by letting him cooking for me as well. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this at the Booknificent Thursday link-up on Mommynificent.com this week!
    Tina

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