Are You Speaking the Wrong Language?

When Emily was a child her dad traveled the world for business. But he always brought her something unique from each trip. He would search the markets for the thing that reminded him most of the daughter he missed. When he’d arrive home he’d ask her all about what she’d done while he was gone, he’d tell her how proud he was of her and he’d present her with her newest exotic gift. Emily felt that her dad loved her more than anyone in the world. 

Nate had trouble falling asleep as a little boy. So one day his mom had him lie on his tummy and she rubbed his little back hoping to relax him and coax his eyes shut. It worked! He was asleep within minutes and this became a nightly ritual. 
Fast forward twenty years. Emily and Nate have been married for a year now and both are wondering if they’ve made a mistake. 
Emily tells her best friend, “I’m not even sure if he loves me. He never brings me any presents even though I bring him stuff all the time. He doesn’t even appreciate it! So I get upset and then he has the nerve to rub my shoulders!? I know what that’s code for…and it ain’t happenin!”
Nate tells his dad, “I have no idea what she wants, dad. I try to do things around the house to make her happy. I try to rub her shoulders every night to help her relax. Nothing satisfies her!”
This fictional little story demonstrates a very common miscommunication in all kinds of relationships. It’s a problem with love languages. I haven’t read the book in at least fifteen years, but I will always remember the impact that “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman had on me and my marriage. Mr. Chapman says that there are five different “love languages” that people speak: (For more detailed descriptions click here.)
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch

In the story, Emily felt loved through Receiving Gifts and Words of Affirmation while Nate felt loved by Physical Touch and Acts of Service. Neither felt the other was being loving toward them because rather than showing love the way their partner received it, they were using their own love language to show that they loved the other. I’ve seen this happen in real life and it’s so sad because both people are actually trying really hard yet both are frustrated and feeling unloved. However, the solution isn’t difficult. It’s just a matter of figuring out which love languages make you feel loved and sharing that with your spouse, friend, sister, etc. And vise versa.

Have you ever experienced the kind of miscommunication I described? Do you know what your love languages are? Do you know what your spouse’s are? Your kid’s? It’s really worth looking into. If you click here, you can take a love language survey for free. I hope it helps you like it’s helped me!





Photo of father and daughter from:

Photo of mother and son from:

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  1. Took the assessment again and little has changed in 20 years! So funny! Great reminder, Reb. Love ya.

  2. Love those stories…we are actually reading this in my small group right now and really enjoying it (I am anyway!). I read it when I was young and dating (Hahaha!), but not since!!! It’s SOO much more relevant now!

    • I’ve been meaning to re-read it for years now. I guess since I’m writing about it, I probably should read it again, huh? I imagine it’s really interesting in light of loving our kids, as well as our husbands.

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