Christmas is the time of year when our expectations of family, love and festive magic become a potent mix of anticipation; excitement and fear. Idealised images and our vision of a perfect Christmas can seem like a test of our success as a partner; parent; friend. The result – in the absence of a Christmas Fairy – is that we set impossible standards for ourselves and for others too. Reaching for the impossible can set us up for failure. Go easy on yourself. Perfect doesn’t exist!
Showing love is at the heart of the Christmas spirit and the Five Languages of Love can help us to understand the different ways in which people show love and caring and the way in which we can be speaking different languages. Differing love languages can result in misunderstandings and hurt. Our beliefs about how to show love and caring develop from our early experiences and Chapman (1992 ) identified 5 Love Languages or ways that people show love and feel loved.
The 5 Love Languages are:
Words of Affirmation – people who value words of affirmation appreciate written and spoken words of affections such as: compliments, words of encouragement, texting and social media engagement
Quality Time – people who value quality time have a strong desire to actively spend time with those they care about giving their undivided attention. They love active listening, eye contact and full presence
Acts of Service – People who value acts of service believe actions speak louder than words and appreciate being given a helping hand or thoughtful acts such as a morning cup of tea
Gifts – people whose love language is receiving gifts enjoy being gifted something that is both physical and meaningful – the key to successful gifting is to give meaningful things that reflect their values, not necessarily yours
Physical Touch – people with physical touch as their love language feel loved when they receive physical signs of affection such as kissing, holding hands, hugs, cuddling on the couch and sex
Most of us expect that others share our love language and misunderstandings and hurt can arise when we are speaking different languages. The person who values words of affirmation may not appreciate acts of service from the individual who believes that actions speak louder than words. Chapman’s Love Language Quiz can help us to better understand the important people in our life and encourage us to try new ways to show we care – take the quiz here.
Have a peaceful and loving Christmas!