TIMELESS TIPS: The Importance of the Five Love Languages

couple with speech bubbles

Recently, there has been a lot of “new” in our world. We’ve had to learn to adapt in a lot of different ways since March of 2020. At Anchorpoint, we sometimes find comfort in the things that don’t change in these tumultuous times, so we have delved into our archives of newsletters past. And you know what? Even though years have gone by, there really is a lot of timeless and useful information regarding our mental health. Our “Timeless Tips” series aims to help your present day with words from the past.

This article, from the spring of 2014, discusses the five love languages and how you can use them to retain healthy relationships. From spouses and families to colleagues and friends, it’s so important to know how to effectively and progressively communicate with the people in your life. This knowledge is especially valuable in marriage counseling and developing positive communication habits.

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around." -Leo Buscaglia

Headline: From a Grateful Heart Comes Appreciation

This past November, our executive director, Ron Barnes delivered a sermon at Elfenwild Church, entitled “The Grateful Heart.” In this sermon, he discusses the struggles and obstacles of cultivating a heart of gratefulness and the personal healing that comes from being grateful. One of the fruits of a grateful heart is that it allows us to be more loving and appreciative of others.

“Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone,” according to G.B. Stern. Take action. But how? Have some of your attempts to show appreciation fallen flat? Would you like to show appreciation to the important people in your life and have it be received as you intend it? There are two books that might be helpful and provide you with great insights into communication.

The first is The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Several of our therapists suggest this book for couples in marriage counseling at Anchorpoint. It can be a very effective tool for communication.

The second is a similar book, The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace by Gary Chapman and Paul White. This book recommends taking the time to learn the language of those whom you wish to appreciate in order to strengthen your important relationships.

The authors share these as the five love languages:

  1. Words of Affirmation: Some people receive appreciation through your words. These people want and need to be affirmed through encouraging words. Negative words can be devastating.
  2. Quality Time: People who accept appreciation through quality time want to spend time with you. They want your attention. If you are texting or emailing while spending time with them, it will turn them off and cause negative feelings.
  3. Acts of Service: Acts of service people are doers. Action speaks louder than words for them. They perform and that is how they show and accept appreciation. When you offer to do something and do NOT do it, it offends people who accept appreciation through acts of service.
  4. Tangible Gifts: People with this love language express their feelings and appreciation through giving and receiving gifts. It doesn’t have to be an expensive gift, but it should be a meaningful one. Bake cookies, send a gift card to a favorite restaurant, or give another thoughtful token.
  5. Appropriate Touch: Physical touch is important in your intimate relationship, but you need to be more careful and culturally appropriate in other settings like the workplace. A handshake, fist bump, pat on the back, or high-five can express appreciation.

How do you discover the appreciation language of others? 

There is an online test you can take, but it may be weird to ask others to take a test so you know whether to bake them brownies, give them a high-five, or send them a note. The book suggests that you listen and observe behavior.

Others will reveal a language through their requests, compliments, and complaints. Someone who is always writing you notes speaks Words of Affirmation. The co-worker that complains that he is overwhelmed with work needs to be appreciated with Acts of Service. The friend who has been calling you to go out to grab a coffee needs some Quality Time. The office mate who likes to occasionally surprise you with a latte from your favorite coffee shop shows appreciation with Tangible Gifts.

By understanding the five love languages of appreciation, you will be equipped to better communicate your message of gratefulness in the most understandable and receivable way for others. After all, your goal is genuine appreciation for them. It’s not about you (although you will find it to be a blessing for you, too!).

If you’d like to discover what your particular love language is, you can take a free online assessment here. Whatever your preferred communication style is, always remember to lead with appreciation and a grateful heart. If you have questions or are interested in counseling, please contact us at 412-366-1300 or fill out an online intake form.