Each of us has our own love language or combination of love languages that must be spoken in order to fill our love tank. Your love language is usually different than the love language of those around you, meaning they’ll have to learn a new language if you are going to feel loved.
Let’s say your husband has been speaking Acts of Service all his life because it’s his native love language. He’s been loving you by all the chores and activities he does for you, but Acts of Service isn’t your love language, Words of Affirmation is. Sure, you’ve got clean laundry and a manicured lawn, but your love tank is running low, because what you crave is a kind word or encouraging chat.
When you’re not spoken to in your native tongue you can start to feel unloved and unappreciated, drained and running on fumes. Many women I talk to complain about just this thing. They notice and practice the love languages of their family and friends, filling up their tanks, but they are not getting filled up in return.
If you find yourself in this situation, I’ve got a few tips for you:
1. Know your love language
If no one knows what your language is, it’s not likely anyone will be able to speak it, so first you must understand how you “speak” love. Take a quiz, think about the gestures that have made your heart swoon, know yourself.
Your love language is part of your unique nature. While it’s not exact, I do see connections between love languages and Authentic Personality types.
Doers usually have the love language of Acts of Service. Nothing says love more than making dinner or sweeping the floor.
Connecters usually have Words of Affirmation as their love language because communication is so integral in their life. Sometimes they have Gifts or Physical Touch. Their generous nature and affectionate ways (that’s why they have no need for personal space) lends itself to these languages.
Improvers often prefer Quality Time because they desire quality relationships that go deep.
Stabilizers, I’ll admit, are not as easy to nail down. Sometimes they love Gifts because they are so giving. Other times they prefer Quality Time because they see and hear others so well.
2. Tell others about your love language
Tell your spouse, your children, your friends, and your extended family what makes you feel loved. Give them specific examples. If making the bed or cleaning the shower (Acts of Service) makes you feel loved, tell them. If a backrub or foot massage fills your tank (Physical Touch) request one or both. Your friends and family are not mind readers and they are not supposed to know you better than you know yourself.
This is usually pretty tricky for women because it can feel a bit self-centered to ask for what you need, especially when you’re expected to meet everyone else’s needs. I, however, see this type of admission not as an act of selfishness but as an act of humility. It’s wonderfully vulnerable to admit that you need something because it puts you in the position of receiver rather than giver, “in need” rather than meeting needs. Humility is an essential element in your pursuit of authenticity.
3. Take responsibility for your love tank
If others in your life are not willing or able to speak your love language, make sure to you are taking ownership of your needs.
If you’re a Gifts girl, treat yo’ self. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just a little something that activates the reward center of your brain. Now, if you do have some cash, get yourself something you’ve always wanted, something that you secretly hoped someone else would buy for you.
If you’re into Quality Time, take yourself on a date. Go for a walk or a bike ride. Journal. Give yourself some undivided attention.
If Physical Touch fills your tank, get a manicure, pedicure or massage. Go big! The deluxe pedicure at my favorite nail place is only $5 more and it includes a hot paraffin wax treatment. I love that part.
For you Acts of Service girls, hire a housekeeper. Sure, we know you’re capable of doing all that housework. That’s not the point. You’ll actually feel loved by letting someone else clean your sink.
Words of Affirmation ladies, talk to yourself. Ditch your inner critic and say the things that you long to hear. Write yourself notes on your bathroom mirror. Remind yourself that you are beautiful, powerful, and a very snappy dresser.
Always be on the lookout for the many ways that God has been speaking your love language. He didn’t create you with a love tank that could not be filled and He didn’t place you at the mercy of others as your only source of love. He promises to meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
Your Distinctive Self-Care Needs
For more information on the self-care needs of your Authentic Personality Type, check out these blogs:
What’s your favorite way to fill your tank?