I've always been a sort of love language naysayer. It's not that I don't believe we have a way in which we prefer to give and receive love. It's just that I find it hard to believe there are only five. For example, I'm convinced that my love language is a good back rub. Sure, you might say this falls into the "Touch" category but I could really care less if someone is snuggling me or holding my hand. So, at the very least, these love languages have to have sub categories.
"What's your love language?"
"Touch. Sub category: Massage."
Another love language of mine--I totally have more than one--is chocolate.
All that said, I see elements of the whole love language phenomenon that are completely accurate and I try to give love the way I know my family needs to receive it.
I'm actually Acts of Service. Troy could buy me gifts, kiss me, spend time with me, and tell me he loves me until he's blue in the face but when that man gets down on the floor and scrubs it clean, my heart goes all a flutter.
I recently found an online quiz for kids. Matthew is technically too young but we did it anyway. The results were shocking to me. Troy and I would have bet the farm--if we had a farm to bet which we do not--that Garrett was Quality Time and Matthew was Touch. From the time he was a very little tyke, Garrett has just wanted to spend time with people. As much time as he possibly can. It's obnoxious because regardless of how much time you give that kid, he wants more. And, when he was little, Matthew may as well have climbed into my body because he simply couldn't get close enough to me to satisfy his need for physical touch.
I hadn't really thought about the fact that, as he's gotten older, Matthew's need to be held/snuggled/hugged constantly has waned. Garrett still wants to spend every waking moment with people and, when I tested them, Quality Time was high on his list. But, I was pretty surprised to see that...my boys were flipped.
Garrett's top love language was Touch. I suppose I should have seen it. He's nearly ten and still wants me to snuggle him every night. He'll still kiss both of his parents in public. He wants hugs. He'll reach over and take my hand and just hang onto it. He likes to be near people. Don't get me wrong, Quality Time is incredibly important to him and I think I need to do a better job of balancing both of these languages when I'm communicating love to him.
Matthew's love language came out as Quality Time. He's a different bird. Garrett's personality is a lot like mine and it's not terribly difficult for me to parent that--on most days. Matthew is the oil to my water. He's very different from me and I have to take a lot of steps back to figure out what works in parenting him. When I asked him to choose between the two choices in each scenario, he favored the Quality Time answer almost every time.
Initially, I was just doing it for fun, but I've decided that I can really use this new information--especially with Matthew. So, while I don't think the Five Love Languages are gospel truth or anything, they're definitely a tool to be used.
Especially when I need the floors cleaned.