Category: The 5 Love Languages®

Q&A: Speaking Gifts is Hard for Him

Q: “My love language is gifts, but he has a hard time speaking it. Because of this I feel misunderstood. I give specific suggestions, but he’ll instead bring something home for me from the hardware store and it just doesn’t cut it. Can you help?”

Gary Chapman: Maybe he doesn’t understand. Either you or someone needs to sit down with him and communicate the love language concept. Just like he would want you to speak his love language, you would like him to speak yours. You say you give him suggestions—that’s good. You might even want to write those things down. I might even suggest he take his sister shopping with him when he goes out to buy you a gift. This could provide him with the proper insight from a woman’s perspective allowing him to fare better than he would on his own.

Pat Your Back

Physical touch is one of the fundamental languages of love. If it happens to be the primary love language of your child or your spouse it is exceedingly important that you speak it regularly. Much of the miss-behavior of children grows out of an empty love tank. The same is true of adults. Perhaps you are not a ‘toucher’. You did not grow up in a touchy-feely family. The good news is that you can learn to speak this love language. Begin by patting yourself on the back. Then do the same to your spouse or child. Put one hand on top of the other hand. Then put your hand on top of your child’s hand. Touches lead to hugs and hugs lead to kisses. Soon you will be proficient in speaking the love language of physical touch.

A Daughter Needs Her Daddy

A few years ago, I teamed up with Dr. Ross Campbell, a psychiatrist whom I greatly admire, and wrote a book called The5 Love Languages of Children. In that book, Dr. Campbell made the point that “during the preadolescence stage, girls have a particular need for expressions of love from their fathers. At the same time, fathers often withdraw from hugging and kissing their daughters, feeling it is inappropriate at this stage.” In reality, the daughter needs the hugs and kisses of her father; and if he withdraws, she will likely seek physical touch from another male and often in an unwholesome manner. Certainly there is no place for sexual exploitation, but your daughter deeply needs your loving and affirming touches.

The Difference You Can Make For Your Child

Did you hug your child when you sent them off to school this morning? I hope so because your hug may make the difference between emotional security and insecurity throughout the day. A hug when the child returns home may determine whether your child has a quiet evening of positive mental and physical activity or makes a rambunctious effort to get your attention. Home should be a haven, the place where love is secure. Physical touch is one of love’s strongest languages. When a child is young they will sit on your lap while you read a story. As they get older you must use different types of touch: wrestling, playful hitting, bear hugs and high-fives. During the grade school years you are preparing your child for the most difficult part of childhood—adolescence. Loving touch is one of your best tools.

The Importance of Touch

In recent years, many research studies have come to the same conclusion: Babies who are held, hugged, and kissed develop a healthier emotional life than those who are left for long periods of time without physical contact. Physical touch is one of love’s strongest voices. The importance of touching children is not a modern idea. Remember in Mark chapter 10 when the parents brought their children to Jesus and the disciples objected? The scripture says that Jesus “took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them” Why should we do less? I know that there are sexual predators who touch children wrongfully, but we should not allow their distortion to keep us from touching children in a loving and healthy way. All children need affirming touch.

Q&A: Love Languages and Business Trips

Q: “Gary, my fiance’s love language is Physical Touch, however I travel a lot for my job and can’t always be there to satisfy this. Any suggestions?”

Gary Chapman: All of the love languages can be expressed long distance. If you are not physically present, it’s true that you can’t actually put your arm around them or reach over and hold hands, but what you can do is call, write, or text. Say something like, “If I were with you I would give you a big hug and kiss right now that you would never forget!” This will speak to them on an emotional level and help fill their love tank. Why? Because you are verbalizing what you would do if you were together. This helps them to know you are thinking about expressing your love to them in a way that is meaningful.

Children Need To Be Touched

When is the last time you touched your child? Studies indicate that many parents touch their children only when it is necessary: when they are dressing or undressing them, putting them in the car, or carrying them to bed. It seems that many parents are unaware of how much their children need to be touched, and yet touch is one of the primary languages of love. The language of touch is not limited to hugging and kissing but includes any kind of physical contact. Even when they are busy, parents can gently touch a child on the back, arm, or shoulder. Perhaps physical touch does not come natural for you. Take the first step: pat your child on the back. Do it for seven days and then try a hug. You may be surprised at your child’s response.

Q&A: Discovering Your Teen’s Love Language

Q: “Gary, do you have a resource for teens to help them discover their love language?”

Gary Chapman: That is an important question because if you don’t know your teenager’s love language, you are not likely to speak it. First of all, observe their behavior—how do they respond to you and how do they respond to other people? Their behavior towards you and others will give you a clue towards as to what their love language is. Secondly, listen to what they complain about. If they often say comments like, “You didn’t bring me anything home from your trip?!” they are telling you that Gifts is most likely their language. Lastly, what do they request of you most often? “Can we take a walk after dinner?” often means a teenager is seeking some Quality Time.

If you do these three things, you can rather easily discover a teenager’s love language.

Q&A: How To Get My Spouse To Speak Physical Touch

Q: “My love language is Physical Touch, but don’t want to burden my wife with it because she does so much already and I don’t want to make it a task. I’d really like this to be freely given instead of a check list thing?”

Gary Chapman: The approach I would suggest is to first discover her love language and begin to speak it on a regular basis. This will help her to her confidently feel loved by you. After some time of this say something like, “You know how when I do this, it makes you feel loved? Well, that’s how I feel when you you hold my hand in the car, or you place your hand on my shoulder when you pour my coffee. I just want you to know how important physical touch is to me and how loved it makes me feel.” Now in her mind you are not equating it with sex; you’re equating it with physical touch. And because you are meeting her need for love, there is a good chance she will begin to meet your need for love as well.

Q&A: Scoring Equally on the Love Language Profile

Q:  “After taking the Love Language Profile on your website I discovered that I scored equally on all of them. My fiance says I’m needy. Am I crazy?”

Gary Chapman:  People who score evenly on all the 5 Love Languages typically fall into one of two categories. First is the person who has felt loved all their life. Consequently, they are not sure which love language makes them feel loved—they like and are able to receive all of them. I trust that would be your case. On the other hand, there are those who have never felt loved, and consequently, all of the love languages sound good to them and equally so because they’ve never experienced any of them in a healthy way. That is a person who is indeed needy.

I would suggest that you look back in your life to your relationship with your parents and ask:

  • “Was it healthy?”
  • “Did I feel loved in that relationship?”
  • “Have I always felt loved? “

If you can answer positively to each of these questions, then you are in a good position.