The 5 Love Languages: Not Just For Lovebirds5 min read
Discover new ways to connect with your family beyond words.
Without a doubt, the first thing that comes to mind when I think about love languages is romantic relationships. The Romeos and Juliets whom Shakespeare so eloquently wrote about. Although love languages may have been inspired by couples, who says you can’t use them in your family?
What love languages are we talking about?
Bet you didn’t know this, but “The Five Love Languages” is a book written by author and counsellor Gary Chapman back in 1992.
It sounds silly. But I still remember the epiphany I had after reading the book. That not everyone expresses and experiences love in the same way.
To make someone feel loved, we must learn to speak his or her love language, and vice versa. These languages are not cheem to master. But it took our family a while to get past the cringey and cheesy phase of using them. And now, they’re keeping us more connected than ever.
Hmmm… How will you know your love language?
Not everyone knows their primary love language. You can discover yours by taking this quiz. Thereafter, put it into action!
1. Words of Affirmation
We can say or write words to support, encourage and positively uplift another person.
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Although Bobby and I sometimes fight like cats and dogs, something as simple as “Jia you for your exam!” from him, or a “Have a good day at work!” text from me to him, can really make our day.
Then, we have Dad. Behind the strong tough exterior of the great Mr Tng, he secretly loves it when Mom smothers him with words of affirmation, after his long hard day of driving Grab. He’s a true softie on the inside.
2. Acts of Service
We can go out of our way to make someone’s life better or do something others would appreciate.
It could be queuing forever to get Ah Gong’s teh-siu-dai from his favourite drinks stall. Or giving Mom some “Me Time” by taking over the ironing, something she appreciates more than gifts. Or scratching that unreachable spot on Catchup’s back, which he thanks me with a flurry of contented purrs.
We can express our love tangibly through well-considered gifts that symbolise how much we cherish someone.
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While I’ve a reputation as “Chatty Cathy” among my Uni friends, I’m terrible at expressing my feelings to my own family members through words. Applies to most Asians right? So I became the Queen of Gifts in the Tng household! Before getting a gift, I’d always reflect on the other person, our relationship and imagine what he or she would feel after receiving it. In turn, I’d instantly recognise a gifter who goes through this careful gift-giving process.
4. Quality Time
We can make it a priority to be fully present with our loved ones through active listening, eye contact, great conversations and shared activities.
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Whether it’s spending an afternoon baking the Tngs’ secret-recipe cookies with Mom, or brunching with Dad at a quaint café in Tanjong Pagar, I absolutely treasure the one-on-one time I have with them. On weekends, it’s a family tradition for us to play games and have a belly-busting meal together. We’d tell stories, take wefies, joke and laugh so hard, sometimes Aunty Kiam Chye just can’t resist coming over from next door. And of course she’s totally welcome like Uncle Yam Tong as part of our extended family.
5. Physical Touch
We can use physical expressions of love, as touch can be incredibly affirming and help build emotional connections.
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The roots of physical touch go back to childhood. Even now, Ah Gong likes greeting me with a hug, every time I return home from classes. His affectionate embrace is so comforting. If you’re the touchy-feely type, this love language is a no-brainer for you!
To make these five languages easy-peasy to remember, here’s an analogy I’ve cooked up for you featuring my favourite local snack.
THE 5 LOVE LANGUAGES
Words of Affirmation: Wah, your curry pok so nice sia!
Acts of Service: I made you curry pok.
Gifts: Here’s a curry pok.
Quality Time: Let’s go get curry pok together.
Physical Touch: Let me hold you like a curry pok.
Love is what builds a happy home
People often want to feel loved on their own terms. But many are too pai seh to ask for it. Just like in romantic relationships, learning these love languages can help improve communication, prevent potential arguments and forge stronger bonds in your family. Once everyone’s fluent in everyone’s love languages, we’ll end up with a happier and healthier clan.
A Millennial who practically lives on Instagram. Digitally savvy, this uni-undergrad has shopped in almost every possible online shopping site from A to Z. But her street-smartness is not matched by her laziness. She knows a lot, and keeps her pulse on the hood.