Giving and receiving love is universal, but the way that you or I tend to express love is specific. I might like to use a lot of words while your expressions of love may be more nonverbal. If your primary language of love is different than mine, and we do not learn each other’s language, then over time we will experience disconnection and conflict. It turns out, how we express love matters!
Several weeks ago, one of my kids brought home a box of conversation cards designed to help families have more meaningful conversations around the table. The first card we picked said, “What is your primary language of love?” There were five choices, based on the work of Gary Chapman:
- Words of Affirmation
- Quality Time
- Receiving Gifts
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
Everyone “guessed” what the primary language of love was for the others and then we each declared our own primary language. It was the best conversation we have had in a long time.
One of L’Arche’s overarching values is to help each person know and express their language of love and to learn and honor the language of love that matters to others.
Each of us is called to be multilingual when it comes to matters of the heart.
Try the exercise with your family, your team, or a close friend. You won’t be disappointed.
Partnerships & Development
“L’Arche, Life, & Love” is written to help build the extended community of people that share L’Arche values.