Love Languages (Chickens speak to Ducks)

Featured on the Hong Kong Economic Journal (June 15, 2013)


“My husband lavishes me with gifts but doesn’t spend any time with me. I just wish he’d take the time to spend with me.”

“My wife doesn’t appreciate the things I buy her and I’m working so hard to provide for her!”


“I’ve never once heard my dad tell me he’s proud of me”

“My son is so ungrateful. I do so much for him but he doesn’t appreciate it”


If you’ve said, heard or witnessed any of these things phrases, you need to hear about Love Languages. A couple years back, Dr. Gary Chapman wrote a book titled the 5 Love Languages that was later adapted for couples and another for parents. The theory is this: that everyone expresses and receives love in different ways. So essentially, different people ‘speak’ different love languages and if two people in relationship are ‘speaking’ different languages, they don’t understand each other.


Take the examples above as illustrations. The wife just wants to spend time with the husband but the husband is busy working to provide for his wife. Both think they are loving the other without realizing the other person doesn’t feel it. Without understanding, both will probably feel unloved.


Dr. Chapman proposes the concept that there are 5 main love languages and people have one of them as their primary language. The five are: Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Gifts and Quality Time.


People whose love language is Physical Touch show affection by using touch to express themselves. Whether it’s a congratulatory high five, a sympathetic pat on the shoulder, or a loving embracive hug, it’s their way of showing affection. For these people, they also usually feel most loved when given physical touch. Some children naturally speak this language. When they see you, they will run to give you a hug or want to sit on your lap.


People whose love language is Words of Affirmation give love by using encouraging words that uplift. They will tell you how you did something well or how much they appreciate you. These people need affirmation too and will need to hear how they are appreciated.


People whose love language is Acts of Service show love by helping others. It might be making sure the house it tidy before other members come home or helping book plane tickets for a trip. For children, it could be that they offer to help set the table or get slippers for parents.


Many people think their love language is gifts (most people like receiving gifts!) but people with Giving Gifts as their love language use thoughtful gifts as a way of telling the other person they love them. It’s not about how much the gift costs but the thought put into to let the other person know ‘I was thinking of you’.


And the last language is Quality Time. Everyone loves spending time with his or her loved ones but quality time is not just about physically spending time together but time to connect emotionally.


So you can imagine the misunderstanding that could take place if one person shows love by giving gifts but the other wants encouraging words more than anything else. Or if one person works so hard to show love through act of service but the other just wants to spend quality time together.


My sister and I are very close but we’ve come to understand that we speak different love languages. I love hugging my sister and showing my affection to her that way. My sister loves showering everyone around her with gifts especially by buying them souvenirs from her trips to let them know that she was thinking of them even when she was on holiday. Over the years, my sister has learnt to hug me back and I’ve learnt to reciprocate some gifts myself but that took a little time to figure out.


Take the time to observe and discover what love language your loved ones ‘speak’. Then learn to ‘speak’ theirs. Of course, we all can speak all 5 languages but if we discover people’s primary language, we can speak to them so much more effectively. Otherwise it’ll be chickens speaking to ducks!



#Empathy #love #communication #appreciation #misunderstanding #miscommunication #love_languages #Gary_Chapman #giving #understanding

雞同鴨講


「我的丈夫送禮物給我毫不吝嗇,但卻不會陪伴左右,我只希望他能花時間陪陪我。」

「我這麼辛苦工作地滿足妻子,她卻從不欣賞我送給她的東西!」

「我從未曾聽過爸爸說為我感到驕傲。」

「我為兒子付出這麼多,他竟毫不領情。」


若你曾說過、聽過或親眼目睹以上的說話和場合,你便需要知道甚麼是「愛的語言」。幾年前,Dr. Gary Chapman寫了一本書,名為《The Five Love Languages 》(五種愛的語言),還有專為夫婦及父母而設的版本。博士在書中解釋說每人表達和接受愛的方式都不一樣,基本上,不同人所「說」的愛的語言也不一樣,如一段關係中的兩人說着不同的語言,他們便不能明白對方。


以上面的例子說明:那位妻子只是想和丈夫待在一起,但丈夫卻因希望為妻子提供更好的生活而忙於工作。他們兩人都認為自己很愛對方,卻不知道對方並未能感受到彼此的愛。由於未能明白彼此,他們便感受不到自己是被愛的。


Dr. Chapman的概念指出愛的語言主要有五種,而人們會以其中之一作為主要語言。這五種愛的語言包括身體接觸、肯定的話語、服務的行為、禮物及有質素的時間。


以身體接觸為愛的語言的人,會以接觸來表達自己的愛。不論是祝賀時的擊掌、表示同情的拍肩抑或滿載感情的擁抱,都是他們表達愛的方式。這些人若得到別人的接觸,便會感到被愛。有些孩子與生俱來便會說這種語言,他們看見你的時候,會跑過來給你一個擁抱,又或希望坐在你的腿上。


以肯定的話語為愛的語言的人,會以鼓勵的話表達愛。他們會告訴你甚麼地方做得很好,以及欣賞你的地方。這些人同樣需要別人的肯定,也希望聽到讚賞。


以服務的行為作愛的語言的人,會透過幫助他人表達愛,也許是確保家人回來前把家中打掃乾淨,或是幫忙預訂旅行的機票;對孩子來說,也許是幫忙準備用膳或為父母拿拖鞋。


很多人認為他們的禮物(大多數人都愛收禮物!),但以送禮作愛的語言的人,會以貼心的禮物傳達心意。送禮並不是以禮物的價值去衡量,而是灌注其中的思念,教收到禮物的人很是窩心。


最後的語言是有質素的時間。所有人都喜歡和所愛的人待在一起,但有質素的時間不包括心不在焉,而是和對方的情感連在一起。


如果一方以送禮表達愛意,對方卻最希望聽到鼓勵的話;又或如果一方努力不懈,希望以服務的行動表達愛意,但對方其實只希望能一起度過美好時光,可想而知,會造成很嚴重的誤解。


我和妹妹非常要好,但我們明白到大家說着不一樣的愛的語言。我喜歡以擁抱來表達我對她的愛,妹妹則喜歡將旅行紀念品贈予身邊的人,讓他們知道她即使在假期當中仍惦記着他們。多年來,妹妹已學會回抱我一下,我也學會和她交換禮物,可是還需要一點時間去尋找當中要訣。


花點時間觀察一下,看看你所愛之人「說」哪一種愛的語言,並學習對方的語言。我們當然能五種並用,但若能找出別人的主要語言,溝通將會更有效,否則只會是雞同鴨講!

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