I consider the five love languages, described by Dr. Gary Chapman in his book, The Five Love Languages, essential reading for all couples. Yet, something is missing. Read on to learn about five more languages that will help you communicate love.
I am a big fan of the five love languages. I actually used these five languages to honor my dad’s life when I spoke at his funeral (you can read about it here). However, I am often left feeling like something is missing from this universally-used handbook for understanding how to communicate love in a way that works.
It's as if the five love languages offer wonderful ingredients (touch, gifts, service, words, and time) and even insights about how to recognize which ones to use and when, but there is still something missing.
Sometimes, you can speak the precise language your partner has taught you to speak, yet without the right dialect, it's as if the message does not seem to register. It's no different, I suppose, then having all of the right ingredients for the perfect dish. Yet, the end product will vary greatly, depending on how much of each ingredient you use, when and how you include them, the temperature and cooking technique used, and on and on.
We can have all of our favorite foods (or languages of love, in this case), but ultimately, it is a specific experience we desire – not the actual behavior. We are most interested in feeling a certain way, just as we want our food to taste a certain way. To simply touch her, talk to her, do things for her, spend time with her, or give her gifts – these feel like ingredients designed to create a feeling and communicate love. Without the heat, the food isn't cooked.
Without patience or timing, the food can burn or be undercooked. Without balance, the taste can be overbearing or underwhelming. Just as, when we behave in certain ways, the different ingredients used to communicate love, whether we touch, talk to, do for, give to, or be with her, we may need heat, spice, and timing, patience, and balance.
When I think about the most powerful language of love, I think of energy.
Food is energy.
People are energy.
Love is energy.
This energy is part of who we are. Therefore, the language of love is how we treat, manage, hold, express, and exchange this love energy and how we mix and blend this love energy with others. Here's a quote that speaks to this from a book called The Tao of Relationships by Ray Grigg:
"Lovers live love. They are in it like rain is in raining and smiles are in smiling. But, they cannot explain what it is because they are in it."
Ultimately, we partner to feel a certain way. Because of this, I believe, rather than asking how to feel loved (by way of a particular behavior), it is first helpful to understand what being loved actually feels like to you.
What is the feeling you hope to experience by being in love?
It isn’t the action, the gift, the words, or the touch that we crave, it’s how we anticipate those things will make us feel that we desire. It isn’t the clean house, or the heartfelt card, or the passionate kiss, it’s the way these things make us feel.
Therefore, the two critical questions to ask the one you love are:
"How do you want to feel?"
"What makes you feel that way?"
For example, I want to feel understood, accepted, alive, inspired, worthy, playful, and connected. What makes me feel this way is not easily found in the five love languages.
The ultimate way to feel love for me is less about these tangible things (words, gifts, time, service, and touch) and more about being known, sensing that she "get's me," and feeling accepted. I need to experience the positive, energetic and chemical connection that can only be felt, not described.
The Magic Of Love Is That It's Experienced So Intensely.
Love can inspire and fulfill dreams, create hope, give birth to, save lives, soothe the soul, and so much more. Yet we can not see it, the actual love itself – this powerful force, this indescribable ingredient. We only see what it can do. As with energy, we do not see the energy itself. We see the shape it takes and how it is used.
Just as energy is inseparable from who we are, love is inseparable from the lover, the one who loves. I've come to see love as a part of the actual energy that makes us who we are. Just as we can not see the energy of who we are, we can see the physical form that the energy makes, and yet, the energy is more than what we see and can experience without words or labels.
Love is a kind of energy. Love is energy that can be expanded or contracted, grown or diminished. Another question (I do like my questions) is:
"How can we grow love?"
If I were to write the book 5 More Languages of Love, I would describe these languages as personality characteristics; they are part of the person, not a thing they do. I would use the 5 Languages to describe the lover as:
The one who holds the energy of love.
How that love is experienced.
How that love is expressed.
How that love is grown.
Because there is no one way to love or feel loved, we all end up being responsible for teaching others how to speak our unique language of love. After some thought, here is the dialect of my personal language of love. I hope by reading this, you are inspired to consider your own language, as well as the languages of those you love.
For me, the most powerful love languages are less about what you do and more about who you are, how you are, and how you express the energy of love.
Five More Love Languages That Speak To Me Most:
#1 - THE LOVE LANGUAGE OF CURIOSITY
To me, curiosity is the engine of love. It encourages engagement, sparks interest, and fuels an active desire to know and understand the one you love. Curiosity is an openness to one another that does not base understanding on assumptions, stories, or projections. Curiosity communicates desire. Curiosity says, "You interest me, and I want to know you."
#2 - THE LOVE LANGUAGE OF ALLOWING
Allowing creates the feeling of acceptance. Allowing is not permission to misbehave. It is permission to be who you simply are, all of who you are, without fear that you will be judged, criticized, rejected, or otherwise disconnected because of who you are.
Allowing is how I imagine the sky is to clouds. The sky seems so graceful and accepting of whatever the clouds may do – always a steady backdrop, creating room for what unfolds, and never can I imagine a time when the sky would say to the clouds, "you look a little too puffy today."
#3 - THE LOVE LANGUAGE OF FORGIVENESS
Because we are human, we are certain to make mistakes. Forgiving is the safety net of love. It is like a trampoline of sorts, offering a kind landing if we should falter and just enough oomph to help us back up. To be forgiving is to ensure there is enough wiggle room to make mistakes, learn how to do it better next time, and feel better for having had the opportunity to learn.
#4 - THE LOVE LANGUAGE OF KINDNESS
The sentiment I am trying to capture here is hard to put into just one word – it's probably a concept that does not yet have a word, yet it's one of the most important languages to me. I feel most loved when I am in a positive, kind, playful environment with laughter, silliness, vulnerability, and ease. It's an energy, for sure, and like love, it's much easier to feel than it is to describe. There is some way that energy speaks louder than actions, and for me to feel love, that energy needs to be positive and kind.
The one ingredient that seems to capture the essence of this part of love languages for me is basic human kindness. Kindness is the sort of energetic vibration that radiates out to all beings, and it is consistent and true. Where there is kindness, oxygen seems to fill my lungs more easily, and interactions go more smoothly.
Kindness is a form of gratitude, a gentle appreciation for all that is good by tending to the energy we pour into the world around us; sensitivity to and appreciation for the power of our own energy's effect on those around us. Kindness allows us to breathe in hopefully and exhale peacefully. To feel loved, I need to experience a sincere sense of kindness in the company of the one I love. It is not enough that I sense their kindness toward me; trusting this love means I see this same kindness directed to others. It is a way of being in the world, a part of who you are.
#5 - THE LOVE LANGUAGE OF TRUTH (AUTHENTICITY)
For some, the sentiment I'm reaching for here is talked about in terms of loyalty, fidelity, honesty, or even commitment. While related, they are not the same. To me, the characteristic of being true means that you are true to yourself, that you know and understand and love yourself.
TRUTH IS ABOUT AUTHENTICITY. In the words of Oriah Mountain Dreamer:
"I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself."
I know you can be true to me when you are true to yourself. The feeling this provides is safety and security.
If you know yourself, and how you feel, and it is deeply true to who you are, then I can trust that it is true when you extend your love to me.
This gives me the feeling that, no matter what happens, I am safe with you. The emphasis isn't on ensuring that you stay with me or knowing that you'll never lie to me. The emphasis is on knowing that you will live a life that is true to who you really are, and your first commitment is to you so that the you, I believe to be loving me, is the you to whom you are most true.
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This blog post was written by Michele O’Mara, LCSW, Ph.D.
Michele is an expert lesbian relationship coach and psychotherapist with a comfortable obsession with all things related to love and relationships. She is a Certified Imago Therapist, trained Gottman Therapist on all three levels, and a Certified Discernment Counselor. With a Ph.D. in Clinical Sexology, she is also skilled at and comfortable with addressing sexual issues in relationships.
She is the author of Just Ask: 1,000 Questions to Grow Your Relationship, which is available in paperback or Kindle on Amazon, as well as an app on Itunes /Google play.
In addition to offering online counseling and coaching to couples from across the United States, she also offers events and couples retreats.
Check out her website to learn more!