The Language of Lies

From time to time I come across references to Rev. Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages. His premise is simple and in the decades since the book was published, continues to resonate with many. According to Chapman, we convey liking and love primarily through five different forms of expression: Acts of services, quality time, gifts, physical touch, and verbal affirmation. A relationship is more likely to flourish if you know how you prefer to be loved, and how your partners/friends/family like to be loved.

When I consider how I fell for my life partners, or how an acquaintance can become a friend, I see myself as drawn to  heartfelt words (duh), and to acts of service. If you care about me, have the courage to say so, and pay enough to attention to give me a hand when needed. I am also prone to speaking my heart around my loved ones, saying the sincere, honest things that I hope bolster courage and connection, even if they are a bit mushy and awkward.

And I like to be of practical use to those I care about. At the therapeutic riding barn, I don’t care if my job is mucking stalls, side-walking in silence, or horse-leading a reluctant pony. I just want to be useful to a good organization. I’m happy with quality time as an expression of caring, but less comfortable with gifts. Affection isn’t casual with me, either.

That said, I realize that I’ve been snookered by the ways I perceive that somebody cares about me. I’ve fallen for the words when those words weren’t backed up by deeds. “I so appreciate you,” is balm to my soul, but the words are not always meant truthfully. When somebody presents me with a gift, by contrast, I’m not sure what to do. I might say the right things, but often what I’m thinking is, “You really should not have. I have too much stuff as it is and nice things never last long in my house…”

When somebody browses for hours shopping for the exact right way to convey, “Congratulations!” or, “I’m thinking of you,” and my internal response is, “Where am I going to put this?” I’ve missed the point. I’ve missed the caring and the love, and that’s a darned shame. When some guy says all the things but never offers to grab the check, and I’m smitten just because of the smarmy words, that’s another kind of darned shame.

The takeaway for me is, “Enjoy the words when they come my way, but look behind them too, and appreciate the affection, the tangible tokens, and everything else that conveys caring.”

I’m not sure how these concepts will show up in my books–maybe an affectionate heroine will utterly baffle an acts of service hero–but I will continue to ponder the topic.

What is the best way for somebody to show you that you’re appreciated? (And if you want to take the 5 Languages quiz, you can do that here.)

(And PS: Happy launch week to Miss Dashing!)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

10 comments on “The Language of Lies

  1. My hubby said to me this week, I know you don’t need me to do (this thing) for you and I know you’re fully capable of doing it yourself, but this is part of how I show you my love
    And hearing that made me less annoyed and more cared for
    So it IS good to keep in mind how others like to show love (and receive it!)
    Excellent point, Grace!

  2. Hi to one and all.I’ve missed sharing your blog Grace for many months for two reasons.The first being a total breakdown of my computer and internet due to houses being built and the land being used for this taking away out car park and our internet at the same time.Months of disruption and discord.Reason two my health has taken a nose dive.A routine blood test uncovered kidney disease and after several months of many tests showed the condition to be going the wrong way.Intervention and treatment soon to start.I am so tired and weak but I have my books,Thanks to you and Mary Balogh also Stephanie Laurens.Recent releases have made me happy.This week’s blog highlights my family.My son and daughter and their families live very busy lives and sometimes I don’t see them or hear from them for weeks.I usually lead a busy life and please myself what I do with friends and family.So it has made me very humble these last few weeks that my family,friends have taken me to hospitals far and wide,visited fetched food shop done my garden been my escort out walking and keeping me company.I said this is all to much,I am coping.Their reply was shut up and let us spoil you we have taken you for granted for so long.Enjoy it and get better.So I’m doing what I am told.They said they need me around for a long time yet.My reply I need you more because I love you all.In many different ways we are all in this game of life Together.Come rain or shine we will be together.

  3. Although I had a suspicion about what the results would be, I took the quiz. It confirmed that I prefer being taken care of (AKA “Acts of Service”). I seriously don’t want to be bothered with cooking, for instance, and am very happy that my Greek-American partner is willing to take the lead on that (the opposite of my ex-husband who resented even picking up fast food when I worked full-time to put him through grad school and who knew how much I hate cooking–to the point I convinced my junior high that I be allowed to take a full year of sewing instead of half and half as was the norm). It’s harder for me to figure out what my partner needs because he always says he’s “fine” but I do make sure to say “Thank you” when he makes me coffee in the morning and I clean up after he makes dinner (though I don’t load the dishwasher because he always rearranges it anyway). But we’ve been together over 40 years so he probably is fine.
    Congratulations on “Miss Dashing!”

  4. I took the quiz, and it confirmed what I already knew in my heart–TIME is the most precious gift I can receive from my loved ones. Gifts and compliments are nice, but undistracted, unforced, periods of time to be together to just talk, or enjoy a meal together with someone you enjoy being with are very precious, especially if that person is normally very busy.

  5. Very interesting. I took the quiz and found that quality time and acts of service, with a few words of appreciation tossed in, are what matter to me. But it was also interesting to think that my style and the style of other people I love are sometimes quite different. I regret to say that in the past, I failed to appreciate what someone DID because it wasn’t accompanied by WORDS or a costly gift. I will try to think about what the other person intends to convey in their own love language instead of perhaps misinterpreting their intention because of my own preferred style. Looking forward to our new books!

  6. While I love hearing that I am appreciated and loved, all the gifts of help with things around the house no matter how big or small mean so much to me. I try to do the same for others because I know how much it means to me.

  7. I like words and acts of service most — what an interesting quiz! I mostly feel like I can buy whatever I need now, but years ago, before cell phones had maps in them, my dad bought me GPS gadget — one of the best presents I have ever received, as I am directionally challenged. So the right gift at the right time is always appreciated!

  8. I told our son not long ago he didn’t need to buy me flowers. His reply was “I love you, too, Mom, and buying you flowers makes ME happy.”

    I was raised to feel that talk is cheap. Learning to say the words, different ways of saying them and saying them often has been difficult for me.

    It’s kind of like trying a bunch of different keys until you find the one that works and using it, keeping it close. It might mean giving it to my nearest and dearest, maybe frequently as some lose keys they way they do their glasses, wallets, passwords…

  9. I just got my “Miss Dashing” copy! But, I think I am going to re-read “Miss Determined”. I want to make sure I get all of Gavin’s show ups before I read Dashing.
    Then, I will start on Lord Jullian and am SO looking forward to that!

    How can someone show me I’m appreciated? It’s complicated. I love honest connection and authenticity. I love deep, personal conversation. So, of the 5 languages, I guess I would choose Quality Time.
    I love gifts but it depends on the gift and gift giver for it to be meaningful for me. My sister is a genius gift giver!

    But, I also think that it depends on things that can be severely missing in a person’s world for them to choose a love language. For example, if a partner never pays any attention to someone, the other party might choose Quality Time because they may never get any. Or, if a partner has physically drawn away and never touches the other person, Physical Touch might become a priority.

    I’m of the opinion that “love languages” can morph and move. And that, over a person’s lifetime, they may have seen all of them in their life at one time or another.