this has been an old discussion for Wendy and i but it has been a fruitful one for me of late. we have known that we are VERY different from each other for a long time but this formally pointed out to me some of the stuff between us that drives us both nuts.
love languages are the ways that each of us uses to express love. you should go check out an assessment tool for this very thing so that you can understand a little of your own language. seriously, it's fun and it'll only take a few minutes.
for Wendy if you want show her love you need to do things for her, show in your actions and in your gifts that you have put some forethought into what you're doing to provide her with something that she likes or needs. for Wendy the phrase "actions speak louder than words" is a very powerful phrase that she relies on.
for Ian if you want to show your love for him you express it verbally or a simple touch is enough to reach him. my best relationships in life are those that encourage me, value me, protect me. my powerful phrase that speaks to me is "words are important".
doing stuff for Ian or giving him a gift does not reach his heart. saying "i love you" or "i'm proud of you" doesn't get nearly as deep into Wendy's heart as dusting the house would get. Ian is weak in Wendy's love language and Wendy is stronger in Ian's language than Ian is in Wendy's but it is still not as fluent in it as Ian needs.
it's frustrating. i don't mean to sound like i'm downgrading anyone's attempt to love the other because i do know that we love each other. it's just hard to speak in a second language.
there's also a language of apology that you can look into on the same link ... and of course i've learned that i naturally prefer an apology language that annoys the heck out of my dear wife. my thoughts when i learned this were "of course i'd choose the apology style that irritates my wife the most, that's just how my life has been going lately." pardon me for a second there, that's just my Major Depressive Disorder speaking.
there are ramifications for me across the board within this discussion ... like what do i do with friendships that feed me by speaking in my own love language? how do i learn to be more fluent in a second love language? i've often wondered what is with this deep inner need for affirmation, and i'm now realizing that is the way that i express love and that is how i want to be loved.
that's just a corner of my struggle.