Did you ever have a moment when you realized the stories you tell yourself about who you are no longer hold true? I recently read the book The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. In the book, Chapman describes the five essential ways humans communicate and receive love based on his experience as a couples counselor. Chapman surmises that in successful relationships, partners communicate love using the language their person would most understand. Knowing whether your partner receives love through physical touch, acts of service, words of affirmation, gifts or quality time is integral to maintaining a successful partnership. Conversely, not knowing or ignoring a partner’s love language leads to anguish, grief and misunderstandings.
The idea of love languages has become a bit ubiquitous in the public lexicon. After reading the book, of course, I decided to take the accompanying online quiz to determine my love language, and a curious thing happened. Based on my responses to a litany of hypothetical scenarios about whether or not I’d prefer a partner to do this over that… I was told by an Internet database that my love language is physical touch. When I read “physical touch” next to my name, I was more than surprised; I dismissed it as wrong.
Being told I receive love through physical touch disrupted the story I’ve told myself for years – that I’m not a “touchy-feely” person and I don’t need coddling or petting; I’d prefer someone pick up my dry cleaning to show me they care. While I wanted to categorically deny that my love language could be physical touch, I had to consider that the love language quiz unearthed an intuitive calling within me for more closeness and intimacy.
I concede that as I’ve gotten older and entered my 40s, an alchemic change has occurred, which has left me wanting the closeness and safety required to accept touch. To be clear, I’m not asking more people to touch me. I’ve developed slightly moderate germaphobic anxiety, given the pandemic reality of our world today. Instead, I invite the divine to introduce me to the one who will know my love language and treat it as a secret code only perceptible by the two of us.