The Five Love Languages Apply to Grandchildren Too

5 Love LanguagesAt a professional luncheon, a few years ago,  a new mother, a forty something marital and family lawyer, asked me if I had read the book by Dr. Gary Chapman, “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts.” Dr. Gary Chapman is a family counselor, radio host, associate pastor and author of several books.

Here is part of the review on

“Unhappiness in marriage often has a simple root cause: we speak different love languages, believes Dr. Gary Chapman. While working as a marriage counselor for more than 30 years, he identified five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. In a friendly, often humorous style, he unpacks each one. Some husbands or wives may crave focused attention; another needs regular praise. Gifts are highly important to one spouse, while another sees fixing a leaky faucet, ironing a shirt, or cooking a meal as filling their “love tank.” Some partners might find physical touch makes them feel valued: holding hands, giving back rubs, and sexual contact. Chapman illustrates each love language with real-life examples from his counseling practice.”

I had not known about the book, which is a perennial best seller.  Buy on Amazon.

My colleague explained that it would provide insight and assist in helping families, and she recommends it to her clients.  She said it identifies how people define love and what they seek from a partner, who may or may not provide what they need as affirmation of love.  It focuses on what the receiving partner needs as a demonstration of love, rather than what the giving partner perceives as giving love as a key to a good relationship.

See this website for descriptions of the five emotional love languages.

After reading the book, I agree with Dr. Gary Chapman and my colleague that knowing the love languages and applying them to adult relationships is important to maintaining a healthy relationship.  Although Dr. Chapman calls them “language” which we associate with words, they are important as they deal as much with actions, or silent words.

How important are these “love languages” to parenting and grand parenting too? I wondered how we, when we are parents, create and enforce these in our children. Are we, subconsciously emphasizing one love language over another based on our needs?  The “Focus on the Family” website gives a few examples related to children of all ages, although it says it concentrates on teens.

As a grandmother, I ask my grandchildren,”Who loves you? ” Of course, they say ” Mema.” I then say, “How much do I love you?”  They usually respond, “all the much.” I answer, “I love you to infinity and beyond.”  Why not get a good vocabulary word in! I never thought to go deeper into my Grandma expression of love, but it became something to think about.

I decided that I would ask each grandchild, “how do you know I love you?”

I was happily surprised that all four grandchildren, even the six year old, described four out of five to five out of five of the love languages in how I expressed my deep love for each of them.  Yes, it does confirm that I am an over the top grandmother.  I asked each which way they liked the most and which they liked the least.   This gave me the opportunity to explain the five love languages to them in simple terms, not the technical “Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.”

Why? This Grandma thinks knowledge is power, and where we can empower our grandchildren with knowledge, that is important.  I intend to repeat this exercise periodically as they mature, as I think that Dr. Gary Chapman’s theme is one that will enrich their lives and relationships.

Having healthy relationships at any age is important to a long and happy life, and I think we can let our grandchildren know about Dr. Chapman’s love languages at any age.

Also, we might want to share this post with the parents of our grandchildren.  After all, keeping the marriage of their parents strong is serving the best interests of our grandchildren.  Educating their own children about love and relationships prepares our grandchildren for life and healthy relationships and only strengthens the family.






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