Dr. Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages has been a bestseller since 1992. Chapman, a marriage counselor, believes that everyone has a preferred way to give and receive love.
Because every virtue is an aspect of love, I looked for a virtue that fits with each love language. Here’s what I found, with an example of how Jesus practiced each “virtue language.” I hope it inspires you to “speak love” in new ways.
Words of affirmation
Affirmation is the most-often-desired of the love languages. And no wonder. Our confidence can take a hit by anything from a bad hair day, to job loss, to the sudden illness of child.
That’s why sharing the virtue of Hope is so important. Hope reminds us that we are created in love and are destined to be loved forever by Love Himself. A priest said, “God loves you through and through. And you can’t change that.” That’s the eternal “word of affirmation” we can share with each other every day.
“I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world (John 16:33).”
If quality time is sharing of ourselves with a loved one and supporting them in their pursuit of happiness, Friendship is the virtue that speaks love language #2.
Friendship is rooted in our love and friendship with God. Because of that friendship, we can connect with each other in authentic love that strives to help the other grow in holiness.
“Early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, and all the people started coming to him and he sat down and taught them (John 8:2).”
Acts of service
The third love language puts love into action. True love yearns to pour itself out in merciful acts.
The virtue of Mercy speaks the third love language. Mercy is helping someone in their spiritual or material need. Like remembering an uncle with a phone call on his birthday, or offering to babysit while parents enjoy a date night. Or inviting a friend to dinner during a rough time, just to listen.
“Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted (John 6:11).”
Our body is integral to our humanity. Jesus himself took on human flesh, in part to show us how important and holy our bodies are. Bodies give and receive the gift of touch, which communicates love in a unique way.
St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that the virtue of Charity (love) overflows from our mind to our bodies – that our bodies share somewhat in the happiness we have in being loved by God. Through chaste touch, we communicate our solidarity with others’ struggles and our desire to stand with them through good times and bad.
“He took the child by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha koum,’ which means, ‘Little girl, I say to you, arise!’ The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around. [At that] they were utterly astounded (Mark 5:41-42).”
The thought and effort that we put into choosing and presenting a tangible gift speaks the fifth love language.
The virtue of Beneficence (doing good) enables us to give something that is enduringly visible in the loved one’s life. A token of friendship keeps on giving as it reminds them of our love. Giving gifts is a way of prolonging the language of love in time – a reminder that we have listened to their desires and cared enough to offer our love in a concrete way.
At Bethany, Jesus was the recipient of a precious gift.
“A woman came with an alabaster jar of perfumed oil, costly genuine spikenard. She broke the alabaster jar and poured it on his head. There were some who were indignant. ‘Why has there been this waste of perfumed oil? It could have been sold for more than three hundred days’ wages and the money given to the poor.’ They were infuriated with her. Jesus said, ‘Let her alone. Why do you make trouble for her? She has done a good thing for me. Amen, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed to the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her’ (Mark 14:3-6; 9).”
Our personal language of virtue
Do most of us have one of these languages that we prefer and maybe one that we aren’t much interested in? For me, affirmation and physical touch are important, while receiving gifts is less important. Some people love receiving gifts, but don’t like to be touched. I want to pay more attention to others’ preferences (which we can tell by the way they express love) and do better at sharing Jesus’ love in the way that the wonderful people in my life can best receive it.
Scroll down and share how you’ve noticed different love languages in your life.
Blessings on your Birthday, the feast of the great St. Ignatius of Loyola.
May Mary cover you with her mantle of love and intercession with her
Son on this day in a special way.
May God Bless you, your husband and your neighbor on your birthdays! May you have peace and happiness all the days of your life! Thank you for all you do to bring us closer to God!!!
Thank you, Marleen!
Happy Birthday this week!
I found this comparison very helpful. My preference is to express my love through acts of service.
Glad this was useful, Sharon Ann!
I thought you would be Beneficence
for this beautiful writing is certainly a gift . My sister pointed out to me that I am words, so I might have to go with affirmation which makes sense when converted to the virtue of hope. This writing is a keeper! Thank you for sharing your time, research, and thoughts in your writings. May your birthday include a special gift of Jesus blessings. Clare
Thank you, Clare!
Thank you Rose, this is beautiful! And may the good Lord bless you and Fred on your birthday and Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola with hope, friendship, mercy, charity, and beneficence all the wonderful days of tour lives, especially Friday!!! ❤️ Thank you for all you show us, all you share, and your service to Christ!
God bless you, Diane!
3. Acts of service
When I joined RCIA in 1999 on my way to becoming a Catholic I asked a friend if he would be my sponsor. He replied “Sure; when do you want to start?” I’ll never forget what he said and how he said it. He was ready to serve. I think he was the personification of Matthew 26:40 “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”
A man of action! Thanks for that, Tom.
Happy birthday, Rose.
I really liked this virtue language list. I think I enjoy a few of these languages. I am a ‘toucher’, I believe that is a gift for me the giver and for the receiver (at least I hope they accept it as a gift). I certainly love to serve at my parish and in the community (service is a gift), and I try to give compliments often – they surely are morale boosters (and if they help someone through their day, that is also a gift). I have to work on the quality time though – everyone is so busy.
Happy Birthday Rose, and for your husband Fred and your neighbor too. Happy Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola.
Thank you for helping us with the virtues. I feel blessed by it.
Thank you, Maria. So good to see you at the gathering last night.
Thank you Rose for this wonderfully inspirational message. Wishing you, your husband and friend an abundance of our dear Lord’s Blessings on your Birthday and throughout the coming year.
Happy Birthday to all 3 of you, What could be better than sharing your birthday with you loving husband and of course you r neighbor too?
Many blessing on your specila day and many more