In the area of linguistics, there are major languagegroups: Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, English, Portuguese,Greek, German, French, and so on. Most of us grow uplearning the language of our parents and siblings, whichbecomes our primary or native tongue. Later, we may learnadditional languages but usually with much more effort.These become our secondary languages. We speak andunderstand best our native language. We feel mostcomfortable speaking that language. The more we use asecondary language, the more comfortable we becomeconversing in it. If we speak only our primary language andencounter someone else who speaks only his or herprimary language, which is different from ours, ourcommunication will be limited. We must rely on pointing,grunting, drawing pictures, or acting out our ideas. We cancommunicate, but it is awkward. Language differences arepart and parcel of human culture. If we are to communicateeffectively across cultural lines, we must learn the languageof those with whom we wish to communicate.In the area of love, it is similar. Your emotional lovelanguage and the language of your spouse may be asdifferent as Chinese from English. No matter how hard youtry to express love in English, if your spouse understandsonly Chinese, you will never understand how to love eachother. My friend on the plane was speaking the language of“Affirming Words” to his third wife when he said, “I told herhow beautiful she was. I told her I loved her. I told her howproud I was to be her husband.” He was speaking love, andhe was sincere, but she did not understand his language.Perhaps she was looking for love in his behavior and didn’tsee it. Being sincere is not enough. We must be willing tolearn our spouse’s primary love language if we are to beeffective communicators of love.

~ Gary Chapman