with James Ballard
February 16, 2021
My husband joins us for the first time to discuss love languages and how we can recognize it in our marriage and relationship around us. If you don't know your love language and your families, check out the free quiz at www.5lovelanguages.com and start understanding your own needs and those around you!
Love Languages With James Ballard
The Mom Training Podcast with Diana Ballard
Diana: Ladies, I have a special treat for you. This is our first man on The Mom Training Podcast. Say what? [chuckle] Guys, my husband is going to join us today and I'm so, excited about it. Because we're going to talk about love languages today, and this is something that has definitely helped our relationship, and help us understand each other better, understand ourselves better. So, we're going to share kind of how we use the love languages literally, like all the time. In a lot of conversation, communicating with each other, conflict management, and everything like that.
If you've never heard of love languages before, it's by a man named Gary Chapman. He has a website - 5LoveLanguages.com. You can definitely check him out. And if you have not heard of love languages before, it's physical touch, quality time, service, gifts, words of affirmation, highly powerful ways of being able to show love to your loved one or receive them yourself.
I'm super excited to talk about this with my husband, and how you guys kind of chime into our conversation here. So, James, I wanted you to share… I know you had a really interesting experience when you went to a conference, lately where you talked to a man that had no idea about these love languages at all.
James: Yeah. Thanks for introducing me, Diana.
So, I'd gone to a kind of professional training event and one of my… I found kind of like a group to share the room with so we can split the hotel bill. One of the guys came in, and you could tell he definitely had something going on. A few question prompts about how things are going on, and he quickly kind of shared his story which boiled down to his wife had taken his kids and had left, leaving him like a note or something like that.
Basically, I think he had been married seven years, had either three or four children. He was a chicken farmer. And it was just a heartbreaking story because when we were talking with him, he’d said, “Well, she'd been complaining for years”, that they hadn't been connecting, that she hadn’t been feeling love from him.
And as soon as the conversation went to that, I asked him, “Well, have you been speaking your love languages?” And he'd never heard them before in his life. So, I briefly explain, like here's the website and I sent it to the 5LoveLanguages.com, because they have a quiz there. He took it really quick. And then he did it for his wife. And you could just see this like, “Aha”, fireworks going off, and he just… He almost broke down into tears because, he said, “I realized I have never spoken her love language to her, our entire marriage, I have only done mine.”
And so, that's where… Because I have some experience with… I got my Bachelor's in Counselling, and I've worked with an outpatient psych clinic. I had to explain to him like, when people are like that, when you speak the wrong love language, it’s like two ships passing in the night. Even though one's talking and trying to connect, nothing’s happening, nothing’s going on there.
So, yes, this is just why it is important know each other’s love languages. And Diana and I, we’ve had this conversation pretty early on about what are our love languages is. We took the quiz so we could know each other's…
Diana: And how do you feel that’s helped us? [chuckle]
James: Yeah. Well, first of, I feel, one of the biggest things that it's helped us with, is just to know how to speak to each other. As with this story with this young father that I met at this event. He had been telling… He been showing he loved her for their entire marriage, for like seven years, how he wanted to be loved. And it did not enter in. She did not receive it. He said, “Yeah, she's always saying like I don't really care about her even though I'm doing all these things for her.”
I think his love language was like I think gifts and words of affirmation, and more hers was like, quality time and touch, or maybe his was touch. I can't remember exactly but… So, he was doing… I think, no. I think his was touch and gifts, and hers was words of affirmation and quality time.
And that was the big problem, as a chicken farmer he was super busy, so he never gave her quality time and he wasn't really like built her up verbally, even though it was a negative. And he just realized she never felt loved because he never spoke her language.
Diana: Ouch. [chuckle]… Yeah, I mean we can see how that would be really hard.
One of James’ main love languages is physical touch, and I mean I love snuggling, and I love being close and holding hands or whatever, but that is not my first thought when it comes to… [chuckle]
James: As in physical touch was like your third or fourth one down. I think it was much lower on the scale of three.
Diana: I mean, I don’t need physical touch like you need physical touch.
Diana: So, he'll come up and like, I'm like doing the dishes, and he's like poking me and tickling me and like kissing all over my neck or something. And I'll be like, “Dude, I’m trying to finish the dishes.”
Luckily, because we’ve had this conversation about love languages, he's like, “Honey, I’m just needing some like…”
James: She’s phrasing this very kindly.
I come up and basically, pester her until it registers, either on me or on her that I, “Oh, honey, I think I need some physical touch here.” And literally, it’s only been this couple of years that it's registered, “Oh, when I'm pestering my wife, it's because I’m wanting physical attention.” It's kind of a joke. [overlap talk] now.
Diana: But I appreciate so much that he reminds me of that, because I mean, literally, I'll be like, “Oh, oh, thank you for reminding me.” And like I instantly start the back scratch.
James: Which is glorious… If your husband has physical touches a love language, this is key. Just a nice good back scratch, seriously.
Diana: Right. Yeah, and like, just it's so, interesting, the differences. Because even like getting in bed, like I get in my comfortable position and then he's like an octopus [chuckle] snuggling up against me like, “Uh woah, okay. Hey, how’s it going?” And I have to remember, that physical touch is one of his, and like that’s something that brings him joy, and he feels loved. And I literally, it just doesn't cross my mind.
It's definitely not one of my top, like I don't need it, the way that he needs it. And so, me knowing that this is his love language, I can reciprocate that and it literally is like going out of my way. Like sometimes to like make sure I'm like touching his arm or touching his leg, or, rubbing his head like when he's falling asleep, or just reaching out…
It's not my natural, like way of doing things.
So sometimes, our love languages might… Giving someone else our love languages might not be something that we're used to, or, is natural for us.
James: Comes naturally to us. Yeah. I actually had to point out to her that, I think our son Mike has the same, because he'll come and be pestering and like yanking, and tugging on hands, whatever. Like, “Honey, I think he has physical touch as a love language too.”
But I must say, that octopus snuggling is proven by science, it helps release endorphins, oxytocin also. If you're fiercely struggling, it releases more oxytocin.
Diana: [chuckle] Ah… Oh, my gosh….
James: I'm just saying.
Diana: Ridiculous. But I love you.
James: But one point that's also actually, as she kind of touched on, that I want to also follow up with, is why it's important to know your own. Because we found that is… Like Diana has had to say, “Honey, I need some quality time”, or “I need, like, my service love languages, is not really being hit.” Like, whether I'm too busy working on the projects or something and she reminds me and I know that's what I need to do.
And she's always very appreciative and you can tell it really hits home. It sinks deeply into heart. She comes alive, her eyes sparkle, all the fun stuff of like when I do the love languages that strike her heart. I guess one way that I've always thought of love languages is that they're kind of like, there's a house, and you're trying to go into the house or things are trying to get into the house but there's windows and doors that they can go through. And if you're doing love languages that are not theirs, it's hitting walls. It’s like a straight shot. But if you hit the love language, it like a door straight into the heart.
It really means something. And it's how you help somebody feel like you really care about them. So, honey, did you want to add anything? Or should we dive into these love languages.
Diana: Well, I just have to say like, I know that like me, knowing my own love language is like really important. Because I'll be like, “Why am I so mad? Why am I upset that he's working on something else?... I’ve been fine for days and then all of a sudden, I'm like, “I need you right now.”” And just being able to have some insight into myself, being like, “Oh, oh, I haven’t spent quality time with him in the last five days.” And I've been fine for those many days but I need to spend some quality time so, then I am able to effectively communicate that, instead of just wondering why the heck I'm upset.
I mean it's just really helped me a lot and realizing that him helping with the dishes, either me asking or him doing voluntary… Listen, when he does it, like voluntary, I'm like, “Did you do the dishes for me? Oh, my gosh! like I have like the most amazing husband in the world! I’m just so overjoyed, I can't even believe it.” And it’s just a sink full of dishes. But service is one of mine.
So, it's really something that can be so simple. It's like the back scratch or the doing the dishes or spending five minutes a day being like, “Tell me about your day”, and, “Oh, I just…” Being able to spend some quality time and be listened to.
But yeah, let's jump into the different love languages, and kind of share, like some things that we've learned in there…
James: Yes. Sounds like fun. Alright, first off is, quality time. Okay, Diana, this is definitely yours. Tell us about this love language and what’s significant about it to you.
Diana: So, quality time, and I'm just going to explain how I understand it.
James: Obviously, you can go to the website and you can look these up to kind of get more in detail descriptions of them, this is just we're sharing our experience of the love languages, and how they connect for us.
Diana: Yeah. So, quality time is a one-on-one time. If there's like group events, we have a lot of parties in our house, we like to have dinners and people over, and everything. Now, that is fun and it’s spending time with people, but the things that really matter to me is when like I'm being paid attention to, like 100%. When it's like, “Hey, I really want to hear what you have to say.” What's important to you, what you did today that you felt good about, what are you thinking like stuff like that. And, listening, like a scheduled hangout.
I have a friend that we have a scheduled phone call every week that we talk, that's quality time. And we each get a time to share our things, and it's an uplifting conversation. Or being like surprise like, “Hey, I've taken an evening off, I would love to spend it with you. Are available?” or, “I've planned this date, we can go out and do something special.” Like this is quality time.
Those are a couple of examples of what quality time looks like. And I'm going to throw in an example of what might rub a quality time person the wrong way, is if someone's like constantly distracted. Say, they're watching like a TV show or playing on their phone or like doing something or like interested in something else when you're really wanting to spend time with them. That’s definitely something that if you're finding there's friction, at all in your marriage of like, “Hey, can you just stop doing that for a second, and spend time with me.” That could be like a good flag that you might have someone in your relationship, that wants quality time.
So, why don't you tell them about physical touch because that’s yours.
James: Okay. I've noticed this and I've heard this from various points and I'm pretty think our situation’s common, where one love language is higher on the scale than another. And for me physical touch is either one or two I can't remember which. But it's definitely higher than Diana's. And so, for me, I've noticed that in some relationships, it's not always equal. I can only imagine a relationship where two people have physical touch as their top priority; must be very touchy feely or I don't know…
Diana: They make lots of babies.
James: They maybe or something, because there must be lots of touching. But I’ve heard from other people where it's like, “No, my husband's low on the scale for physical touch.” “My wife is high”, type of thing. But for me it's kind of like, I guess you could say, the more the better, but only when I want it, which is weird. It just comes in spurts. For me…
Diana: Something like pinching your butt, that doesn’t do anything for you?
Diana: Like when you're doing the dishes or…
James: Exactly… Yes.
Diana: Focusing on something, really?
James: Yeah… Yes… So, for me it's usually a gently touch like a back scratch. One thing I realized, say, were like sleeping in bed and she reaches over and like a toe, and touches me with it, I’m like, “Uh…” My little heart goes pitter-patter.
It’s like, “Yey!"
Diana: Oh, my gosh.
James: I think what’s stands out to me is when I know that she has gone out of the way to touch, to just – a pat on the back, aback scratch, a thoughtful arm rub. Whatever it is, to me that's what I find is most meaning full for me with physical touch.
Obviously, power snuggles at tonight. We just love lots of snuggles and the more contact the better and then all is well.
Diana: [chuckle] Yup. And that's why we have four children, ladies and gentlemen. I’m pregnant with number four… I’m just kidding. [laugh]
Okay so, service. This is definitely one of mine.
James: Yeah. this is definitely one of yours.
Diana: Like willing assistance, surprise help. Like I said, when he is like, easing my responsibilities like by surprising me with it… And I’ve hit gold, I'm telling you, with my husband. Like he’ll be sweeping the floor, or helping to put things away, like even without me asking him. Or we have worked out like, some evenings he’ll watch the kids, and he’ll also be in charge of the kitchen on that night. And like how much load that takes off of me, just to help me with like something that would probably take half an hour or like an hour, or like with the kids involved it might take me a longer time in between helping people
But to just have that little bit of help, man that takes such a load off of me. That makes me feel so loved and encouraged. Like it almost reminds me of like words of affirmation type thing of like, “I can do this. Like, wow, I have a little bit of help. Like it kind of, just takes the load off. Like I'm capable of being able to do this and that really helps me.”
The service is bringing someone a treat. I guess that could be gifts too. But like bringing someone dinner. I love bringing people dinner because that's one of… Serving people, so, I bring people dinner all the time even when they don't need it. Like I love giving little old ladies dinner. I'm just going to say that. I wish I knew more, little old men, but I just don't. I just know tons of little old ladies, because their husbands have died which is so sad.
So, that is a way you can also recognize, someone that has like the love language of service, is someone is constantly wanting to serve other people, to do other things.
James: Yeah. That's actually one point I wanted to make, and I might as well do it right now, is if you have somebody in your relationship who seems to be making a lot of effort to connect with you but it just doesn't seem to be connected. It's probably because they're speaking to you in their love language, not yours. Whether it's a husband, or a spouse of any kind, or like a family member or parent, just realize they're probably speaking to you in theirs.
Like I know people who have gift giving as their love language, and boy, do they give lots of gifts. And I’ve realized, “Oh, I need to make efforts to speak back to them in their love language, in order for this to be kind of a reciprocal healthy relationship”, which…
Actually, just before we forget, there's two more love languages; we don't want to keep this too long. So, let's do words of affirmation and we’ll touch on gifts last.
James: So, for me words of affirmation, is when somebody gives a heartfelt sincere thank you, or a sincere compliment. People will compliment and it can feel like wrote, but when it's sincere and heartfelt, you can feel it. And that's really impactful for me, I mean, words of affirmation I think kind of, if you are very impacted by words of affirmation, or sorry… If you were very impacted by affirmations in general, then words of affirmation are probably in your love language.
And if you’re not feeling… If you rank highly, you probably need some more verbal encouragement. And so, yeah, talk with family members about that, and say, “Hey, I need some more verbal affirmations or verbal words of affirmation to…”
Diana: Well, and I know for me with words of affirmation, I probably said that as my third. Words of affirmation is like when I'm having a hard time, or like, I’m needing to verbally process some frustration, the biggest thing that helps me in that moment, one is to listen to me. If I just need to kind of vent a little bit, like get out some frustration and try to figure out a solution.
But if someone's like, “You are completely capable of doing this like, I don't know why you're tripping. You can totally do this. You've conquered things far harder than this, and you know that, so why don't you stop with this discouragement stuff and just step up and do what you've done before, which is conquer things.” Now, those type, when you're struggling or you're frustrated, to have someone remind you of your wins or remind you of like, “Hey, you can totally do this”, and like mean it. Maybe they've known you for years, man, that's some powerful stuff.
So, if you have someone in your home, whether it be you or your spouse, a kid that really feeds off of positive things that you say, then you could have someone in your home that's words of affirmation. We're talking about these love languages, not just for your spouse or yourself, but your kids as well. I realized, with my daughter, like quality and service…
James: Yeah, she blossoms underneath them.
Diana: I mean, “Can we go on the Mommy Day? Can we go on the Daddy Day? Is it time yet?... Can we spend special time together, can we get dressed up and go and have fun?” And literally, it could be like driving around the block… “Oh my gosh, this is a mommy day, you're taking me to dance.” It's really important to know these love languages for your family, because again, if you're not speaking them, or you’re speaking the wrong one, they might not feel loved.
James: Yeah. And at least for me, I've noticed with my kids, when I hit their love language, there's a special response that comes out of them. Like they light up a lot more than normal. They really respond to it. They start talking back, like Olivia's really good at that. When we fed her with affirmation, she'll do the same back like, “Mommy, you’re the best.” Or, “Daddy, you're just the best.” And it's really sweet and tender so, I really think this is as much as important for kids, as for your spouse.
Diana: Right… Let’s touch on gifts.
James: Yeah… So, this isn't really high for me and I don't think it's very high for you.
James: But I do know I have a tiny bit of surprises. It doesn't really have to be a big of a surprise but…
James: Yeah, food mostly.
Diana: I literally… Hold on… When I go to an event or something and I'm coming home, I literally know that if I wrap something in a napkin from my [chuckle] from like whatever, the dinner they made for us or there was like appetizers or anything. Literally, if I bring him home, just even like a little surprise from a food…
James: She was thinking of me, and it makes me warm and fuzzy inside.
Diana: I mean, ladies, there are not many men who don't get excited by a surprise food. Especially, something really tasty. I mean literally, like two bites of a sandwich. [chuckle]
James: It’s true.
Diana: I mean literally, like, “I saved you two bites”, which two bites of a woman sandwich like two-woman bites is one man bite. So, I mean he scarves that thing in one… But he has a nice bite of something tasty.
James: Yeah… Yes, it was.
Diana: So, yeah, some of them likes surprises, is definitely love language of gifts. Someone that’s always giving gifts, someone who’s like buying stuff or sending you stuff in the mail that’s definitely someone who has a love language of gifts.
James: Yeah. I’m remembering now, I do have one friend, and I know for a fact, gifts is his love language. Well, he is more of an artistic soul… Not more of an artistic, he is definitely an artistic soul. And he loves gifts of meaning and that are very sentimental or just have meaning. I remember his apartment was filled with just like a hundred-year-old tiny bible that was illegible, that was somebody’s great grandparent’s. To them it was trash, but it was like just a really old bible and they just felt he would like it, and appreciate it. And sure enough, he did. Even though he's not Catholic, he had like an old Catholic little fold out shrine thing. I can’t remember what…
But he just loved the history, and he loved that somebody gave and shared this something that was important to them, that they loved him enough to share it with him. And that's, I think, it's kind of like the key, at least that I've seen of the gift giving love language. It’s that just, it was meaningful to you, and that you show them or you explain to them why it was meaningful, and you’re wanting them to have it now too.
And so, I think that's for those who are gift givers, and gift receive… Love to receive gifts, I think that's definitely part of that whole equation of gift giving.
Diana: I have to say though, that if your love language is not gift giving or service, or quality time, or affirmations, or anything like that, you still need to be sensitive to if people are showing their love language to us, like say, someone’s giving lots of gifts, or maybe yours isn’t affirmation or touch… Like octopus hugging you is not like [chuckle]…
The biggest, bucket filling thing like it's not like it's bad, but it's not exactly what the person needs… To be sensitive to that and communicate. If you're not getting your love language from them, you just need to communicate with them, so that they can realize, “Hey, I’m needing a little bit of this too. Like I'm totally fine giving you… Like receiving and giving this love language, but hey, I need this too.” But being sensitive to people that might love a little different than you.
James: Yeah, and I also think it's important to remember that - just if you have the capacity to appreciate somebody else speaking to you in their love language, even though it might not be yours, if you have that capacity, use it. Leverage that because even though they might not be speaking to you, you can still appreciate that they're making an effort, and that they're really trying to do something for you. Like they're trying to speak to you in their love language.
Diana: And that’s why it’s so important to be intuitive and have a little bit of insight into these love languages, so that you can be able to actually be like, “Oh, okay. This is what they're doing.”
James: Oh my gosh, my husband’s been hugging me. “Stop touching me.” … Oh, this is his love language. He’s trying to express fondness for me, or express he loves me in a physical way…
Diana: Or need. Just… Yeah. So, I think that the love languages are almost crucial, and…
James: They are. They are.
Diana: In relationships in general, with everybody around us.
James: Yeah. There's definitely things… So, overall, I would just encourage you, kind of I always like to give challenges, if I'm giving a lesson or something along those lines. Take the quiz with you and your spouse, or just go to the website and look it up again. It's 5LoveLaguages.com and see if you're missing somebody's love language. See if your ships passing in the night, and that you need to try to speak each other's love languages better.
I can promise you, from that story, I remember he just goes lightning struck, and he got it. He realized why his marriage had been failing. Because he'd never spoken his wife's love language in seven years. And so, I encourage you. Don't let that happen to you or your family because it's definitely helped us and I'm sure it will help you.
Diana: Yeah. Totally.
You know, James, this has been really fun. [chuckle]… This was actually his idea, you guys. He's like, “Hey, well why don't I do an episode with you?” I’m like, “That would be awesome.” So, James is great. I’m so excited that he’s joined us. I’d have to have you again.
James: Sounds good. Sounds good.
Diana: So, ladies, go to the 5Lovelanguages.com. Take the test for you, maybe even your kids, your husband.
James: Or have him take it for himself.
Diana: Yeah. Definitely. Figure out what those love languages are in your home, and I guarantee it'll create a lot more harmony in your environment.
So, thanks for tuning in today and we'll see you next Tuesday in The Mom Training Podcast. And if you've liked having James on here, give me some feedback, and maybe we'll have him on a little more often. So, see you next week. Bye.