The Five Love Languages: Love Across Cultures


Love languages can be as different as English from Chinese. But what if people are trying to show love to someone from a different culture? Can they learn each others’ love language?

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Transcript


Voice 1  

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Colin Lowther.

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And I’m Liz Waid. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1  

Learning a language is not easy. That is because a new language is not just learning words. It is a different way to see the world. Gary Chapman says that learning to love someone is just like learning a language. He wrote the book, The Five Love Languages. In it, he says,

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“Your love language and the language of your husband or wife may be as different as Chinese from English. No matter how hard you try to express love in English, if the other person only understands Chinese, you will never understand how to love each other. We must be willing to learn our husband’s or wife’s love language if we are to be good communicators of love.”

Voice 2  

But showing love between husband and wife is not the only love people show. People can show love to parents, children, friends, and co-workers. Sometimes it is easy to show love because you all speak the same language. But what about showing love when the person really is from a different culture? How do you show love to a person whose culture may be completely different than your own?

Voice 1  

You may have heard our series about the Five Love Languages. This series was based on Gary Chapman’s book “The Five Love Languages”. Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages has been translated into 50 different languages. It has sold millions of copies all around the world. Today, we look at using the five love languages to show love across cultures. Here are the five love languages.

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The first love language is Kind Words of Affirmation. This is when one person says kind and true things about another person.

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The second love language is Quality Time. This is spending time together, talking and listening carefully to what someone says and means.

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The third love language is Receiving and Giving Gifts. Gifts of love are personal, thoughtful, and often given in a special way.

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The fourth love language is Acts of Service. This is when one person helps another person with their work, such as cleaning, fixing, or cooking.

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The fifth love language is Physical Touch. This love language includes sexual touch, but also holding hands, touches to the face, or sitting closely together.

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However, there are billions of people on the planet. Can all ways of communicating love be reduced to only five ways? Steph Koyfman writes for the language learning website Babbel. She wrote about how acts of service can mean different things in different cultures. In the U.S., people may perform an act of service for an individual - just their partner. But, she says,

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“In cultures that are more family-centered, an act of service could involve doing something for your partner’s mother or father. This shows your wish to participate in your partner’s family life.”

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People from different countries also understand physical touch differently. Many people from Asian countries like China, Japan, or Korea, do not quickly show a lot of physical touch. Or they keep touch only for close family. However, people from countries like Spain, Brazil, or France may show love often through physical touch. Of course, remember these are general differences. Individuals in any country can be different.

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Even Chapman does not believe the Five Love Languages explain all the different ways people show love. He spoke to the website HealthyWay.com. He said,

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“In the Spanish culture when you greet somebody you might kiss them on both sides of the face. Well, we would not do that in US culture. It is physical touch, but it is not a particular expression that we would use. So I think there are other dialects in all languages. And I would not even be aware of what many of them would be. However, the five languages do seem to be part of human nature. And, so, they make sense in all the cultures in which the book has been translated.”

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People are moving around the world for school, work, and travel. What should people do when they meet someone from a different culture and they fall in love? Will the love languages work for them? The point of the love languages is not that they were for all people everywhere. Alexis Dent wrote about the Five Love Languages for SELF magazine. She wrote.

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“Love is more than a feeling, it is a choice. Good relationships take work. It takes effort for me to remember that I should not give my partner kind words when he is sad. I should love him the way he wants to be loved, which is through physical affection. And he has to do the same for me. These changes are not always easy. But they make our relationship stronger, better, and more loving. It is all worth it.”

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And there are some things to remember as you communicate love across cultures.

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First, learn each other’s actual spoken language. This can be an act of love. It will also help you understand how to love your partner better.

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Second, be patient. There are going to be surprises. There will be hurt feelings. Try to see these as a chance to learn. And ask a lot of questions. If you do not understand what your partner means, ask them to explain. They may not be able to explain because it may just be how they understand the world.

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Third, celebrate the good things about love across cultures. Celebrate the different traditions, foods, and experiences. A relationship across cultures has many challenges, but it also has many special parts.

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Finally, talk to each other a lot. Every relationship needs respect and communication. Use Chapman’s Five Love Languages if they are helpful. But do not expect everything to be perfect. A good relationship or a strong marriage is about having a safe person to let you be yourself. This is true even if you are still learning and discovering who you are.

Voice 2  

What is your Love Language? Have you ever had to show love to someone in a different culture? How did you do it? Tell us about it. Be sure to listen to the other programs in this series about the Five Love Languages. You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also comment on Facebook at Facebook.com/spotlightradio.

Voice 1  

The writer of this program was Adam Navis. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom and the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘The Five Love Languages: Love Across Cultures’.

Voice 2  

Visit our website to download our free official app for Android and Apple devices. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

Have you ever had to show love to someone from a different culture?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
Honneur
said on October 07, 2019

Paul Francis Webster wrote the lyrics of the song “Love is a many splendored thing”, and I think such a feeling with so brightness can’t be defined with only five forms. Love is the most powerful feeling and it can move the complete universe.

Severino Ramos da Silva's avatar
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on October 09, 2019

From .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) ( Severino Ramos )
To spotlight program
Subject to answer the question below
Location São Paulo city SP Brazil
Wednesday 09, October 2019

Dear Liz Waid, Adam Navis, Michio Ozaki, and Colin Lowther

Thank you for producing more one great article for us.
Question 1 - Have you ever had to show love to someone from a different culture?
Answer 1 - No, I have not.
Your regards,
God bless you
Severino Ramos
Brazil

Avatar Spotlight
Lan Can
said on October 11, 2019

Sometimes love doesn’t need any language but the lovers still understand each other. It is a magic of nature.

Avatar Spotlight
Sumudu
said on October 12, 2019

Thank you so much for giving us these kinds of valuable programs, in fact, it’s true. the feeling of real love can be understood by these five love languages that’s why I have the experience about this love because I’m having a love like that she is almost from deference cultures with deference language but these languages help us to understand each other completely it’s just like a magic on earth it can not be defined what we feel each other