Exploring the 5 Love Languages
Not only do the 5 love languages help me to love my husband better, but they also help me love my children better, too. Each person has a primary love language that we must identify to help them feel loved. Usually you can identify a person’s primary love language by how they like to show their love to others. Of course, each person needs love in each of these ways, but we have a definite primary love language too. I think I have a child who fits each one of these languages. It is good to review the love languages every now and then because it is easy to get lazy in loving those around us.
A lot of people thrive on physical touch. I had one child who sat on me or right beside me on the couch at all times. He was glued to me. I have a large personal space and prefer to have a distance between me and the people around me. However, identifying and knowing this child’s love language helped me to put his needs above my discomfort and enjoy our “cuddle” time together. A pat on the shoulder, a hug, play fighting are all ways to touch the person who needs this. A baby will often settle down just by being picked up. And of course our spouse needs us to spend time holding them and touching them.
Sometimes my kids can be annoying asking and asking me to buy them things when we’re out shopping, but understanding that this is probably their primary love language helps me to reach out to them. This one is tricky for me because I don’t want to give them something every time they ask. I don’t want them to learn to be greedy but I do want them to FEEL loved. If this is their primary love language, this will be the main way in which they feel loved. I also have to keep a balance between all of the kids, making sure that one child doesn’t get more than another. So sometimes I will buy a small gift for each of the kids as a reward for a job well done, or allow them to choose on thing each when we’re at the Dollar Store or the corner store or from the canteen after skating or soccer. I just don’t do it often. This way they see it as a treat and a gift rather as their right. I also have a houseful of kids and it isn’t economically feasible all the time either. A gift doesn’t have to cost money either. Maybe it’s just giving someone the last piece of cake, or giving them your necklace that they’ve always admired, or cooking them their favourite meal, or a card marking a special occasion or even no occasion at all.
WORDS OF AFFIRMATION
I used to think that my husband’s primary love language was receiving gifts because he’ll often buy gifts and treats for people, even when there is no occasion to. Knowing that people reveal their primary love language in how they show love to others, it made sense to me. However, I was wrong. My husband’s primary love language is words of affirmation. He needs to hear what a great job he’s doing, and what a great guy he is, and he needs to hear it on a regular basis. I am now convinced that when he gives a gift it is not only because he sees a need that can be filled, but he also because he needs to be thanked and appreciated for his effort. He has learned a way, albeit unconsciously, of fulfilling his own need of being affirmed. And now that I know his secret, I can do it too!
Some people just need us to spend time with them. No amount of buying them great gifts, or sending them lovely messages telling them how much they mean to us, or even a quick hug will help them to feel loved if they just need us to spend time with them. Finding the time to watch a movie together, go for a walk together, make a craft together, read a book together or just sit together laughing and chatting will go a long way in showing these people just how much we love them. In our busy day to day lives this can be difficult, but it will help us as much as it will help the other person, because we also need to relax and focus to build a relationship properly. Sometimes it’s as easy as shutting off the tv or turning away from the computer and listening to the other person. You will both benefit from the effort.
ACTS OF SERVICE
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is my primary love language. My husband washing the dishes for me fills me with the warm fuzzies and lets me know how much he appreciates me. I have been know the cry when one of the kids clears the table for me without asking. I love to do things for others. However, I have to be careful, especially when it comes to training the kids. I find it easier for me to wash the dishes and do other household chores myself than to get the kids to help me. I get frustrated when other people, especially the ones I live with, don’t do their chores when asked or even the fact that they have to be asked to do what I consider common acts of courtesy frustrates me. I have to guard against getting discouraged and realize that it isn’t malicious intent that causes this but usually just forgetfulness or an inability to see a need and fill it. It is part of my job as a parent to teach these things to my kids. I like to help anyone, even a stranger, with an act of service. Yesterday I delivered the newspapers for one of the kids who was sick. We were also in the middle of our first winter storm. Afterwards I was able to shovel for a neighbour and help another neighbour whose car was stuck in the snow at the end of their driveway. I was happy that I had a chance to serve in these ways. It made me feel good as well as helping people who had genuine needs. I struggle with some of the other love languages at times, but this one is easy for me.
What is your primary love language?