Hopefully you all got to celebrate your love for someone special this February 14th. Whether it’s your spouse, your children, your significant other, or even just family or friends – taking time to express your love towards them is very important – not just in February but all year round.
We all know that actions speak louder than words. The words, “I love you”, are very important but even more so are the expressions that back the words up. I have found “The Five Love Languages” books, by Gary Chapman, extremely helpful in learning to express my love towards my husband and my kiddos in ways that they feel my love.
If you don’t know about the five love languages, the premise is that there are five primary ways that people can actually comprehend love. So, as someone who wants to show our love towards that person, we learn to speak their language so they can actually receive our love for them.
The Five Languages are:
- Words of Affirmation
- Physical Touch
- Acts of Service
- Quality Time
- Receiving Gifts
So in the vein of the Five Love Languages, as a wife and a mom, here’s a few practical ways I’ve found to demonstrate and express my love towards my family. They (like most people) all have a couple languages they comprehend but they all have their top. Important note: Even though everyone usually has a couple ways they experience love the easiest, it’s important that we demonstrate them all. Becoming fluent in all five languages will ensure that we love people well!
My husband: This man is a words of affirmation man all the way through. After 19 years of marriage, nearly the only thing he’s ever asked me to grow in, is with my words. I wasn’t brought up in a very affirming home environment (not a bad environment, just not one that majored on intentionally speaking encouragement) and not being a ‘words’ person myself, this is one that I’ve intentionally had to grow in ‘speaking’.
Daughter #1: This girl is a gifts girl. Buying things for her that let her know that I know her and that I’m thinking of her is a sure way to her heart. Bringing home a coffee with a note on the lid after a first breakup evidently was one of the most meaningful things I’ve done because a couple years later, she still has that coffee cup lid.
Daughter #2: This girl’s a little harder to figure out, because when she was younger, I’d say her top language was touch but now I think quality time means more to her. She was the only middle child for 9 years (and now is 1 of 2 middles) and, as a middle, your parent’s attention can seem hard to come by. Taking her to coffee and truly seeing her and listening to her makes her day.
Daughter #3: Maybe it’s because she was the baby of the family so long or maybe she was just always wired that way but acts of service is the winner with this one. Coming to her when she needs something, instead of having her come to where I am helps her feel loved. Helping her clean her room, bringing her a snack – anything that involves being a servant to her – helps this one know I love her big.
Daughter #4: This one’s interesting because she’s only three years old. At this point in her little life, I would say she is a words of affirmation receiver. It’s important to gush all 5 languages on littles (well actually everyone) and seeing what they respond to most will help you know which one you should be the most intentional about. Daughter #4 loves being told she’s done a great job or that I’m proud of her for helping out.
And me, like my oldest daughter, I’m a gifts girl. It’s not so much the gift as what the gift says to me, you were thinking of me and took the time to express that through a gift.
What is your love language? What about the people closest to you? Become fluent in the languages of love!
***Author’s note: Beyond the first book “The Five Love Languages” (which is primarily about husband and wife relationships), Chapman has released books geared towards parent/children relationships, general friendships, working relationships, singles relationships…. all excellent help!