A Little Love... The Five Love Languages

by Janet

Do you melt when your sweetie unexpectedly gives you flowers?  Or, would you rather he emptied the dishwasher or bathed the kids at the end of a long day?  Do you love cards and notes of appreciation, or does holding hands make you feel all warm inside? 

According to Dr. Gary Chapman in The Five Love Languages there are five distinct ways that we all (adults and children alike) like to be loved.  These include:
  • touch, 
  • quality time, 
  • gifts, 
  • service and 
  • affirmations. 
Personally, I like affirmations, followed by acts of service.  Love notes and gifts are nice, but honestly, they just don't "do it" for me.

Not sure what love language you prefer?  Wonder what language your spouse or children "speak"?  Take one of the following quizzes to find out:
Knowing what love language the people close to you prefer helps you better meet their needs.  Their "love buckets" (as my sister used to say) become full, and they have the reservoir of good feeling they need to love others and make it through the tough times.  It may not feel natural at first to love others in ways that wouldn't be our own first choice, but once we do, and they feel loved more fully, our relationships deepen and become even more rewarding. 

And, after all, isn't that what we want most for our selves and those we love?
{Click "read more" below for Love Language specifics!}

Here are some specifics on ways to express each of the love languages to your children.

Physical touch is the easiest love language to use unconditionally, because parents need no special occasion or excuse to make physical contact. Those who speak the love language of physical touch need more touching, but all children need the hugs and caresses of adults to feel the truth of “I Love You.” Some fathers withdraw from hugging and kissing their teenage daughters, feeling that it is inappropriate at this stage. In fact, just the opposite is true.

In communicating love, words are powerful. Words of affection and endearment, words of praise and encouragement, words that give positive guidance all say, “I care about you.” A child reaps the benefits of affirming words for a lifetime. Conversely, cutting words, spoken out of short-lived frustration, can hurt a child’s self-esteem and cast doubts about his abilities. The tone of voice, the gentleness of mood, the ambiance of care all communicate emotional warmth and love. In two-parent households, the parents should encourage one another; if you’re a single parent, have trusted friends or relatives who will bolster your spirits and energy.

Quality time is a parent’s gift of presence to a child. They feel truly loved because they have their parent all to themselves. This does not require that you go somewhere special. Quality time is focused attention. It means giving a child your undivided attention. It will mean a sacrifice of you and your time. Quality time should include pleasant, loving eye contact. This is mostly needed by the father in the home. You schedule other people and things into your calendars, why not your children?

For parents to truly speak-gifts- the child must feel that his parents genuinely care. For this reason, the other love languages must be given along with the gift. The idea behind this is that if the gift is deserved, then it is payment. A true gift is not payment for services rendered; rather, it is an expression of love for the individual and is freely given by the donor. A child who doesn’t feel truly loved can
easily misinterpret a gift, thinking it is conditionally given. Giving gifts has little to do with the size and cost of the gift, but has everything to do with the love given with it. Do not shower a child with gifts trying to substitute the other love languages! Too many gifts make them loose special meaning, and the child becomes emotionally dead to receiving gifts.

Parenting is a service-oriented vocation! Don’t mistake it for acts of service. We serve our children, but as they are ready, we teach them how to serve themselves and then others. Acts of service can become
a model for your child’s service and responsibility. Don’t view acts of service as a way to manipulate your children! The ultimate purpose for acts of service to children is to help them emerge as mature adults who are able to give love to others through acts of service. This includes not only being helpful to cherished loved ones, but also serving persons who are in no way able to return or repay the kindness. Your children need to see in you the traits you want them to develop. You can teach them by example to show concern for others.

Next time...  Activities to Build Positive Feelings in your Family


Scarehaircare said...

Interesting. For me, physical touch and Acts of service were tied with Affirmation coming in a close third. I was taking the test for myself, but the questions made me think of how I act towards Mr. Wonderful and come up with ways to change for the better.

Good food for thought.

Senja said...

This is one of my favourite books of all time. I try to give it away as a wedding present as this is soo valuable. I should read it again!

Anonymous said...

I asked my husband about his love language... sex... and time... mostly sex. umm, ok, good to know.

Somer said...

I had my older two girls take the test for kids and I was only a little surprised. They definitely have different ways of feeling loved. It was fun to see.


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