February. The month where LOVE is celebrated more than any other time, right?
Valentine’s Day is all you see in the stores the day after Christmas. The candies, chocolates, flower bouquets, and of course the must-have cards for everyone from your significant other to the kids in your child’s classrooms and play groups. It can be a bit much. Not to be a debbie downer, but it can feel SO over-rated. I think you either love V-day or couldn’t care less. Or maybe you don’t care for the consumerism, but wouldn’t turn down a box of chocolates or caramels if they were bought for you. 😉
February is a month of love for ME, because it is the month I had my first date with my husband. We then married on our one year anniversary, so forever a month of love it will be!
When I think about relationships and marriage, something that ALWAYS comes to mind are the 5 Love Languages, by Dr. Gary Chapman. Most people, I assume have heard of them; but if you haven’t go to www.5lovelanguages.com and have a gander!
My hubby gives me the eye roll every time I mention the love languages, because it is usually when I am trying to plead my case about something. Our love languages are very different, which is not surprising as we are polar opposites. However, I think there is a lot of value for communication in not only your marriages, but for all of your relationships, and, equally importantly for understanding and relating better to your children as well.
What are the 5 Love Languages in a nutshell?
Words of Affirmation- Saying I love you or giving a compliment speaks volumes for this one. Words hold immense value, and negative comments or insults really do harm.
Quality Time-Basically, giving undivided attention makes this one feel loved. Talk can feel cheap if not backed by action. Having distractions, postponing dates, failure to listen can be super hurtful. Being in the moment with this person is crucial.
Receiving Gifts- Meaningful and thoughtful presents makes this person feel appreciated and most loved.
Acts of Service- Actions speak louder than words in that being shown appreciation by doing favors makes this one feel valued and loved. Creating more work for this person can really be off putting. For instance, if your spouse makes sure the dishes are done and put away at the end of the day and they come home to a noticeable mess in the kitchen, that may cause a little stress. . . .
Good Physical Touch- Holding hands, a hug, a quick kiss, an arm around the waist, etc., make this person feel safe and loved.
Every relationship can benefit from being fluent in ALL of these Love Languages. Even though these are brief descriptions of each language, you can probably figure out which one or two you MOST relate with, and those that describe your significant other as well. Chances are they are different. This is why it can truly be valuable to your relationships to understand at a deeper level what not only makes YOU feel loved and appreciated, but what makes your partner feel that way as well.
I know that Acts of Service and Words of Affirmation are what REALLY let my husband know that I am thinking of him and love him. If I go out of my way to do a chore that is normally his, or write him a note that tells him how much he means to me, that I appreciate his hard work or how he is such a good Daddy, or I give a compliment, etc., he feels valued, loved and it means the world to him.
My love languages are Quality Time and Physical Touch. One of my most treasure times of the day is when the house is quiet and my hubby and I can just talk about the day without any of the distractions of work, chores, little people, technology- just US. I feel connected and loved when I know he is listening to my thoughts and we are having good conversation. I love the simplicity of just sitting next to each other on the couch, or holding hands, but I’m not gonna lie, a back rub is DEFINITELY the way to my heart! 🙂
Back to the eye-roll that I get when I bring up our love languages; mostly it’s in jest, but there is also a LOT of truth to is as well, so it’s a no brainer that a smirk from me will always accompany his eye roll. Nine times out of ten, it is when he is doing a chore (Acts of Service) that I am telling him can wait because I want to just talk and hang out (Quality Time). He tells me, I am doing this NOW so that we can do THAT later, whereas I will ALWAYS procrastinate a chore to spend time with him. SO you can see how that silly conversation may go 🙂
It was during one of these moments a while back that I starting thinking about how love languages most definitely can translate to our children, and how if we learn to speak THEIR language, we can improve our relationships with them as well. (Come to find out, Dr. Gary Chapman now has a host of Love Language books that cover Singles, Children and Teens. . I guess it’s been a while since I read the original or had thought to look up the book!)
My child is very young, so examples of the Love Languages for that age range will be different than an older child or a teenager.
Words of Affirmation that I have used are “I am so proud of you”, “I believe in you”, and for instance, when we were at a class a couple weeks ago; ” I saw you picked up the ball that another boy had dropped and you handed it to him. That is SO nice that you think of others!” (This is definitely one my child speaks. His eyes light up and he beams when he is acknowledged for doing something kind or given a compliment. Words are VALUABLE to him!)
Quality Time could be a simple as including my child in chores, watching his favorite shows, making eye contact and asking what the favorite part of his day was.
Gifts- Keeping a sticker chart for an accomplishment and then reaching the goal could make receiving a gift something special. Or, if Daddy is out of town and mails him a special gift to show that he is thinking of him- that is a fun way to show love.
Acts of Service- Taking time to fix or change a battery in a toy so that my child can play with it, or making a special meal per his request and/or with his help, are easy ways to show he is important and loved.
Good Physical Touch- Holding my child on my lap while reading a book, high-fives for a job well done, and extra good night hugs and kisses from mommy and daddy are all things that make my little one feel safe and loved.
One could say in these cases that the little things ARE the big things. I believe any avenue that helps us connect to and communicate better with those we love is of value. I hope you found something new to think about in this post!
It doesn’t take too much effort to learn to speak the love languages of those we care about; just a little thought and consideration.
What love languages do YOUR families speak?