So I decided to apply the love languages to #1 and #2 for identifying what would fill their emotional cups. I learned a long time ago my language and before marrying my husband I learned his. Having a professional background in counseling has definitely helped my marriage (and a few of my friends). The love languages was introduced to me by an amazing friend by the the name Dave (Hi DVH!). We worked together and used to have a blast facilitating our couple’s workshops years ago. If you haven’t heard of the love languages by Dr. Gary Chapman (you’ll thank me later), here’s a quick description of them.
- Touch- hugs, hand holding, being close in proximity, rubbing, feeling (non-sexual)
- Gifts- receiving items from others that are reflective of you
- Quality time- giving someone your undivided attention and spending time with them
- Acts of service- doing things for others and helping them (cleaning, cooking, folding clothes)
- Words of affirmation- showering words of praise, encouragement and appreciation upon a person
Now you may be thinking that this is easily identifiable in someone, but it’s not. A lot of us give others our love language. For example, my youngest son is always touching, rubbing or feeling on my arms, legs, back or hair. When he was smaller I would call him my little spider monkey because he would climb all over me. This is fine for me because my love language is touch, but there are times when I’m not in the mood for being touched by my child. So, I had to come to understand that he is only giving me what he likes to receive from me. Upon realizing this, I began INTENTIONALLY giving him what made him feel loved. I’ll rub his head when he’s sitting by me, or I’ll hold his hand while we’re walking. I’ll even snuggle with him when I’m relaxing on the couch or bed. This is important because I’m filling his emotional cup and letting him know that he is valued and appreciated by me.
Now, my oldest son was a bit more tricky to figure out. It was only this year that I realized that his love language was acts of service. Every day this kid would get in trouble for taking forever, and I mean FOREVER for coming out of the school at pick-up time. I would ask him daily what was taking him so long, and it always involved helping someone or doing something for someone. Every day he would be at least 10 minutes late to the car while his brother and I waited for him. So one day, I completely snapped after standing outside in the bitter cold waiting for him to come outside. I was more upset at the fact that it was so FREAKING cold than I was with him being 10 minutes late. After calming down, I finally realized that he was doing for others what he enjoyed receiving in return. Again, that whole notion of giving others our love language instead of their love language popped into my head. This realization made my life a bit easier at pick up. I had to explain to him that it was nice of him to help others; however, it should not be a daily task for him. We had to create some parameters on how often he could be late to the car. I had to help him understand that his being kind to others led to his brother and I just sitting and waiting on him, which wasn’t fair to us. He’s slowly but surely getting it, but more importantly I GOT IT!
So I challenge and encourage you to identify the love languages of your loved ones because it will make a world of difference in how you interact with them (friends, kids, spouses, significant others). Remember, you are to give them what makes them feel loved and not what makes you feel loved. Once you master their language you will see a difference in them and you. Good luck!