“All you need is love,” so the Beatles lyrics tell us. What the song doesn’t tell us is how to get the experience of love.
Words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch – what do they have in common? They are all languages of love.
Dr. Gary Chapman is a pastor & marriage counselor with over 35 years of experience and as the author of The 5 Languages of Love he has done some awesome decoding of love’s languages. Until learning about The 5 Languages of Love, I had been stumbling & struggling to find ways to love my daughter that succeeded in her experiencing my love. We both knew we loved one another fundamentally, yet too often, we both had experiences of feeling unloved by each other because our respective behaviors didn’t speak to each of us in the “love language” we desired.
Here’s the juicy part! When I discovered that one of my daughter’s primary languages of love was, “acts of service” I had the passing thought, “game over for me.” You see “acts of service” didn’t even show up for me as a love language I converse in readily, easily or frequently.
Flash forward to painting her college bedroom with her, and yes, it happened because I was committed to her having an experience of my love for her. I’d been practicing being conversant in her love language for a while, after getting over my awkwardness in doing so and getting on with loving her.
Afterwards she said to me, “Mom, throughout the year I will walk into my sunny bedroom and feel uplifted and cozy. It will be a sanctuary for me that is what you’ve provided for me. She got to feel that I loved her. The bonus was that ordinarily she doesn’t converse in “words of affirmation” my primary language of love, yet here she was pouring out what I so longed to hear. I got to feel that she loved me. Win-win!
Interested in simple, practical, and effective ways to have your spouse, child and others experience that you love them? Can you imagine what your life would look like when the people you love experience your love in a way they’ve always wanted to?
Let me help you discover or become more skilled in understanding your child’s primary language of love, and while we’re at it, maybe your parenting partner’s as well by booking an hour and a half session with me. Just go to our counseling page.
In the comments below, we would love to hear from you about a time when you hit a home run and delivered to your child in his/her love language. Or you can comment on what you imagine would be your child’s love language and why. Being conversant in these love languages helps us be better parents. Just to review, the love languages are: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch.
Be as specific as you can in your comments. Concrete examples of how you behaved, what you said and what you did and the effect this had on your child help us all learn and prompt us to be more creative.
Thank you, as always, for reading and getting engaged in the discussion!
By Jill Valenti