Have you heard of the book – The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman? Whether you’ve been married for 15 years or 15 minutes – this is a must read. (There’s even a book for kids!) I’m a big fan of the Five Love Languages as I find them so helpful in learning how to love effectively.
The Five summarize how we feel loved and appreciated. It’s a how-to-fill-your-love-cup-so-that-it-runneth-over guidebook, if you will. Who doesn’t want to have an overflowing love cup?!
One love cup is not always filled the same way as another. Different personalities require different ways of communicating love. By understanding your partner’s and your children’s love language – you can fill their love cup to the brim! Dr. Chapman lists five: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch.
Love Language #1: Words of Affirmation
This is my son, Logan, without a doubt. He seriously preens like a peacock when we give him words that build him up. Unsolicited compliments mean a lot to this love language. It gives the reasons behind your love versus just that standard “Love you!”
Try: Say something like I’m so proud of you! OR I appreciate how hard you work so I can stay at home with the kids. OR I love spending time with you. OR I’m so impressed with how hard you ran in soccer!
Words, when heartfelt and sincere, are powerful!
Love Language #2: Acts of Service
You know the saying “Actions speak louder than words”? If you live by that motto then this is your love language.
Acts of Service is my husband’s secondary love language. And man, I struggle with it. I’m not programmed to DO when I think of loving him. But it means the world to him to come home to a house clean of clutter (hard to do with three young boys – but I try!)
Try: Have your spouse’s coffee ready-to-go in a travel mug before they leave for work or fill their gas tank if you happen to be out and about. But be careful! If an act feels more like an obligation – that love cup is going to be mighty empty.
Love Language #3: Receiving Gifts
Now we’re speaking my language. I LOVE GIFTS. I love reasons to receive (and give!) gifts: anniversaries, birthdays, Wednesdays. You name it. I love it.
This language isn’t necessarily materialistic – a concept non-receiving gift lovers may struggle with. It’s more about being meaningful and thoughtful. When I was heading to a job interview I was super nervous about – my husband put a post-it note in my car wishing me good luck. I laughed when I saw it and, of course, I felt so loved by him and his note.
Try: Leave a sweet card in your spouse’s work bag for them to find. Surprise your kids with a Target run to pick out something fun in the dollar spot.
Love Language #4: Quality Time
My secondary language. For me, I just want my husband’s attention. I want him with no distractions. My son, Cooper, is big into Quality Time, too. Simply sitting with him and coloring a book does the trick.
Try: Make cookies with your kids or take a weekend road trip with our spouse.
Be careful! If you cancel a date, postpone an outing, or stare at your phone – it can empty that love cup in an instant.
Love Language #5: Physical Touch
Nine times out of ten this will be a male’s primary language. It is for my husband. There have been times when we’ve been strangers in the night (see this post!) between work and kids – we realize we haven’t even kissed hello! It’s not all about sex (although my husband wouldn’t say no!) It’s simply about touching. A handhold, a kiss on the top of the head, a hug, a back scratch.
My youngest, Beckett, is a cuddler. He loves to sit on laps and hold hands. I LOVE that this is his love language. He’s still young, so this could change. But I’m going to enjoy it for as long as I can!
Try: Cuddle on the couch and add a foot massage. Hold hands whenever you have to walk somewhere.