“Love is a verb.” ~ Gary Chapman, Five Love Languages
Do you know anything about love languages or thought about their importance in understanding the significant people in your life – your family members, friends, coworkers, employers, employees, and how best to serve them?
Take the brief Love Language test if you’re interested in discovering your love language.
Which one is yours?:
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch
A clue to figuring out which is yours is to ask yourself how you express love to others. That’s probably where you’ll find the answer.
I sat in the driveway and pressed the heels of both hands into my eyes as hard as I could to stop the tears. Problem was I couldn’t stop my heart from reminding me that it wanted to be heard and the tears were its voice. There was no way I could go inside unless I could pull myself together. I knew what I felt and why, but those feelings would be a burden if shared, out of context, in the middle of an ordinary day.
My daughter and I had been enjoying each others’ company as we drove down the winding road through the woods and along the beach on our way home. We were listening to music from her collection and she said, “Listen to this, it’s from the funeral. His brother is in a band and wrote this for his brother after he died.”
She went on as I melted into the music: “His dad and this brother built his coffin that morning. Then the roads were closed and they carried it one last time down Water Street (the name of the song) to bury him next to the church a few hours before the funeral.”
The feelings were intense. They always were.
Twice more that same day I tried to share what I was feeling, but I kept getting choked up as the images of a young smiling blonde-haired boy with a big smile morphed into a coffin resting on the shoulders of family and friends being carried past mourners and anchored boats in the quiet harbor.
What was it that I was really experiencing?
When someone says goodbye or dies, who they are smacks me hard in the face and heart. I see and feel them completely.
That’s what I do all the time. Not a day passes without those feelings.
Noticing people and understanding them – their thoughts, feelings, and life, is my love language.
How I love other people - listening, observing,and understanding them, is what I really want done for me. I’ve learned to channel that emotional need of mine into family history – service for other people for whom really paying attention to and valuing a deceased ancestor or distant living relative doesn’t come naturally. It’s a perfect fit.
Learning someone else’s love language is a little it harder.
“I’m bored!” was followed with a lot of crazy behavior that was getting my little boy in a lot of trouble. I’d provided him with books, crayons, paper,and toys but nothing stopped the whining. I couldn’t stand it any longer because it didn’t make any sense. What did he want? It didn’t seem healthy to keep providing ideas and props to entertain him. That wasn’t how I grew up. I always found things to do.
I had to leave the room ’cause I wasn’t reaching him. As I passed him I spontaneously grabbed him and started tickling him. After about fifteen minutes of chasing, screeching, and writhing on the floor, we ended and I sat back down, out of breath.
“Thanks for playing with me! “my son said from across the room with a huge smile.
Wait. Wasn’t that what I was doing before? Apparently not.
Was it really that simple?
Listen to what Gary Chapman says:
“When a child really feels loved, he will develop normally, but when his love tank is empty, the child will misbehave. Much of the misbehavior of children is motivated by the cravings of an empty love tank.”
Doesn’t that make a lot of sense?
Later that night he was watching tv with me and leaned in and gave me a hug. “I’m the best boy,” he whispered to me.
“How do you know that?” I asked.
“You told me.” he answered as he stared straight ahead. Yes, I had told him that many times. I didn’t think he’d heard me. But he had. He just never believed me.
I guess he just needed to be tickled….
What if you watched people to discern their love language so that you would be able to communicate your love for them them in a way that they could feel and understand?
What if instead of buying your significant other jewels (Receiving Gifts) you knew they’d rather have a back rub (Physical Touch)?
What if instead of remodeling the kitchen for your mom (Acts of Service), you perused her scrapbooks and photo albums for an afternoon here and there (Quality Time)?
Wouldn’t it be fun to try and figure it out?
I dare you. Whadya say?