Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How Do You Spell "Love"? - Part 3

Beginning September 15 and ending December 25, we celebrate 12 family birthdays (including Baby Jesus!).  That's a lot of gifts!  There are big people gifts:  gift certificates for dinner out.  There are little people gifts:  hockey sticks and Polly Pockets.  This is a natural way for us to express our love for our family and friends.  And of course, our kids love to get gifts ... it's in their genes to want goodies!

While it's true that we each enjoy to get a little something wrapped up in paper and tied with a bow, for some people this practice of giving and receiving gifts is how they say and hear "I love you".  Today we will learn about the fifth love language according to Dr. Gary Chapman's "5 Love Languages":  Gifts.

For my husband's mother, gift-giving is most assuredly her love language.  She has a wonderfully generous heart and we are regularly blessed by her giving heart.  When we visit their home, the kids often find little treasures on their pillows ... coloring books, little Lego sets or crafts.  For birthdays and Christmas (and Easter and even Halloween) she often sends cards, goodies and the kids' favorite:  cash! :)  Even Brett and I get spoiled by her generosity ... thank you, Mom, for sharing your love with us!

In the same way, she truly enjoys receiving gifts ... whether it's a picture from Ashley for the fridge or a weekend with her kids ... she experiences love through gifts.  She appreciates the sacrifices made when a gift is given to her ... making it all the sweeter.

My sis-in-law is also a gift-giver.  She loves to send hand-made cards to everyone on her list and she has an extensive list ... and an enormous family!  This is her love language ... little gestures of love and affection in each card made and sent.

Be careful to not confuse this love language with the love of "things".  It's not materialism, it's love shown through frequent little gifts.  When someone with this love language receives a gift, they feel loved because they were thought of when that item was purchased, found, chosen.  It's not being caught up in gift itself, but the love behind the gift.  Be mindful that a missed birthday or anniversary can be devastating for someone whose love language is gifts.  That old adage, "It's the thought that counts," doesn't count here! :)

Now you might be thinking, "My kids love to get stuff!"  Keep in mind that while kids love to get gifts, not all kids experience love through these gifts.  For a child whose love language is indeed gifts, you might find that they have several precious treasures that they have on display in their rooms and they can remember who gave it and when and why.  They have a lot of feelings tied up in that gift.  For them, these gifts speak loudly of your love for them.

Now to review the 5 Love Languages:
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Physical Touch
  • Acts of Service
  • Gifts
So ... which are you?  

Still not sure yet?  

Think about what energizes you, what excites you, what fills your heart.  

Think back over the past month:  What comes to mind as a time you felt loved?  
What happened to make you feel that way?

Think back over the past month:  What comes to mind as a time you felt invisible and unappreciated?  What happened to make you feel that way?  

Both should point to your love language.  

Still having trouble?  Check out Dr. Chapman's site and take one of his assessments.  These will help you to discern your primary love language.

Now do you know? :)  Great!  Take some time to communicate this discovery to those around you ... fill them in on how they can fill your love-tank.  It's a win-win situation:  you feel loved and your friends & family don't have to guess!

But it doesn't stop here.  Now take time to study your family and friends.  You know the five categories and you can observe those around you and I'm sure that with a little studying you will soon discover each of their own personal love languages.

Once you figure out your friends, kids, spouse, parents, siblings, co-workers's up to you to love those around you in their own personal love language!  Be Cinco-Love-Lingual :) Trust me, it's worth the work!


Of course, if you still need more information, there are two books by Dr. Chapman:  The 5 Love Languages and The 5 Love Languages of Children.  It's all the info you need to know how to love well! :)

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