Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Day 11 - Learn to love others the way they want to be loved

In the spirit of Valentine's Day yesterday I thought I'd write a post about love. Love languages to be exact.

Have you heard of Love Languages? The 5 Love Languages is a book that first came out in 1992. It describes various ways that people can experience love. They are:

1) Quality Time
2) Physical Touch
3) Acts of Service
4) Words of Affirmation
5) Receiving Gifts

Any idea what your love language is? If not, the authors of the book have a website with a variety of assessments you can take to determine your own love language. Here's the kicker though: Your love language may be different than your spouse's, kids, parents etc. So while it's important to know your own, in some ways it's even more important to know the language spoken by those around you.

For example, I have a friend whose love language is receiving gifts and words of affirmation. She loves to receive something beautiful as well as read a thoughtful card. She appreciates tangible expressions of love that have clearly been given a good amount of thought and consideration. Her husband is different. He prefers acts of service, meaning doing favors/projects for people as an expression of love.

In the first few years of their marriage, my friend was often disappointed. She didn't get the cards she hoped for on Valentine's Days or on her birthday or other holidays. Her husband didn't pay attention when she mentioned little items she hoped to receive one day, least of all actually buy them for her later. Instead his cards were brief and his gifts were few. As you can imagine, this lack of understanding of one another made for some disappointing holidays. What they both didn't realize was that for my friend, even a well-thought-out card, with no gift, would have meant the world to her. It's a simple gesture but for her very special. But her husband treated her as though she would respond favorably to acts of service, which was really his love language but not hers (not that those gestures aren’t appreciated of course).

So they each missed the mark a bit.

Have you learned the love languages of the people you are close to so you can respond in a way that is most meaningful for them? The first step is to take an assessment and figure out your own. Then talk to someone you love and find out theirs. Trust me, they will thank you for it!

See you tomorrow!

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