Thursday, October 05, 2006

What Love Language Do You Speak?

I've never really thought much about this, but we cannot feel someone else's love. We can feel grateful or loving or joyful in response to something someone else says or does, but we are not actually feeling their love. We would have to be hosting their heart to do that. What does it mean then when we say we feel loved? It means we perceive that whatever that person has said or done is a demonstration of love.'s where we can get bogged down very easily. Because what represents love to one person means nothing to the next. Maybe you brought home flowers, and she didn't seem to care. Or maybe you gave him a warm hug, and he still acts distant.

Have you considered that perhaps your language of love differs from your significant other's? We naturally want to show our love for others in terms that we understand as love. But the person we are trying to communicate our love to may not understand that love language, and so they don't perceive the act as loving at all. We think they are rejecting our expression of love, when in truth, it is as if we are speaking to them in a foreign language. They can't receive the message because it is not being communicated in a language they understand.

The five love languages include physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time and receiving gifts. If you are not aware of this, you may be giving him gifts when what would really make him feel loved would be for you to iron his shirt. Or you may be cooking her gourmet meals when all she really wants is for you to tell her how wonderful you think she is. It would save us all a lot of heartache if we took the time to learn the love languages of others and to communicate our love to them in a way they understand.

This is true of our kids as well. If we help them feel fully loved, we are going to enjoy a much more joyful relationship with them and also help to insulate them against peer pressure and exploitation. Kids whose love needs are met at home don't have to go looking for love in all the wrong places. It's having a love hunger that never quite gets satisfied that makes kids vulnerable to anyone who will come along and offer counterfeit love in order to exploit them. I'm not saying this is the case every time a kid gets exploited. I'm saying having unfulfilled heart needs makes them more vulnerable to exploiters. We may not be able to make 100% sure our kids will never be victims, but we can take steps to make it less likely to happen.

Plus, we will have happier kids. And happier spouses or significant others or friends. Happy people are much more enjoyable to be around and their happiness contributes to an atmosphere of happiness wherever they go. It's a viral kind of thing.

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