GeneralInspirationMarriageMothering

How Do I Love Thee?

I love my husband, with “the breath, smiles and tears of my life!”

That said, a big part of our relationship, has been learning to understand what each of us wants out of our relationship and out of life in general, and in coming to understand the many ways that we are different!

It takes work and conscious effort to create a thriving relationship. {Yes, that’s an understatement!} But more importantly, the truth is, that it is worth every effort and every minute we spend in that creation. {Another understatement!}

Marriage is really an evolutionary experience of great personal growth that can begin with the question: how does the Golden Rule work for us? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you..” except what if you each want different things or to be nurtured in different ways?

Early on, 33 years ago, it became apparent that I couldn’t just close my eyes and ask the age-old question, “if I were in his shoes, what would I want?” and then act accordingly. We simply have different perspectives and different needs!

I thought for a long time that the major learning curve was just a matter of coming to understand the differences between men and women. And while that is an important piece, it is more than that too. (For some comedic relief on that topic, see the video at the end of this post!)

Over the years I have come to the conclusion that it is equally important to reach an understanding of how each of us as individuals, receive (and therefore want to give) expressions of love to each other.

So, if we change the emphasis, we have a new and equally enlightening question: how do I love thee? Beyond the how we love and how we want to be shown love, is the question of how our loved one best receives our love!

Which is the basic premise of Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Language theory. Are you versed in his love language idea?

If not, or for a refresher if you are, here are the five languages Chapman identified and wrote about in his book, The Five Love Languages:

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

Out of these five ways to give and receive love and caring, which one do you desire to receive the most? Which one do you usually want to give the most? (Yep, that’s the rub! We often assume that our family members want to receive in the same ways we do!)

On the spot, do you know how your spouse would answer those love language questions?

As I’ve been thinking about them myself;

1 I’ve wondered how well I know the languages of my spouse and my children.

2 And if I know their languages, am I speaking them loud and clear? And often?

3 And, I’ve asked myself if I have identified and communicated my favorite language to them as well?

So, I’m challenging myself to take a little time this weekend to ask a few questions that might lead to greater understanding of how I can help others feel my love…by learning and then speaking their love language more consistently.

I heard a wise woman say recently that,

true love is irresistible.”

I believe that and and would add that it is important to know how to communicate our love to those people who rely on us and who matter most in our lives, in the ways they will hear it the best.

I have read over and over again, that when people are at the end of their lives, and they make a final analysis, there isn’t anything they regret more than spending too much time at work and not spending enough of their lives with their loved ones!

Oh, these relationships are a big deal aren’t they? But, we don’t need to be overwhelmed by that thought, because we know the secret sauce to nurturing a family! That is that: the little things are actually the big things!

It doesn’t take much to say “thank you” or “you’re most welcome” or “you’re the best!” (Especially to someone who thrives on words of affirmation!)

It doesn’t take much to run an errand (service), give a hug (physical touch), listen to a child (quality time) or bring home a cookie or a flower (receiving gifts).

And it will make our relationships sing when we can learn to give in the ways that are most meaningful and native to each family member, and when we delight in graciously receiving love in the language we know and love the best.

May your hope smile brightly! Your smallest efforts not only count, but make all the difference in the world!

Love,

“The mission of Lioness at the Door is to uplift, strengthen and encourage women of all ages to magnify health, hope and happiness at home. We do so boldly, with humility and gratitude for the opportunity.”

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