Love Languages: By Default or Design?

What is Your Love Language?

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness, and affection.” — Brene Brown
Dear Heart Friend,
 
What would a perfect language of love in your life look like? What blocks would you need to remove in order to experience the love that may already be existing in your life? In this blog post and in the spirit of February’s designation as the month to celebrate love, I’m weaving into this series the important topic of love.
 
We all have a need to feel loved, to feel connected, to feel understood, and to be treated with integrity and respect. Even though we are in love with the idea of love, why is it sometimes so difficult to love or feel loved?
Personally, I am a romantic and love observing people who are affectionate and appear to be in love with each other. Yet, in his book The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman asserts there are 5 important expressions of love that people often overlook.:

The Five Love Languages

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

If you have been following my blog posts, you will recognize snippets I have previously shared regarding my 50+ year marriage and love relationship journey with my husband, Pres. In this post I am linking a synopsis of my experiences to Gary’s 5 love languages.

 My intention and hope are that the brief statements from Gary’s love languages along with snippets of our experiences may support you if needed, in consciously exploring love in your relationships in ways different from what the media or storybook fairytales might lead you to expect.

For those of you who knew us when Pres was alive, knew us as Pres and Candy, or Candy and Pres. While we were each other’s best friend, there were many times when our marriage was hanging together by a thread.

Please notice the timeline of my personal experiences is not chronological but offered in alignment with Gary’s love language list. Let’s get into it:

Words of Affirmation– Gary’ Chapman’s Examples (GCE):

“You look sharp in that suit.”

“Do you ever look hot in that dress! Wow!

“I really like how you’re always on time to pick me up at work.”

“Thanks for getting the babysitter lined up tonight. I want you to know I don’t take it for granted.”

Candy & Pres’ Experience (C&PE):

I was always quick to point out what was wrong first. Since I felt I was usually “right” I didn’t see a problem. However, over time I realized that it was driving a wedge within our relationship. I was “right”, yet unhappy.

Do you ever allow your need to be “right” override your desire to be happy?

Praying about the growing distance between us, I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me to express positive observations first. Duh! It was a wakeup call for me. Although it was in the ’70’s, I remember to this day the first time I consciously put this nudge into practice.

Pres had wallpapered the kitchen. The first thing I noticed was some of the patterns were not in alignment. Quickly catching myself and holding my breath, I complimented the beautiful work he had done, delaying mentioning the misalignment.

Over time as I practiced this concept of complimenting first— including some of Gary’s examples — I had an aha moment when Pres said to me, “I may not be that today, but if that’s the way you see me I’ll be that tomorrow.”  WOW! I got how powerful genuine praise and compliments are far surpassing the need to be “right”. Our relationship improved dramatically. While I was unaware of it at the time, I now totally get how this is one of the love languages.

Do you consciously use words of affirmation in either giving or receiving as your love languages?

Quality Time – GCE:

Giving someone your undivided attention means looking at each other and talking and listening,

C&PE:

Spending Quality Time
Spending Quality Time

With Pres’ sense of fairness and equality which was great in most situations, I found myself as his wife vying for his attention to be his number one priority. One of the meaningful processes with which we experimen-ted was dedicating a couple of hours each morning 3-4 days a week for a period of two months simply taking turns talking and being open and vulnerable with each other.

We learned so much about ourselves and each other just by listening without being defensive or trying to fix the other. Rather, we reflected the understanding of what we heard the other say.

We took long walks during our dedicated time to talk. Sometimes we would stay in bed sharing what we wanted from our lovemaking sessions. Other times it would be during breakfast or just sitting on the couch talking and deep listening. Our commitment to that quality time was another healing and deepening of our relationship. For me, it was definitely a love language. As it turned out, quality time became one of the valuable pillars in maintaining and sustaining our loving relationship.

What does spending quality time with a loved one look like for you? Is this your love language?

Receiving Gifts GCE:

You must be thinking of someone to give him or her a gift. The gift itself is a symbol of that thought, it doesn’t matter whether it costs money. Gifts are visual symbols of love. For some people without gifts as visual symbols, they may question your love.

C&PE:

Growing up I saw how much tension would be in our home if dad forgot to get mom a gift on special days, like birthdays, Valentine’s Day, etc. As a result, I determined when I got married to do it differently. Of course, in retrospect, I now understand that my mother’s love language was receiving gifts.

However,  in our marriage, we chose to remove all of the weight and proof of love on any special holiday. We began consciously gifting each other regularly if not daily with care and affection. While we joyfully received tangible gifts at any time, we especially enjoyed giving and receiving the invisible ones throughout the year. Receiving tangible gifts on special days was icing on the cake, not the cake. It was our language of love.

Do you receive and accept gifts as your love language? Is giving gifts also your language of love?

Acts of Service GCE:

Doing things you know your partner would like you to do and would please them.

C&PE:

Pres had a heart of a servant. He loved doing things for people that he felt would make them happy. It didn’t matter whether it was wiping poop from somebody’s butt or preaching from the pulpit, as long as he felt he was being of service. 

He loved doing little things for me like serving me coffee in bed, keeping the car in running condition, emptying trash/garbage, cooking, etc. We also served each other by supporting each other’s desires and goals toward ministry. These acts of service were truly our love languages for each other and for God.

Oneness
Oneness

Big or little, do you offer your acts of service as your love language?

Physical Touch GCE:

For some individuals, physical touch is their primary love language. Without it, they feel unloved. With it, their emotional tank is filled, and they feel secure in the love of their partner.

C&PE:

Although I was probably more of the touchy-feely person in our relationship, we both were feely touchy people. However, in the early stages of our honeymoon and simultaneous Christian experience (the ’50’s), Pres withdrew from being affectionate because he felt there wasn’t time for that “stuff”— as you might imagine, sex wasn’t included as part of the “stuff” category — since Jesus was coming soon.

We were baby Christians coming from a religious background where there were few activities that were not considered sinful. My dissatisfaction with our relationship grew to the point where I said to Pres that if he just wanted to have someone cook and iron for him he could have hired a maid cheaper than marrying me.

We began our journey of praying together. Pres reported that he got the message to “Listen to your wife.” As a result, we resumed our prechristian affectionate behaviors. Yes, touching and hugging remain as my primary language of love. I try to be respectful of those to whom touch is not their love language by asking if they give hugs.

Do you recognize physical touch as a love language you give and /or receive?

Unity’s poet laureate James Dilllett Freeman expressed this concept in his touching story of a woman in desperate need who went into a church to pray. She cried out, God, if there is a God, let me be aware of your presence. I need to feel you as a real, loving help in my life!” Just then she felt a hand brush her shoulder, and she burst into tears of joy and sprang up. When she turned around, she saw her friend standing behind her. She sighed. “I was praying to God to come to me, and I thought I felt his hand, but it was yours, wasn’t it?” Her friend looked at her gently for a moment as she said, “What hand did you expect Him to use but that which was closest to you?”

Under the many pressures of our lives, we can often feel resistant to letting everything else go, and just being fully present to another person. But when we do, when we are willing to take the time to really listen, hold space, pray with, and truly be with and accept another, we become more aware of what is really important, and what it really means to love in its variety of expressions.

We are all the hearts and hands of God’s love in expression. Be the love that you are and let all you do be done in love. 

I would love to hear your preferred love language, how you express or receive it.  Please feel free to share in the Comment Box below.

If you would like more personal support in discerning, redesigning and reshaping the path that is in alignment with your soul’s longing, you may contact me through the contact box below.

 As we know, we are what we think all day long. Let’s align ourselves with the Infinite Source of Life and let Life flow through us as right action and true expression.
 
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As always, on this site, there are, affirmations, and meditations to support you on your journey to self-empowerment.

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LOL  =  Lots Of Love

Candy 

Valentine’s Day Greeting

Dear Heart   Friend,

The Olympic event that took place in 1928 feels appropriate to share in this blog post, not only because of our current Olympic events in progress but also as a Valentine greeting. It is a brief story that displays an action of kindness and consideration that for some it is an expression of love. You decide.

“Henry Pearce of Australia was competing and leading in the single scull rowing event when a duck and her string of ducklings came into view up ahead. They were on a collision course and Pearce reckoned that his skull would cut the string in two and sink a few ducklings in the process, so he pulled in his oars. When the ducks passed, Pearce again bent his back to the tasks. There’s a happy ending to the story. Pearce won.”  — Bits and Pieces

Have a loving Valentine’s Day and as Mother Teresa advised, Do ordinary things with extraordinary love.”

LOL   =   Lots Of Love

Candy