The language of love

Many years ago, I read a book about love languages. The basic premise was that people give and receive love in 5 major ways:

  1. Quality time.
  2. Acts of service.
  3. Gifts.
  4. Words of affirmation.
  5. Physical touch.

I wrote my love language in the order I like to receive love. It’s complicated though and sometimes I wonder if I unconsciously avoid receiving love.

For example, quality time is the number one way to show me love. However, even though I am currently not employed, I have a long list of things I need to get done every day. I am not the type of person who will drop everything to sit and talk to you. In fact, that rather annoys me to be interrupted while I am in the middle of something.

I leave the ringer off on my phone. I avoid answering calls. I will only answer texts between tasks. One might ask if I really enjoy quality time. If you catch me early in the morning while I am having my coffee or late at night when my chores are done I will gladly spend time with you.

Let’s talk about my second love language, acts of service. This is also complicated. I never ask people for help. If people jump in and help me, it bothers me if they do it wrong (i.e. not my way). I also hate to sit and watch someone else do my job. If you do your job then I feel like it is really not an act of service for me. Again, I am refusing to be loved.

I prefer to show people I care about them by doing acts of service. I would gladly work my fingers to the bone to show people I love them in this way. But no one in my house really feels loved in that way. It’s frustrating.

My husband is a words of affirmation guy. I am horrible at this. It’s pathetic really. I have been blogging for 4 years now. Unless I am on vacation, I have consistently wrote at least once a week since then. I don’t seem to run out of things to write about, but somehow can’t think of any encouraging things to say to him.

My husband’s mother was great at encouraging words. His mother really didn’t have much to offer. She was an uneducated single teenage mother who struggled to make ends meet. Yet she told him he could do anything he put his mind to.

I, on the other hand, struggle with affirming words to say. I am the ‘good job’ type of person, not the “I’m so proud of you for building a successful business out of nothing” type of encouraging.

It doesn’t come naturally. Encouraging words seem in-genuine. You see, I’m not really sure that you can do anything you put your mind to. I feel like I am lying when I say what his mother said. If I say something nice, you can bet I really mean it though. It’s easier for me to say something encouraging after the fact. A ‘wow you did it’ is a lot easier than an “I know you can do it” because like you, I worry you can’t.

Maybe it really doesn’t matter how we give or receive love as long as we make the effort to speak each other’s language.

 

28. My love language

Day 28: What is your love language?

I have to say that my love language is definitely quality time followed pretty closely by acts of service. I show others that I love them in the same way. The other common love languages don’t do anything for me at all. I feel uncomfortable with encouraging words, I don’t like being touched, and I would rather buy what I want rather than get gifts..

Maybe that is why I felt so loved by my grandma. When I came over, she dropped everything that she was doing to sit down and talk with me. We often would share a cup of tea and talk about what happened while we were apart. Our time together never ended up in an argument or with her giving unsolicited advice. Sometimes we would sit in silence and work puzzles together. She would make my favorite meals and send me off with a batch of fresh cookies. She sewed doll clothes for me while I played with my doll house on the floor next to her. She was the one that painstakingly painted the little house walls and decorated it for me. She played board games with me. She stitched up my clothes that were ripped and put the buttons back on.

Growing up, my mother worked all of the time. When she wasn’t working, she was taking care of my autistic brother Matt. She didn’t have a lot of extra time for me. But she always brought me home gifts. I knew that she cared, but it wasn’t my way of receiving love.

Sometimes I wonder if part of the reason that I stayed home with my kids when they were little was to shower them with quality time. I also showered them with acts of service. I still do, but they don’t seem to want that as much anymore as teens.

Maybe my love language is also a reason why I get so upset when I make plans with friends or family and they cancel out last minute for no good reason. It makes me feel like I am not important to them.

My husband’s love language is words of encouragement. I’ll be honest, it doesn’t come naturally to me. Growing up, criticism was doled out more than kind words. The words just sound so fake coming out of my mouth. I feel so inadequate sometimes.. Paul tries to show me that he loves me by giving me quality time, but it doesn’t come naturally to him either. It always seems like it has to be a conscious effort to show love in ways that are alien to us.

It is very possible to give and receive love from people that have different languages and live a fulfilled life. But it is always wonderful to have a few people in your life that speak your language.. It really made me miss my grandma today..