Lasting relationships, like anything worthwhile, take intentional commitment over time, and relationships grow better when we understand each other. Everyone gives and receives love differently, but with a little insight into these differences, we can be confidently equipped to communicate love well. This is true for all forms of relationship – for married or dating couples, for children and teenagers, for friends and co-workers, for long-distance relationships, and for those brand-new loves.

With Valentine’s day in February, it’s a time to celebrate Love.

Love of yourself, love for life, for struggles, and for everyone in your life.

No matter who or where you find yourself, know that there is great love available to you in every moment.

Let today be a celebration of the love that you have for yourself and your ability to share that love with everyone who means something to you.

Let’s focus on how we choose to receive and give love

The Five Languages is a book developed by couples’ therapist Gary Chapman.

Here’s a brief description of each of the 5 love languages:

•    Words of Affirmation: Expressing affection through affectionate language, or by offering praise or appreciation.

•    Acts of Service: Actions, rather than words, are used to show and receive love.

•    Receiving Gifts: Giving and receiving objects as tokens of love and affection.

•    Quality Time: Expressing affection with undivided, un-distracted attention.

•    Physical Touch: With this love language, the speaker feels affection through physical contact.

When you know the Love Language of the people you care about, it’s a real game changer. For example, my husband’s Love Language is Acts of service, but mine is words of affirmation.

It’s a pretty classic pairing – and before we knew our languages, it led to misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Realized that we had different love languages, I suddenly understood why I sometimes didn’t feel loved and appreciated. I also realized that I could learn to receive his way of expressing love for me.

As with all communication within a relationship, it’s better not to save everything up for one intense confession. Rather, it’s something to work on in small ways daily.

There a bonus here, too: as good as it is for you as a parent to know how your kids are best able to receive your love for them, it’s good for the kids to know that they have a preference. Even if that preference changes, the knowledge will stand them in good stead throughout their lives.

So, learn your Love Language and the Love Languages of the people you care about and use them as a tool for creating more understanding and appreciation and love in your lives.

 

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