Sunday, May 16, 2010

Love Languages

I was thinking today about what a friend told me once. He mentioned how his sister thought his Dad was a terrible person, emotionally unavailable (ex/never said "I love you"), and blamed her Dad for her dysfunctional series of relationships. My friend though thought his Dad was a pretty good father (though not perfect), appreciated him, and felt loved. How could there be such a difference of opinion between the two siblings? Did the Father treat his children completely differently?

Thinking about it today, I hypothesize that my friend and his sister had very different love languages. For instance if the woman's love language was words of affirmation or quality time, I could see why she would feel uncared for as the Father was a very busy businessman. And if the guy telling the story had a primary love language of gifts or acts of service then I could see why he generally felt loved by his Dad and confused about why his sister felt uncared for. But the truth is that in some ways a Dad could be great with one child and a disaster with another because of the reality of love languages. We tend to respond to love when it comes in certain guises and get little reward from it if it comes in others.

Reflecting on this story, I thought about my own children; am I going to be in the same situation one day where one of my children feels very loved and another hardly at all? I felt a strong need to find their love languages soon and began using them. I don't want any of my kids to feel uncared for. It's not a mystery; we all feel loved in different ways and it is up to us to find out what makes those closest to us feel loved. I think Riker's primary love language is touch and I think Trinity's is most likely time. Do you know what your kid's (if you have them) are? Or how about your spouse or parents? If you go to the work of finding out your loved one's love languages and start doing things that work with them, you will instantly increase the feeling of love those people get from you. It can feel quite "unnatural" to show someone love in a way that is not our primary love language (I know it is for me), but that is what love really is - a choice as well as feeling. Godspeed in meeting the love language needs of those you care for!

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