Mom, love is your greatest relationship tool!

Married, raising five unique kids and being involved in ministry compel me to find effective ways to love those I care about.  Teaching on relationships and sexuality for 24 years has allowed me to read hundreds of books, and a classic favorite is The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. His relationship prescription works immediately, even to repair damaged relationships. I love efficient books! The big idea is we all have an emotional love tank that needs filling. The way people communicate love and give and receive love generally falls into five areas: words of affirmation, affection, quality time, acts of service and gifts.  We all have a primary and secondary love language.

My primary love language is service, my secondary is gifts. Early in our marriage when my husband told me he loved me, I was blessed. But, when he also bathed the kids or did the dishes I adored him!  I used to plan parties and weddings professionally, so my husband’s birthday was amazing, but mine was disappointing.  I knew he loved me, but he wasn’t great at parties or gift giving.  Some might be thinking, “If he loved you he would know what you need.” That isn’t true.  If I love him, I will tell him what I need! I have been blessed to help pick my own birthday gifts now for years! My husband’s primary love language is affection, and words of affirmation are second.  Often our love languages are opposite our spouse, so I had to learn to speak in his language. Even though I naturally serve him, what he also needs is a backrub and kind words!  When we only love in our language, other person may not respond or receive it the way we intend, so we get hurt and they don’t feel loved.  “Hey, I cleaned the house, fed the kids, cleaned your desk and made you dinner!” He appreciates my serving, but my husband didn’t feel emotionally close until I hugged him. Wow, that would have been much faster and a lot less work! I’m still learning!

When our kids were younger and I went on an occasional trip to speak, I brought home gifts for the five kids. Two kids got excited about the gifts, but one just wanted me to hold her; one wanted to have time to tell me stories and one wanted to show me how they served me while I was gone.  Love languages on display!  This love language prescription has been vital during all the years of raising our five kids and now loving our four grandkids! It works with friends and colleagues as well, so ladies let’s love effectively and change the world!

“Faith, Hope & Love abide, but the greatest of these is love.” I Cor. 14:13

Share with us your love language in a comment below and you'll be ENTERED TO WIN a copy of Gary Chapman's "The Five Love Languages:The Secret to Love That Lasts" and "The 5 Love Languages of Children". Name will be randomly chosen on Friday, 02/21/14.