It’s the perfect time to bring up Fa-la-la-la Love Languages! Am I the only one who thinks, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday make the countdown to gift-giving season a little unnerving? Maybe talking about Love Languages can help. Do you know what your Love Language is? These books go into complete detail about each love language. For now, here’s my “Thoughtful Pinch Notes” on the book: The author, Gary Chapman, believes that everyone has a primary source of how they like to receive love. Not only can these books help you figure out your love language but they can help you apply the awareness to all of your relationships. For those who prefer to get their info on their devices, here’s the link to the website.
Thoughtful Pinch (a.k.a. Cliff) Notes continued…
When you receive a gift it makes you feel special and it makes you feel loved - GIFTS are your Love Language.
When you receive a hug, a kiss, a foot massage, a back rub etc. (keeping it G-rated here folks) it means more than anything in the world - TOUCH is your Love Language.
When you hear “great job” or “I couldn’t do it without you” it gives you the confidence and the love you need to fill the bucket - WORDS OF AFFIRMATION is your Love Language.
When your hub does the laundry without being asked it makes you feel like he has your back and he knows how to help you - ACTS OF SERVICE is your Love Language.
When someone actually makes eye contact with you and puts their phone down to have a nice conversation or go on a walk it makes you feel important, special and loved - QUALITY TIME is your Love Language.
I really enjoy GIVING gifts which is…hello?… why I started the Thoughtful Pinch blog! Ironically, receiving love via gifts, to me, isn’t validating because my love language is NOT gifts. What the what? To clarify: when I receive a gift, I appreciate the sweet thoughtfulness of the gift and gesture but when I say it’s totally unnecessary to give me anything I’m not feeding you a bunch of bull%$#. I can truly go thru life without receiving a single gift and wouldn’t think much about it. That's why I’m so surprised whenever I receive a present because I never see it coming.
I explained to my kids that if we took a trip to a foreign country and tried to find our favorite food without being able to speak the native language, we would have a hard time trying to get what we want. Because of this analogy, the kids happily agreed to take the "Love Language Mystery Game” test. My love language is different from their love language, therefore, in order for me to give them what they want, they need to tell me how they want to receive my love. I knew what each child’s languages were prior to the test but I wanted confirm my hunches. My daughter’s primary language is TOUCH but ACTS OF SERVICE came in a very close second which was a total surprise to me. I had no idea! My son’s language is 100% GIFTS. He is such a “stuff” guy. If I buy him a pair of socks he curls up and sleeps with them as if they are his security blanket. My hub? He won’t take the test - something about being too busy or maybe being too cool. Whatever. We are both missing out if he doesn’t figure out which language he prefers. We’re just like all the other couples out there who keep making mistakes trying to “get it right” and wasting a bunch of time.
Gary Chapman’s theories are like “aha” moments but with data to back it up. Understanding the concept of Love Languages has helped me calm my daughter down by hugging her and stroking her hair while she is having an emotional-roller-coaster tantrum. It is so easy to do. Trying to figure out what is causing the drama is so not easy. Soothing her with TOUCH has been a game changer. My son, on the other hand, has been a lot trickier to handle when it comes to his love language even though it’s the most obvious language. I’m very cautious and even too strict about giving him things. I don’t want him to grow up entitled and selfish. I’ve had conversations with him about “stuff” not replacing or confusing it with love. But what I learned when I was giving him the last lecture is that I’m telling this to a person who equates love (or validation) thru presents. That’s like forcing him to eat Chinese food when he has asked for Mexican. I’m learning that “stuff” to him is really anything different from the hum-drum routine of life. Like a drink from Starbucks, which is super rare. He gets stoked about a new toothbrush every month. Remarkably, on the flip side, he can let go of any item when it’s time to purge. Although we are completely opposite in our love language, I respect the fact that he doesn’t struggle with letting go of any of his “stuff”.
You've heard the adage, “The way to a man’s heart is thru his stomach”. Well that can be true since it really is an ACT OF SERVICE when you think about it. My hub doesn’t give a rat’s ass about food. He eats extremely healthy, however, he has no interest in the presentation or even the variety of cuisine. So in the past, I would get upset that I took great care to cook him a meal that involved lots of preparation and he wouldn't say anything about it. However, that's not fair because why would he: 1) praise me about the food when he doesn't care about food and 2) have any appreciation of the act of service since he has never been interested in fancy food presentations? Now that you hear both sides, it's easy to see how conflict can arise. The bottom line is - if I really like to cook, I should continue to cook but I shouldn't carry the burden of an uninterested foodie on my shoulders when I do. And when I choose to dine on veggie burgers on GF buns while watching college football with my hub in a bar, I know that our time together goes a lot further than any three course meal I could ever make.
I said that GIFTS are not my Love Language but I must back track. It's not my primary love language. Most of us prefer a combo of all five love languages and basically just want to be loved. Period. My ranking order of love languages are: 1. TOUCH 2. WORDS OF AFFIRMATION 3. QUALITY TIME 4. ACTS OF SERVICE and 5. GIFTS. My kids give me thoughtful pinches whenever they reach for my hand in the parking lot or squeeze me so tightly when they get the part in the Nutcracker. These gestures are validations of their love for me. They fill my bucket. They put a feather in my cap. They are the icing on my non-chocolate cake. A double whammy thoughtful pinch would be hugging me while saying, “You’re the best mom in the world.” That would go much further than anything my hub could get me from Tiffany’s.
If you don't like wandering around aimlessly at the mall or trolling the internet for hours in search of fantastic gift ideas, try jotting down little notes of what type of Love Language you think each recipient on your holiday gift list is. Maybe that QUALITY TIME sister-in-law of yours would rather spend Happy Hour together instead of exchanging gift cards on Christmas morning. Or maybe that ACTS OF SERVICE mom of yours would rather you fix her bike instead of receiving a hefty price tag spa day gift certificate. Love Languages. It always comes back to being thoughtful.