How Do I Show Love?

Learning how each of our family members receives love best is a huge step towards great communication!!!  I recently read a book that simplifies just this!!  Dr. Gary Chapman PhD wrote a book entitled ‘The Five Love Languages’.  His premise is that there are five basic ways we, as humans, feel loved.  They are a part of who we are.  They are affected by the ways in which we grew up, our families, and our parents.  Discovering how our spouses and children feel our love opens the door to meeting their needs in the very best ways. Described below, these ideas include: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Gift Giving, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.  Dr. Chapman has several books breaking this theory down for children, spouses, extended family members, and more.  I encourage you to look him up and learn all you can about this innovative way to bless those in our lives.  JUDY

Words of Affirmation

One way to express love emotionally is to use words that build up. Solomon, author of ancient Hebrew Wisdom Literature, wrote, “The tongue has the power of life and death” (Proverbs 18:21, NIV). Many families have never learned the tremendous power of verbally affirming each other.

Verbal compliments, or words of appreciation, are powerful communicators of love. They are best expressed in simple, straightforward statements of affirmation, such as:

“You look sharp in that suit.”

“You are such a loving son!”

“I really like how you think of ways to help me.”

“You can always make me laugh.”

Words of affirmation are one of the five basic love languages. Within that language, however, there are many dialects. All of the dialects have in common the use of words to affirm your family. Psychologist William James said that possibly the deepest human need is the need to feel appreciated. Words of affirmation will meet that need in many individuals.

QualityTime

By “quality time,” I mean giving someone your undivided attention. I don’t mean sitting on the couch watching television together. When you spend time that way, Netflix or HBO has your attention — not your child. What I mean is sitting on the couch with the TV off, looking at each other and talking, devices put away, giving each other your undivided attention. It means taking a walk, just the two of you, or going out to eat and looking at each other and talking. For children it can be as simple as taking them along when you do errands, checking in with them before they go to bed at night, making a special time just to be together .  You will know your child responds to this type of love when he or she lights up at the opportunity to spend time with you!

Time is a precious commodity. We all have multiple demands on our time, yet each of us has the exact same hours in a day. We can make the most of those hours by committing some of them to those we love. If your child’s primary love language is quality time, she simply wants you, being with her, spending time.

Gift Giving

Almost everything ever written on the subject of love indicates that at the heart of love is the spirit of giving. All five love languages challenge us to give to our family, but for some, receiving gifts, visible symbols of love, speaks the loudest.

A gift is something you can hold in your hand and say, “Look, he was thinking of me,” or, “She remembered me.” You must be thinking of someone to give him or her a gift. The gift itself is a symbol of that thought. It doesn’t matter whether it costs money. What is important is that you thought of him or her. And it is not the thought implanted only in the mind that counts but the thought expressed in actually securing the gift and giving it as the expression of love.

But what of the person who says, “I’m not a gift giver. I didn’t receive many gifts growing up. I never learned how to select gifts. It doesn’t come naturally for me.” Congratulations, you have just made the first discovery in becoming a great lover. You and your loved one speak different love languages. Now that you have made that discovery, get on with the business of learning your second language. If your child’s primary love language is receiving gifts, you can become a proficient gift giver. In fact, it is one of the easiest love languages to learn.

Acts of Service

By acts of service, I mean doing things you know your child would like you to do. You seek to please her by serving her, to express your love for her by doing things for her.

For adults consider actions such as cooking a meal, setting a table, emptying the dishwasher, vacuuming, changing the baby’s diaper, picking up a prescription, keeping the car in operating condition — they are all acts of service. They require thought, planning, time, effort and energy. If done with a positive spirit, they are indeed expressions of love. For your child it can be as simple as reading a book, playing peek-a-boo, taking a walk together, going to the park, playing catch on the floor with a big ball, the possibilities are endless!

A willingness to examine and change stereotypes is necessary in order to express love more effectively. Remember, there are no rewards for maintaining stereotypes, but there are tremendous benefits to meeting the emotional needs of those you love. If your spouse’s love language is acts of service, then “actions speak louder than words.”

Physical Touch

We have long known that physical touch is a way of communicating emotional love. Numerous research projects in the area of child development have made that conclusion: Babies who are held, stroked and kissed develop a healthier emotional life than those who are left for long periods of time without physical contact.

Physical touch is also a powerful vehicle for communicating love. For some individuals, physical touch is their primary love language. Without it, they feel unloved. With it, their emotional tank is filled, and they feel secure in the love of their family members.

Implicit love touches require little time but much thought, especially if physical touch is not your primary love language and if you did not grow up in a “touching family.” Sitting close to each other as you watch your favorite television program, being close in the car, or while waitng at a restaurant requires no additional time but may communicate your love loudly. Touching your spouse as you walk through the room where he is sitting takes only a moment. Touching each other when you leave the house and again when you return may involve only a brief kiss or hug but will speak volumes to your spouse.

Once you discover that physical touch is the primary love language of your spouse, you are limited only by your imagination on ways to express love.

Dr. Gary Chapman is a family counselor, radio host, associate pastor and author of several books, including The Five Love Languages and One More Try.

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Things to Look Forward to…….

Life with little ones is a three ring circus!!!  I remember saying “Who needs TV when you have kids?”.  Ha!!!  Ha!!!  There is so much going on, things to be learned, toddlers to tackle, diapers to be changed, messes to clean up and on, and on.

Something I really encourage new mommies to do is to plan a little time for you!  When you have just delivered your baby, life is a whirl wind.  Between breast or bottle feeding, sleepless nights, healing, bonding with baby, becoming reacquainted with your spouse, you will often feel torn.  What is most important?  How on earth can I do it all?  I am so tired!!!

As a postpartum doula I usually have the opportunity to become acquainted with my clients months prior to the birth of their babies.  This is important to me because it gives me the opportunity to help them prepare for ‘life after baby’.  I encourage mommies to think about the things that refresh their souls.  We talk about making a list of the things that bring peace in the middle of the storm.  For some women spending time working in their gardens fills the bill.  For some it is a good book, a favorite movie, listening to music, a walk around the block alone.  What ever your favorite thing may be, it is important to think about it, decide what it is, and incorporate time in your life to enjoy it!

Talk with your family about this.  Explain your need to find a few moments of peace in the craziness of life and ask them to help.  At the start of each day decide when you will steal away for your refreshment.  If there is no one at home to care for baby while you enjoy your time, do it while baby is sleeping.  I promise taking these few minutes to reboot will have a profound affect on your spirit.  You will feel refreshed and encouraged.  Having something good to look forward to makes life more fun.  It helps you to keep the perspective that you are important too.

Suggestions for Your Time:

  1. Being outdoors for a walk or even just sitting in a chair in the sunshine!
  2. A phone call with a good friend.
  3. Time on the sofa with a good book.
  4. Planting beautiful flowers in your garden
  5. Lunch with a friend.  (She can bring lunch to you!!!)
  6. Going to a good movie, just you and baby.  (This one is my favorite!)
  7. Listening to music.
  8. Binging your favorite TV show.
  9. Working on a project you enjoy ie. sewing, knitting, crocheting, beading, painting, the sky is the limit!!!

If you come up with other ideas please pass them on to me!!!  Other moms will enjoy the same things you do!!!

Thank you!!!  Thank you!!!    JUDY

Happy 2017!!!!!!

As you ring in the New Year make a list of the things that especially blessed you in the old one!  What experiences and activities did you truly enjoy?  Which were the most meaningful?  Which would you like to repeat as the new year arrives?

It may seem difficult to take the time to evaluate, yet, it is through reflection that we learn, stretch, and grow.  It is important to understand our actions and goals. We all have them.  Some of us talk about them some do not.   Often life is so busy we do not take the time to think about why we do what we do.  In a family these times of reflection are especially important.  When living with others, sharing mutual desires and activities we need to know what everyone is thinking.  Child rearing takes two committed adults headed in the same direction.  Often we did not see our parents talking about the future.  Because of this it may feel uncomfortable.

A friend of mine, Jorja Stewart,  posted these questions on her blog specifically for married couples.  I am passing them on to you to aid in your relationship development through out the next year.  Jorja suggests taking one question per month, individually writing down answers then sharing your personal responses with your partner.  Give it a try.  If possible, make a date night where you have private quiet time with the two of you to share your thoughts.  Use these questions as a starting point to talk about what ever issues are on your mind.  Be open to what every your partner shares.  Intentionally do not take things personally, let each of you share freely.  Enjoy and grow!!  JUDY

1) What things do you feel your spouse does better than you?

2) How do their strengths help you?

3) What things would you enjoy doing with just your spouse?

4) What things would you enjoy doing with your spouse and others?

5) What would you like to achieve in the next year?

6) What do you enjoy spending money on?

7) What are your fears, concerns, and struggles?

8) What types of things overwhelm you or cause you to feel anxious or stressed?

9) What things about the relationship would you like to keep the same? Why?

10) What things would you like to change?

11) What ideas do you have for accomplishing those changes?