Thursday, March 28, 2013

Love Languages

I read the book Love Languages many years ago as I struggled from one bad relationship to another. I remember using it to find out what my significant other might need only to realize that the true problem was that my own needs were not being met. That phase of my life has thankfully passed and yet I still find myself referring to the pages of this book. This time, however, it is from a very different perspective. The perspective of a mother.

If you are unfamiliar with the book, I will give you a brief synopsis. The author, Gary Chapman, explains that everyone has a preferred way of showing and receiving love. Chapman broke the most common ways into five categories and called them the five love languages. They are Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time and Physical Touch.  There's a test here if you want to find out your love language. I know, it kinda feels like a quiz from Cosmo. But it is very cool, I promise.

Anyway, my oldest is big on quality time, too. He loves to spend time together. All the time. If I leave to fold a load of clothes and return ten minutes later he will hug my leg and tell me how much he missed me. I understand that about him (easier because he's similar to me) and work to always have lots of one on one time with him.

My youngest, however, is different. He seems to focus on touch. Even as a tiny baby, he wanted to be held
almost all the time. He would nap in his crib much of the time, but from 2-3, we snuggled. He would tuck his little head in the crook of my arm and start snoring. The moment I tried to lay him down, his eyes popped open and the nap was over.  So I would bring up my Kindle or my phone every day at 2:00 knowing that I would need something to entertain me during our "snuggle nap".

Not much has changed in the year that has elapsed. He is still very loving and demonstrative. After I read books to both boys at bedtime, I take my little one to his room and give him hugs. We snuggle and talk about the day. l tell him the things that he did that made me proud. And he has started to hug me back.  

During the day he will sneak up behind me and say, "Mama. Nuggle." He will then give me a huge hug and say, "SQUEEZE" although it sounds more like, "EEZE!" It melts my heart each and every time. I find myself hoping that I always remember to hug him, even when he's a gawky teenager that is driving me crazy. I find myself hoping that his wife will someday understand this about him and always give him a quick squeeze when things are hard.

For now, though, I will just enjoy the hugs however I can get them and do my best to love my guys the way they most need to be loved. I will treasure their uniqueness and receive their love completely.

What is your love language? Do your children seem to be very different than you? How about your spouse? How can you bridge the gap?

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