Three little words. Only eight letters in all, and yet, many of us have a terribly difficult time saying them. It is not always our fault, though - most of us speak different "love languages" than other members of our families.
What, exactly, are the "Love Languages"? Simply put, a Love Language is the primary way that you express and interpret love. Many of us have an interest, or ability, to speak one of the five main love languages better than the other four, although some of us are well versed in two - or three.
The five Love Languages are Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. If you think about it, each of us is more attuned to expressing ourselves in one of those manners than another. What is your family's "love language"? Do you express your love verbally, without qualm, or are you more into the acts of service for each other? Do you leave notes around because the words just won't come out the way you'd like them to? Do you have a difficult time forcing the words from your lips, causing irritation with your family members who feel as if you don't love them?
It's important to determine how your family reads your expressions of love, and for you to deliver them in a manner that they can understand. Sometimes, family members, or even spouses, are unaware of the differences in the ways that their loved ones "read" their love, and hurt feelings can occur.
In my own life, I am uncomfortable with the Words of Affirmation area, but I shine in Acts of Service. I'm married to, and the mother of, people who really enjoy hearing Words of Affirmation. They don't really care that I got up and made a healthy and delicious breakfast - although my efforts in the kitchen are there to show my love and devotion for their health and well-being. It took a long time of hurt feelings on both sides for us to come to an understanding. Now I am certain to use the words that validate my family's feelings, and they know to show true expressions of thankfulness to help me feel love. They know that if I make cookies, or a special requested meal, it's one of the ways that I show I love them.
Have you determined your family's "Love Language"? Are they the same or different from your own? Do you understand the ways that you and your family members express love to each other? What are some ways that you can meet the needs of your partner and children and help them to feel your love?