All We Need is Love… in the form of?

Words of affirmation? Quality time? Gifts? Love language, it’s how we give and receive the adoration messages from those for whom we care. Unfortunately most of us walk thru life not knowing, or caring, what this bunch of psychobable means and certainly not how it effects anyone around us. But perhaps giving it a moment of pause, it might make life a little less insane.

I’m a words girl myself. Please tell me nice things and bring me letters that I can hold onto forever. I can remember asking “please write down the reasons you care about me”, not even realizing at the young age of “I don’t have a clue what I’m doing”, that I truly was seeking to have my emotional language spoken to me. Makes sense though, I walk around professing my feelings to everyone I meet and am frequently crushed by an unrequited “hello” or a seemingly insincere inquiry about me. My unanswered texts immediately have me believing I’ve lost a friend or have done something to offend. This day of digital automatic response has not done me any favors.

One of my best friends however feels most loved through acts of service. She needs very few words, but don’t leave her hanging on a promise or a commitment. Giving of yourself to assist means more to her than just about anything. Another friend’s is gifts. Not the bring me riches and horses kind of gifts. But show me you were thinking of me. So I grab a seashell I find when I’m at the beach to add to her collection. And she gives the most thoughtful gifts, putting many a baby shower attendee in awe of her ingenuity.

The Beetles sang “all we need is love”… but in what form? I can remember my mom’s record of someone singing “you don’t bring me flowers anymore”. Maybe it’s not just about the language we speak but remembering to continue doing it. Remembering that your 18 year old loves hugs (language of touch), or that your partner feels better hearing that even as the wrinkles deepen and tooshies start sagging that they still make your heart skip a beat. We often fall victim to our rhythm of daily life and the cadence of what needs to happen to get through the day. We forget that those we care for need the reaffirming messages in their language, not ours. Doesn’t do me any good to buy you a shirt that made me think of you when all you want to to hear how much I’ve done something you noticed.

So I think I will pause. And take stock in those around me, and consider their language. I’m fluent in words, but perhaps it’s not nearly as powerful as quality time would be. As we rise from the dark corners of our pandemic lock down, we would be well advised to proceed with our hearts and grant grace to those around us. And maybe take a moment to learn the languages of love. It may help to keep your sanity.

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