It is so important to pay attention to the way we love. If you haven't read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, I highly recommend it! It has completely changed the way I love my husband and children. In fact there was a time I felt very bitter towards my husband for not "being like every other husband"...come to find out, we are not all created the same. If I could take back those years....
The five love languages:
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
Most people are only one or two of these. I respond the most to Acts of Service and words of affirmation. I feel the most loved when people reach out to help when I am in need. Running an errand, offering to help me when I have just had surgery or my husband watching our girls so I can go get my haircut. I also am blessed by words of affirmation and encouragement. I feel I need this the most sometimes. I still get warm and fuzzy when my grandma tells me I am a good singer...or my husband tells me I am pretty.
Grace, she is a Quality Time kinda gal. She loves when you just take the time out of your day to be a kid with her. Back when I was pregnant and my husband was deployed, things were rough for her. I remember my heart just aching that she wasn't getting enough attention from me. I made sure to carve out these precious small moments with her. We had fun that day ;)
My Lucy, she is a physical touch kinda gal. Even though she is still a baby, I can already tell her need for touch. She is at her happiest sitting with her daddy watching football for hours on end...or in my arms making silly baby noises and singing songs. She loves to be loved on. And THAT is okay with me!
Gary Chapman talks about "keeping the love tank full". When someone you love is distant or your children are throwing tantrums, its so important to recognize if their tank is full. Once you realize what your family's love languages are, it becomes easy to fill them up when they are in need. Just because you are someone who likes to receive gifts doesn't mean your husband does. In fact it took me 9 years to realize that all my husband wanted was to snuggle on the couch more. The way you love is not necessarily how your partner or children receive love. Infact I have spent many years trying to be someone who my husband did not respond well to. Each of us are created different and there is no one way to be a wife, husband or parent. The only constant in marriage and parenthood is love. And there is not just one way to love.
"If we are to develop an intimate relationship, we need to know each others desires. If we wish to love each other, we need to know what the other person wants." Gary Chapman