It continues to amaze me when you study personalities how different people function, depending on their natural personality traits. Learning how to meet somewhere in the middle is so key in successful communication with happy people whether it’s in the work environment or life with family and friends.
I took interest in Dr. Gary Chapman’s book, “The 5 Love Languages.” He’s counseled married couples for years and years and continues to say that although there are many different types of relationships and circumstances, “All people need to feel loved.” That doesn’t just pertain to marriages. ALL people need to feel loved.
Most people have a dominant love language which is most generally different from their mate’s. Dr. Chapman names those language styles as words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, quality time and physical touch.
Take this scenario. A man works a lot of hours and is proud to provide a comfortable lifestyle for his family. They have a beautiful home, modern clothing styles for all, etc. He even buys his wife flowers and expensive jewelry when there’s no special occasion.
His wife keeps the house clean and inviting, nurtures the children, provides wholesome meals and keeps her husband’s wardrobe updated, clean and pressed for both business and casual situations. What a perfect marriage.
But wait. She doesn’t feel loved. She does all she can for the relationship and he’s rarely home. She thinks their marriage is failing. Maybe her love language is words of affirmation and all he needs to do is praise her for her amazing ability to keep the household running so smoothly. Or maybe her love language is quality time and he needs to factor in an evening out or simple time together at home.
Sounds like they need to communicate. And realistically, although there is a dominant love language, a mixture of the languages would certainly be a good direction to consider.
I used to struggle with getting in the Christmas spirit. In order to decorate for Christmas, you have to make such a mess by hauling out all the boxes, putting up the tree, rearranging the house décor and cleaning up when you’re done.
Celeste, our youngest daughter, has the personality where she loves jumping into such projects. She catches the spirit early and loves to put Christmas music on and capture the chance to spread Christmas cheer.
She was about 10 when there was a snow day off from school. I still went to the office and came home to a decorated house, lights dimmed with Christmas lights aglow. And the mess was already put away.
Every year since, Celeste has decorated the house for Christmas. When she left for college, she followed tradition during Thanksgiving break. Then she went to her own home and decorated some more. I pleaded that she do that EVERY Thanksgiving.
Well this year, she’ll spend Thanksgiving elsewhere with family. And guess what? She came home a week early in order to decorate for Christmas.
Guess what my love language happens to be? Acts of service. My heart swells as she cheerily puts her heart into the project. And it motivates me to join in the spirit of accomplishment and clean out some areas in the house that have been nagging at me. Russ, my hubby, even helped fold laundry, dealt with some clutter and got out the carpet shampooer to work on some spots.
I felt so loved. Celeste kept asking what I wanted for Christmas. She had already fulfilled any “present” that I could name. Her acts of service were the most precious gift, better than anything that could be wrapped. Waking up to the new atmosphere inspired me to go work out for a great way to start my day.
What is your love language? What language style helps your mate or others feel loved? Maybe some communication is in order to find out.
There’s nothing like feeling loved.
LORI PANKONIN is co-publisher of Johnson Publications newspapers in Imperial, Wauneta and Grant, and part-owner of the Holyoke Enterprise in Holyoke, Colo. E-mail: ljpank@chase 3000.com