These are thoughts I treasure. I received them from a wise friend who does family love very well. It is a privilege to sit at the feet of the wise and gain practical wisdom.
These are her practical thoughts on love languages and how she uses them in her family: acts of service, words of encouragement, gifts, physical touch and closeness, and quality time.
- Embrace the love needs of individual family members until you get used to fulfilling them. Your comfort and enjoyment is not the priority. Do love for individuals despite your comfort in that language. Create rich, intentional opportunities to love, laying aside defenses and selfishness, and making intentional love the priority.
- Look for clues to the love needs of others and respond promptly; remain in the moment without shortchanging the opportunity; lay aside the fear of what others may think.
- Seize the tools of loving well: FaceTime, holding hands while walking along, sitting down in the room so conversations are more likely to happened, being available at opportune moments like late at night.
- Keep abreast of who and when you have given specific love to a spouse or child by keeping a running mental record of last love shown. Did I love on ________ in the last day or two? If not, schedule an opportunity that day or put it on the calendar for tomorrow. Discern who is most needy then prioritize that person for intentional love in action for the day. It helps to works ahead and remain prepared to act or speak.
- Double up: Spend time chatting while playing with hair, send a gift with an encouraging note, FaceTime and make it a play date too. Spend focused time listening and hold or give a back rub; say something encouraging during a long hug.
- Always be reading books that give fresh perspectives on love—marriage, family and parenting; they are a continual feast of fresh ideas and motivation.
Be willing to risk personal space, time, and comfort.