Generational Love

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Recently I’ve been reading a phenomenal book and theory on Love. Surely you’veheard of the “5 Love Languages” but if not, a quick review.

The theory is that there are five languages for love: Acts of Service, Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Gifts, and Quality Time. Supposedly every person feels love in each of these five ways but subscribes to one or two more than they do the others. I’ve been debating what my love language is for years because often times if one of these love languages is missing — we tend to think we subscribe most to that one, as we are out of balance.(For example, as you can imagine, with The Corporal gone 1.5 out of our nearly 3 years of marriage, physical touch and quality time have been pretty hard to come by so I sometimes wondered if those were my main languages.) However, a love language can be spoken by more than just your spouse, it can also come through family members, close friends, and even through strangers [unaware of it] showing God’s love.
The easiest way to figure your love language out is to look back over your life and remember what sticks out to you, moments when your heart glowed radiantly in the light of pure unadulterated love. Or check in memory boxes, around your home or car, notes that might have been kept, books friends gave you, pictures of vacations or long days spent with the one you love totally focused on each other, or furniture your brother helped you build. These are all signs of what your love language might be. I highly suggest looking into yours and into the love languages of those you hope to show love to, it can change relationships.  So thats the short synopsis of the theory.
Last night I (being myself and not thinking clearly as I was watching a particularly gut wrenching episode of “The Walking Dead” with my one true love) drank three cups of coffee before bed. This resulted in a particularly thought filled sleepless hour and a half in which my mind wandered to love languages, I started thinking of my family and trying to pick out each of their love languages so that I could start to speak to each of them the real love I have for them. In this I started to see a line. I recall that many people in my church past have warned us of generational sins, that the sins of the father and mother would transfer to their children and down and down and down through the ages each bloodline would share the cost of the sins. [Praise God who is full of grace and mercy and is stronger than any generational chains]. I started to see that just like eyes, hair, and personality resemblances — things on the emotional and spiritual scale can also be genetic and passed down from generation to generation. For example:

My love language is words of affirmation. I can tell you every time my mom said she was proud of me, my daddy said I was perfect just the way I am. I can give you a list of compliments strangers have given me. When my husband calls me beautiful (not a rare thing) I almost cry — every time. I have notes from my sisters from lifetimes ago, letters from friends, my car still has a note left from my mom when I moved to California. I have birthday cards from when I turned 20, I can get them out and show them to anyone. If ever you have given me a word of encouragement, acceptance, or affirmation I bet you I could tell you what you said. Words stick with me and I pool them and use them as my strength.
My secondary love language is quality time. Its more calm because its a cool balmy water of time passing. Its the long walks of the beaches with my family, the art classes and coffee with mom, the piano time with dad, the “Otis” rides to ballet with my sister, the late night coffee with my husband. Quality time passes like a happy gurgling brook, without which I’d be parched for love.

Those are my love languages. They are the ones I speak most fluently to others as well as what makes me feel loved.
My parents love languages, if were to hazard a guess are as follows:

My Mom is quality time, then gifts. She is forever making space to spend time with each one of her children doing something that is up their alley. She and her friends plan dates to be together and they stick with them. In gifts she is the most careful person, making sure everyone feels equal and fair. When given a gift she is filled with delight, often waiting weeks to open it just to bring on the suspense. I don’t typically speak gifts very well, but I know that if I were to bring her home a small piece of my day, a feather, or a journal I found for her — she would feel loved and delighted.

My Dad is words of affirmation and quality time I think. I didn’t know it for most of my life, but I think he feels loved with words the same as I do, I don’t know how words of affirmation work for Dads, though I’ll call him handsome and very intelligent (Yeah he invents new and useful things all the time). Quality time is something he is always striving for with the family, hoping to have us all together and then doing something here and there with each of us, taking us on business trips one at a time, going for a drive, taking us all to the mountains and sitting around a campfire.

So there they are — my genes — clearly. If I were to label my siblings they’d look like this [from my view and I’m open to suggestion sibs… I’m seriously interested in speaking your language.]
1. WOA and Quality Time
2. Gifts and Quality Time
3. me.
4. Gifts and Acts of Service (I know you’re a quality timer too, I just don’t know if its top 2.)
5. Quality Time and WOA
6. Acts of Service and Quality time.

I think that love languages must be generational just like everything else. I think quality time might just stem from us having a crazy large family thats only growing in love.
I’ve found in studying these languages, my heart has room to open up more, it’s so easy to be able to tell each other what we need when we’re feeling thirsty for love if we know the water to quench the drought.

I’m sorry this post is long and not even written beautifully or with many metaphors. It’s just what I’ve been thinking of lately. I’m learning to use these languages with my friends and family and it’s pretty great. What do you think your love language might be? I’d love to know=)

Sparrow

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One response to “Generational Love

  1. You got me! Ha! I used to think the Gifts wasn’t one of my languages, but realized in the last few years that it actually is. In fact, there was talk at my birthday dinner about how we might stop giving each other gifts and only give cards. I emphatically said, “NO! I like gifts, people!” LOL Interesting to note, the suggester of this is not one whose language is gifts! 😉

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