When I first read Gary Chapman’s best-selling The Five Love languages, I was fascinated. He argues that folks have predominant ways of expressing love for their mates: gift giving, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, and physical touch. If we can understand our mate’s preferred “love language,” we can do better at appreciating their caring expressions, and be less likely to be disappointed and dissatisfied because our preferred love language is different from theirs.
I immediately pegged my husband as an “acts of service” guy. He expresses his love in all five ways, but there’s no question he’s constantly doing things for me—thoughtful things. Whether it’s cooking me delicious meals, cleaning the house if I’m on deadline, or packing my lunch when I go off to school, he is the King of “acts of service.” I admit it—I am incredibly spoiled! Also incredibly grateful. And madly in love.
Truthfully, I think I must be a glutton for love, because giving and receiving in all five love languages is a rush for me. But hey, I’m a writer, so words are particularly special. Not surprisingly the best parts of the lunches my husband packs are the love notes he tucks inside. I save them! In fact, I think I must have saved every love note, card, or letter of appreciation I’ve ever received from my husband, my children, and even my students. There are boxes of them! They hold my treasures, my life, my heart.
So, if there are writers on your holiday gift list, or any folks who can’t get enough of “words of affirmation,” my advice this season is simple: Write them a letter, telling them about how much they mean to you. I guarantee it will be the best gift they receive.