Birthdays and holidays are a really big deal to me. My husband and I met nearly six years ago, and have been married for five. Five out of those six years I have thrown him a surprise birthday party. FIVE surprise parties. Needless to say, he isn't surprised anymore. This may sound silly, and I assure you it is. But you must understand something about me: thoughtful gifts and time spent is my love language. Nearly every time I receive a sweet package in the mail from a friend across country, I burst into tears because I am so touched by their thoughtfulness. It is how I understand and interpret love. Just this year, my husband gently broke the news to me that birthdays aren't a very big deal to him. WHAT?! Trying to be the understanding mate, I asked "so, surprise parties aren't really your thing?" Apprehensively and tactfully, he let me know they weren't.
The beautiful thing about us humans and how God created us is we are intricate, with the thumbprint of our Maker across our hearts. We all bear the artistry of God, and we are so beautifully diverse. Understanding that my husband and I are individuals, who have different love languages was a momentous epiphany for me. Loving him well meant loving him the way he needs to be loved.
This of course made me think of my two daughters, and how fearfully and wonderfully made they are. My thoughts began to wander, questioning how they interpret love. My eldest daughter feels loved the most when we spend quality time with her. Just a couple nights ago, my husband sat down to watch a favorite movie with her. She was so touched by this act of love, that she turned to him with a tear in her soulful blue eyes and said, "Daddy, there is a tear in my eye because you are my best friend." (Cue all the heart-throbbing emotions.)
My youngest daughter came straight out of the womb longing to cuddle, and to be held. As she has grown, she hasn't changed a bit. She must be affirmed several times a day with lots of hugs, cuddles, and kisses. If I act too busy to hold her, I can quickly see how the hurts and offends her little heart. By nature, I am not a overtly physical person, so I must be intentional to stop what I am doing and scoop her up into my arms where she thrives and feels loved.
The beauty of becoming less and less, so Jesus can become more and more in our families is loving them well, and not just loving them in a way we understand love. Be encouraged, mamas. Watch for what makes your children's eyes come alive as you learn to love them well.