Dec. 20, 2017

What Christmas Means to Me

Author Gary Chapman took the world by storm with his 1995 book, “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.” The book reached readers and non-readers alike due to the many workshops conducted on the subject across our country. I find it difficult to think any adult hasn’t heard about the book, but just in case, please allow me to provide a quick book review.

Gary Chapman believes there are five distinctive ways to give love based on how we receive love. This practice is the downfall of most relationships. Strong relationships work to discover how the other person receives love and then applies their affection in that direction.

So, what are the five love languages? Chapman breaks it down as 1) gifts, 2) quality time, 3) words of affirmation, 4) acts of service and 5) physical touch. My husband sees love as acts of service, which explains his huge heart, constant activity, and dependability. I see love as quality time. It doesn’t matter to me how much you do for me if you aren’t doing it with me. This is just an example of our personal love languages.

My husband and I worked to adapt our personal thinking to ways we could meet one another’s needs through individualized love languages. What I discovered is a clean house and an empty laundry basket makes my husband feel loved. While those things may not mean a thing to me, in honor of him, I try very hard to serve him by showing interest in tasks that need to be completed.

My husband learned that his community involvement was one of the things I love most about him. However, I need time together; without a lot of people around. If you love me, spend time with me. If you don’t spend time with me, I find it hard to believe you love me.

Christmas triggers a conflict of love languages in our culture. If you are a person who sees “gifts” as the way to show love, you probably love Christmas. However, unless you receive love through the exchange of gifts, gift giving isn’t the key focus of Christmas.

This became obvious at our many Christmas parties. My husband wanted to help cook the meal or bring his infamous cookies. I looked forward to simply spending time with people. Others saw a gift exchange as the most important way to celebrate our Christmas. I turned heads by saying, “Your presence is the only present I need.” I’m not Scrooge. I simply do not tap into gifts as being the most significant part of the season.

What does Christmas mean to you? I think it is important that you relay your priorities and needs to those you love and those within your inner circle. It is equally important that we learn and understand how those in our inner circle want and need to celebrate Christmas.

If your love language is gifts, I hope you will enjoy the greatest gift of all times – Jesus Christ. If, like me, your love language is quality time, I pray that you will set aside time to spend with every important person in your life. I understand this often must be accomplished through groups.

For those who feel love through words of affirmation, please allow me to say that God loves you very much. God sees you. God knows you. God hears you. Even if you do not acknowledge God, each morning you wake up and take a breath, He acknowledges you. Know that you are loved.

For those who feel loved with acts of service, please call my husband. He is an expert at this and we balance one another out. Tommy will do for you while I be with you. <smile>

Lastly, if you feel love by physical touch, please remember this love language gets us into trouble. Today’s headlines reflect the fact that physical touch may be your love language, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it is everyone’s love language. Please ask before you give a hug or take a hug. Personal, physical space is sacred. Don’t invade the space of others, but ask for what you need from those closest to you.

Quick PSA (Public Service Announcement): “No” means no. Power isn’t romance. Manipulation maims.

After following my blog, my sister Debbie once asked me, “What makes you an expert?” I laughingly replied, “I read a lot.” Just kidding. I try to share from my personal experience as a way to enlighten, challenge, educate, and reveal both sides to most issues. You, the reader, can chew up the meat and spit out the bones. Regardless, learn to love people in the ways they receive it and learn to ask for what you need. Love makes the world go ‘round, so let’s learn to love others in a way that they feel it.