True Love (3-min. read)


My hubby gets me.

On Valentine’s Day, he surprised me with a funny greeting card and a heart-shaped box of miniature Kit Kats.

No jewelry. No shopping spree. No flowers.

And I loved him for it.

Why? Because it was the icing on the cake after countless moments he’s helped my dad up and down stairs. Covered kiddie activities all day on a Saturday so I could meet work deadlines. Washed a lot of laundry. And so much more.

He knows my primary Love Language, and he loves me by honoring it as much as he can. And I love him all the more for that.

We all know February is THE month of teddy bears and flowers. The month that hoists Love up on its shoulders and throws it a huge parade. We tend to emphasize romantic love – the kind that makes your heart swoon. And that’s a wonderful, beautiful thing.

But, a confession: The older I get, the more my heart swoons when my loved ones do things like clean the kitchen and do the laundry. Not really swooning when I get bears or flowers.

It’s because of my primary Love Language. Ever heard of The 5 Love Languages? In a nutshell, we feel loved and express our love in 5 ways:

  • Words of Affirmation – Using words to lift and be lifted
  • Acts of Service – Expressing care by helping and being helped
  • Receiving Gifts — Giving and gaining rewards
  • Quality Time – Offering and receiving undivided attention
  • Physical Touch – Appropriate touch means more than words

While most of us usually have several Love Languages, one typically outweighs all the others. For me, it’s Acts of Service. I love loving others by helping them, and I feel cared for most when others help me. Translation? My heart leaps for joy when a loved one does the laundry or the dishes way more than, say, gives me clothes or jewelry.

Yes, seriously.

But, that’s me and my primary Love Language.

It’s so easy to have the right intentions when expressing our love for others, but still get it wrong. Example: Because I value Acts of Service most, I don’t mind organizing spaces. Clearing clutter so my family can find keys/toys/books quickly is, to me, expressing love for them.  But, sometimes, the clutter returns quickly and I’m the only one in the house who seems to see it.

In those moments, I can forget that Acts of Service is my main Love Language – but not for each of my loved ones. And, if I’m not mindful, I’ll get upset. I start snatching up the clutter, wind in my jaws, sighing under my breath. Hmmmmm, I think in those moments, with a frown and completely annoyed. What’s up with that?!?

But, usually the lightbulb goes off and I’m reminded of a simple fact: The path to feeling loved – really feeling loved – can mean different things for different people. Words of Affirmation for our daughter. Quality Time for my hubby, and for our son. No preference is better or worse. Rather, it’s just another aspect of how we operate, of what my mom often called our “scripts.” And let’s be honest: Don’t we feel grateful when others seek to understand and honor who we are and how we operate? And when they do, don’t we feel loved?

So, for the new mom who’s unsure if she’s “doing everything right” with her first baby, it’s hearing her mom say, “You’re doing a fantastic job.” Words of Affirmation.

For the son who cares for his aging mom, it’s a freezer stocked with his cousin’s home-cooked meals to save him time and energy. Acts of Service.

For the guy who loves collecting vintage action figures, it’s the 1983 GI Joe Cobra Commander in the mailbox from his sister, just because. Receiving Gifts.

For the teen whose mom works long hours away from home most days, it’s an impromptu ride to the mall to try on new makeup together. Quality Time.

And, for the widow who still misses her husband of 50+ years, it’s a heartfelt bear hug from her grandson. Physical Touch.

So, instead of running ahead with scissors and assuming that those I love are Acts of Service folks like me, I’m learning to stop and pay attention to their primary Love Languages instead. Because, when I get it right, I see the joy they gain and the love they feel.

That, to me, is true love.

Your Turn: What’s your Love Language?

14 thoughts on “True Love (3-min. read)

  1. Pingback: At This Moment | stretch & grow

  2. Pingback: Bees & Buttons (1.5-min read) | stretch & grow

  3. Kyri

    Thanks for reminding me to consider my family’s love language too. I definitely forget at times to think about their love language. So like you, I sometimes get perturbed that my family doesn’t get my desire to have things completed around the house. Thanks again for sharing your heart with us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. stretch&grow Post author

      So easy to do that, isn’t it? Trust me when I say: We’re in the same boat, us oh-so-human-beings-who-can-forget. 🙂 Thank you always for reading and for sharing, Kyri! xoxoxo


  4. litta584

    In our pre-marital class, our Pastor stressed to us that we naturally show love in the way we would like to receive it and that we have to be intentional about showing love the way our partner needs to receive it. I am Acts of Service too and my husband is quality time which is so hard when you want to be serving! Thanks for the reminder!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. stretch&grow Post author

      Charlitta, we’re in the same boat – so I get it! 🙂 The real blessing is knowing each of our love languages, though, yeah? 🙂 Hugs of gratitude to you for reading and sharing!


  5. Jermal

    Karin, I think it’s beautiful that you and Joel have such a connection and bond. I think you both hit the jackpot when you found one another. Thank you for sharing this with us. I might even let him get a few extra strokes on the golf course, once he stops ducking me.
    My love language is words of affirmation. The power of words, spoken and written, really hold a special place for me. I shared some of how I feel about this in a recent blog post. However I admittedly need to do a better job of recognizing and embracing the love languages of those I love so that their needs are met by me and my efforts to love them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. stretch&grow Post author

      Not a surprise at all that your love language is Words of Affirmation, Jermal. You dance with words beautifully, and your blog post is positive proof. Thank you as always for reading and sharing!



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