MP900438799 - The Five Love Languages of MomsEvery Friday my syndicated column appears in a bunch of newspapers in southeastern Ontario and Saskatchewan. 

This Sunday, moms everywhere will be awakened by little feet carrying trays of soggy cereal and cold toast. It’s Mother’s Day!

And that means a $6 card gushing about mom is absolutely mandatory, along with that perfect gift (hint: the perfect gift does not go in the bathroom and begin with an “S” and end with a “cale”).

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of gifts, largely because I spend so much of my energy trying to get rid of stuff. I’m a minimalist at heart who has the number for the Salvation Army pick-up on speed dial. In fact, gifts are often a negative for me. If I receive a gift, I always feel like I have to give one back. And I am just simply awful at choosing gifts.

But please, don’t assume that just because this lovely columnist eschews diamonds that your wife doesn’t secretly desire some gems. We are all different, and this Mother’s Day, you could earn some major brownie points figuring out exactly what kind of woman your mom, or wife, is.

According to Gary Chapman, the author of the best selling book The Five Love Languages, each of us has a preferred love language–the love language in which we feel loved.

Some of us certainly love Gifts. We love receiving them because we feel as if the person has thought of us, and sacrificed for us.

Others of us lean more towards the language of Physical Touch. We love holding hands, or cuddling on the couch, or getting fingers through our hair. Some of us prefer Acts of Service, when someone does the dishes so that we can relax. If hubby put up a set of shelves to display some new family photographs, that would put us over the moon. Still others lean towards Words of Affirmation, where people tell us what they appreciate most about us. Finally, there’s Quality Time. We just plain love spending hours with those we love–going for a drive, playing a board game, going for a hike and talking. When people set aside time for us, we feel cherished.

And here’s the clincher: because that’s the way we experience love the most, that’s also the way we tend to want to give love. So those who appreciate Words of Affirmation tend to affirm those they love. Those who appreciate Physical Touch tend to touch. But what if a “touchy” person is married to a “service” person? The touchy person could be hugging and touching and caressing galore, but the service person is thinking, “why doesn’t he ever just put his clothes in the hamper”? Likewise, the touchy person is thinking, “why doesn’t she ever just hug me when I get in the door?”

Of course, you can like a variety of these languages, but most of us have a dominant one. I’m a “Words of Affirmation” gal, and every year I tell my husband and girls : “don’t buy me anything for Mother’s Day! Just write me a long letter about what you love about me!” Luckily I’m so wonderful that’s easy for them.

My daughters, though, don’t share my love language. One of them veers more towards Quality Time, and the other is super Touchy. I have to go out of my way to be deliberate about not just verbally affirming my girls, as I would naturally do, but also touching Katie, and putting away my computer and talking to Rebecca.

We’re all very different. And this Mother’s Day, instead of buying that $6 card and pouring that soggy cereal automatically, maybe it’s time to have a talk whether or not you’re speaking the same love language. Because you don’t want to invest in diamonds if what she really wants is a shelf.

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The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

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