Sunday, February 12, 2017

Love Is in the Air! (Or Whatever.)

Love is in the air, but how best do you express your love to your loved one?!  With a stuffed sloth, of course!  NOT!!!  Seriously, if my husband were to spend any amount of money on this stuffed sloth to say "I love you" on Valentine's Day or not, I wouldn't be happy.  I'm trying to understand how anyone would seriously think this would make a great gift... or the sloth key ring, sign or mug.  Seriously?!?!

Ok, I'm finished having a mini rant... almost.  Everywhere I turn there are advertisements for Valentine's meals for two at restaurants, say "I love you" with expensive jewelry, overpriced gifts at the supermarket such as ceramic popcorn buckets for a date night at home, and overpriced bouquets of red roses (that will die within a week).  I'm not trying to completely offend everyone who chooses to express their love to their loved one with gifts, but what I want to point out two things.  First, as my husband loves to point out, he doesn't need a holiday to tell me he loves me; he tells me this every day and in many ways.  Second, what if your loved one doesn't hear "I love you" with gifts, like me?

You may be wondering, "Lauren, what do you mean that you don't hear "I love you" with gifts?"  The very popular book The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman explains that there are 5 ways in which people express love to and accept love from their loved ones, not necessarily with a gift (although that is one of the love languages): words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. In short, words of affirmation are those such as, "Honey, thank you for washing the dishes", "You are such a wonderful husband." Quality time is simply spending time with your loved one without distractions, such as a quiet meal together, taking a walk, a catch up over a cup of coffee. Receiving gifts is just that, receiving a gift, but it doesn't have to be pricey, just thoughtful. Acts of service is simply doing something for your loved one, such as completing a job for your loved one that he or she has asked you to do or that you know he or she doesn't particularly love to do.  Physical touch also doesn't need much explanation and, yes, men tend to have this as one of their love languages.

Oh, and you likely have two love languages in which you can most identify with.  "What's yours, Lauren?" Acts of service and quality time.  I feel very loved and appreciated when someone does something for me and when I simply spend time with my friends and family.  Gifts are fine, they're ok, sure.  Thanks very much... ok... next.  Because of this, I'm not the best gift giver, which is why I completely stress out when it's someone's birthday or Christmas.
I find it imporant to recognise my loved one's love languages when I accept their expression of love.  My mom loves to send cards for every occasion, and I love that she loves to do that, and I know she is saying "I love you" with that card.  But I also know that she'd rather tell me that she loves me in person but can't always because she's thousands of miles away.  A dear friend of mine lives in Ottawa, Canada and loves to receive and give gifts and I know that.  However, luckily my husband doesn't love to receive gifts... and he definitely doesn't love to give gifts!  He, like me, feels loved by quality time.

If you're sweating over how to express your love on Valentine's Day in a couple of days just keep in mind that your gift doesn't have to cost a lot.  It doesn't have to cost anything!  Make breakfast or dinner for your family. Draw a bath for your wife.  Watch your husband's favourite movie with him (oh no! maybe I shouldn't have suggested this one!).

I've been trying to think about how to sort-of celebrate Valentine's Day with my family.  I've decided to simply have a nice meal with my husband and daughters on Tuesday.  I may give them a Lindor truffle or two... which is one of my favourite gifts ever... and they love them, too.  My husband made heart biscuits this weekend with the girls (I know, I was shocked, too!)... and that's perfect: quality time with the girls (I was at work), act of service because they had been asking to make cookies and almost free.

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