Hello all! I grew up in a family of huggers. How many of you know what I mean? My parents never let us go to bed or leave the house without hugs. Even if we were only going to be gone an hour, our parents would not let us out the door without hugs. Tight, squishy, all-enveloping bear hugs. “I love you,” always accompanied those hugs as well as admonishments like, “Be safe, be careful, call when you get there…” sorts of stuff. I’m grateful to and for my parents!
Enter my husband…who did not come from a family of huggers. His family shows love by serving one another. Especially with home repairs, yard or remodeling projects, building, painting, home or office decorating, errands and other practical, hands-on, work-oriented physical labor type of things.
It took me a few years–and a special observation from a dear friend–for me to figure this out. You see, after the honeymoon phase of my marriage, I began to doubt my husband’s love because he’s not the affectionate sort…and I’d grown up to know love by my family’s affection and words of affirmation.
My beautiful, God-loving friend Pamela aka Pammer James (pictured above) and her family came from Kansas to visit us in Illinois for a few days once. After a couple days, Pammer approached me, smiling. She nodded toward my husband and said thoughtfully, “I’ve been observing you guys together. He loves you quietly, doesn’t he?”
Her words stopped me in my tracks. I didn’t understand what she meant but then she explained that he demonstrates his love and care by doing things for me. So I began to realize his way of showing affection was to serve me. And boy does he! I’m thankful for Pammer and her perceptiveness. As she spoke those life and hope-giving words into me, I felt the presence and spirit if God speaking assurance to my heart. He used my softhearted, discerning friend’s timely but sweet-spoken truth to help combat the enemy’s lies that my husband’s feelings were faltering. The thing is, he never was a hugger. So it wasn’t like he’d changed.
Shortly after this, I read the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman and that book helped me realize that people receive and show love in different ways. Dr. Chapman refers to this as your love language. Some people need quality time. Some need words of affirmations. Some prefer to give gifts to show love, etc. I’m guessing that there are more than five love languages.
My husband shows me he loves me by serving our family and working hard to provide for us. He helps around the house with chores and he helps a ton with the kids. I made it my mission to figure out my husband’s love language and I try to serve him as well. I am happy to report that I have been pretty successful at turning his family into huggers. His grandma had the funniest reaction the first time I forced her to hug me. Pretty sure she thought I was nutty. But I made it my mission to get them comfortable receiving hugs. :-) What about you? Are you a hugger? Do hugs make you nervous or feel like someone’s invading your space? How did your parents or other caregivers show you love growing up?
Have you read the Love Language book? If not, here’s more information on it by Focus on the Family. If you have read it, what’s your love language? What are some ways you show your spouse or loved one you care?
I look forward to hearing your thoughts and stories! :-) Thanks for sharing life with us!
Warmly, Cheryl Wyatt