Friday, April 24, 2009

Love In Their Language!


Ok, first...April, the photo is for you! LOL!! Yeah, I read your message about how you like blogs better with some photos and I haven't posted a photo in a while... This one is from Easter!

So, for the reason for this post... I've been wrestling A LOT lately with Abby's reluctance to hug and be hugged... Actually, I've wrestled with it for 9 months, since Gotcha Day. We worked out a compromise this week, at the suggestion of her older foster sister, who was adopted at the same time.

She suggested that we establish the times when we would hug and how long the hugs would be... So Abby and I agreed that it would be twice a day...when she left for school and at bed time and that they would be short, gentle hugs, no bear hugs!

Interestingly, she opens her arms to me for hugs now...she seems to be much more willing to give them and receive them...

But all of this got me thinking... (uh...oh!)

I love the book "Love Languages." I'm sure most everyone has read it by now, but there are 5 love languages... Physical touch/affection, Quality time, Gifts, Words of Encouragement and Service.

My love language is DEFINITELY affection and words of encouragement! But Scott's is service... He has the most amazing servant's heart, he will even clean the toilets for me....he's amazing.

But when we started dating, I was such a dope... I demanded that he love me with hugs and words of encouragement and when he didn't, I was annoyingly insecure in the relationship. It took a lot of time (and a broken heart for a few months) for me to finally understand that I needed to hear his "I love you," in his acts of service...which frankly, requires a whole lot more of a person than my love's easy to give a person a hug and a few words of encouragement, that doesn't require that I give so much of myself...but acts of service and quality time require something of the whole person.

So anyway, in mulling over the 'hug' thing with Abby, it hit me square between the eyes (and in the heart) that I was falling into the same trap with her as I did with Scott, over 20 years ago!

Abby's love language is quality time and I think maybe gifts...she loves, I mean LOVES to draw beautiful pictures for wants to know their favorite color and then she creates the most beautiful works of art.

So all this time that I've been worrying about attachment and the lack of physical touch, maybe attachment isn't a 'one size fits all' deal... Maybe attachment is more about love being expressed from the heart in the ways that say I love you to them...instead of what says "I love you" to us.

I realize that physical touch is necessary, and she doesn't shy away from that anymore...she's ok with being tickled...she lets me wash her hair...she'll sit close to me in the chair to watch a movie...

But what I need to take away from this is that I need to stop pushing the "hugging" thing and love her in her love language...

But isn't that just the way our heavenly Father does it for us... I think I've said this a million times since I became a Christian... "I'm awed at how God meets us right where we are." I could tell you a gazillion stories about how God spoke (not audibly) but visibly into my life in a way that I could TOTALLY get... Some might call them coincidences, but there's comes a point when it happens so many times that it takes more faith to believe in coincidences than it does to just see it for what it is... God reaching out to us in a personal and intimate way.

So, I'm turning over a new leaf... I'm going to seek out fun and creative ways to love Abby everyday in way that clearly says, "I love you" in her heart language...not just mine... Hmmm...think I'll go make a card!


April Isaacs said...

Yea!!!!!! Thanks for the picture! So good!

I loved that. It really spoke to me because Paul's love language is acts of service. I have never appreciated it the way I should have, but your thoughts about it really made me think. Wow! It is much harder to do that love language than any of the others. Paul works so hard for me, he is so helpful and will do anything.

Thanks so much for your deep thoughts and for sharing them. I am so glad to be your friend.

Are you really going to make Abby a card? I think that is an amazing idea!! I would love to know her reaction. Wow! I can't get over how insightful that is... God is really speaking to you. And, I am with you, baffled that people want to call thoughts like that a coincidence.

I'll give you a bear hug:-),

kitzkazventure said...

I LOVE that you allowed God to show that she might "get" love in another way.....for you to even allow that to be a possibility means that there is true love there. I know several friends that are suffering in their marriages because neither partner is "willing" to even see this as a way or not at all kind of mentality. I personally could care less if someone touched me or not but if they are not thoughtful about what kind of gift they buy me and just randomely buy something, I am totally I do get what you have written. Funny thing is that I never thought about it for my son! He seemed to have no issues with attaching but now that I think about it...he is probably going to be a touch because I definitely have had to give way out of my comfort zone for him. Thankfully, I have been blessed with his attachment because of this....How insightful you are. God is so cool when He gives you insight like timely and practical. Praise God!

Ruthi said...

Thank you for writing the results Sharla. I told Penny that Abbey said ok to the hugs and she smiled. These girls are wonderful! Ruthi

sierrasmom said...

Sharla, you have no idea how your post hit home with me. Not too long ago I woke up after my husband left for work in a not great mood. I walked out in the kitchen and looked around my kitchen "Would it have been to hard for him to leave a note saying he loved me." Then I noticed what WAS there, which is there every morning.... my blood pressure pill, my cup of tea already made, Sierra's vitamin, and the laundry done and hung out and yesterdat's laundry folded. Boy did I feel foolish. He had left "notes of love" all over the place!!! I too struggle since I am a touchy, talky I love you person. But I will keep your post for the next time. And I will remember it for Sierra too and I will be sure to look for other ways that she is saying I love you !!!

sierrasmom said...

To clarify my post, it was me in a bad mood, not my husband. LOL

Shirlee McCoy said...

I love this post. Thank you for the reminder that one size never fits all.

Dawn said...

Hi, I stumbled upon your blog from the china adopt talk forum, you have a beautiful family and a beautiful faith. We are beginning our journey of adoption and your blog is inspiring! Thanks.