To uncover your child's love language, the book suggests you give the child a list of options and ask them to choose which they would prefer. My analytical brain wanted to make it so complicated when the solution was actually quite simple. So, as I'm talking with Jacob, I say...
Me: "Jacob, if you could have any of these things from me, which one would you pick?"
Me: "A: Sitting down and playing a game with you?" (Quality Time)
Me: "B: Cleaning your room and picking up all your Legos on the floor?" (Acts of Service)
Me: "C: Surprising you with a small gift?" (Gift Giving)
Me: "D: Cuddling with you before you go to sleep?" (Physical Touch)
Me: "E: Telling you how great I think you are?" (Words of Encouragement)
Jacob: "Oh, that's easy...snuggle time!!!"
(The 8 year old boy inside couldn't resist adding...)
Jacob: "Oh, and I'd kinda like a small gift, too....haha!!"
Here, I thought for many years that the way to his heart was with words of encouragement, when, much to my surprise after just a single minute of conversation, I discovered that it's actually physical touch. Who knew??
So, we've been snuggling quite a bit these past few weeks. I've even fallen asleep a couple of times with him wrapped inside my arms. With 2 little munchkins, it has been so easy to shower them with physical touch because they always seem to be hanging off of me. And, to be completely truthful, who can resist hugging, kissing and squeezing a little baby? But, stopping and deliberately choosing to lavish that loving touch on my 8 year old, allowing him a moment to soak up the security and love that comes from my touch, has in return blessed me more than I would've thought. Because, in that moment, I know that I am giving him exactly what he needs most...something that no words can convey. Love, acceptance and purpose flow from my touch straight to his heart. It creates a heart-wide-open moment when everything is right in his world. Just this morning, I called him to my room:
Me: "Do you want to snuggle?"
Jacob: "Oh, I've been waiting for you to ask me!"
As we are half buried under the covers, I say,
Me: "Do you feel loved right now?"
Jacob: "Yes, SUPER loved."