Daddy’s girl: a phrase that I never related to when I was growing up. My relationship with my father was never the dream daddy-daughter relationship. He never took me out to ice cream, told me I was beautiful in my Sunday church dress, or spoiled me with gifts. It was disheartening at times, but through our relationship I have learned more about love than I have in many other relationships throughout my life.
L: Stands for LOVE LANGUAGE. My dad showed me that everyone has a different love language. My love language is “quality time,” while his is “acts of service.” I feel loved when I can spend meaningful time with someone where we can talk and connect. My dad, however, shows his love by working hard for the family and providing necessities. If someone’s love language doesn’t correlate with your own, you might feel unloved. They don’t love you the way you understand love.
O: Stands for opening up. Once I realized that my dad has a different way of expressing love from the way I do, I could more easily open my heart to him. In turn, our relationship has grown tremendously. I try to see the work that he does as an act of love. Because I’ve softened toward my dad, I’ve begun to see new aspects of other love languages, including my own!
V: Stands for victory. Not only have I realized that my dad just loves differently from what I do, but I have realized this in my other relationships as well. Most of my friends have love languages that are different from mine. For example, I have a friend whose love language is touch; she feels closest to someone when she’s hugging or cuddling with them. I try my best to show her love, challenging myself to step out of my comfort zone. This helps us establish a truer friendship.
E: Stands for emerging. Realizing the different ways of loving is an eye-opening experience, but it doesn’t make a difference unless you do something about it. Maybe your sibling, classmate or coworker doesn’t express love in the way you want, or maybe not at all, but learn to love the people that are hardest for you to love and the people that have different love languages from yours. The growth in your life and heart will be so rewarding as you live out love-conscious relationships. The aspects of love that you learn right now will stay with you through the rest of your life, so continue to develop your loving character. And remember: Not everyone will love like you do.