The Many Faces of Love: The Practical Side

Do you know someone who is the perfect gift-giver? Are you great at gift-giving? The secret to being good at giving gifts is understanding the “love language” of your gift recipient. For example, one of my close friends loves food and gifts in general, so any gift related to food makes her happy. I have given her everything from kitchen utensils, to restaurant gift cards, to food subscriptions. I have another friend, however, who is not much into gifts. He is a practical type person and believes that gifts should be useful. I would never buy him things like expensive gourmet food or movie tickets. In the past I have bought him kitchen utensils (just realizing this may be a go-to gift for me), a sleeping bag for freezing temperatures and a shelf.My point is, there are many love languages. Different people give and receive love in different ways.  Furthermore, love can look different in various life seasons, but I will speak more to this definition of love in my personal piece on this topic. For now, just consider who has best loved you in your life and how they have done so. In the same vein, think about how you like to give and receive love.

Here are some examples of “different kinds of love.” My close friend feels best loved when people cook delicious food for her and give her gifts. Whereas my practical friend talks fondly about feeling loved well by his mom who buys him practical gifts and spends time with him in ways that serve him. Let me explain what I mean by “serve.” My male friend feels loved when people perform what I call “acts of service” for and/or with him. Such acts may include things like: helping him lay tile, helping him work on his truck or planting trees with him in his back yard. He feels loved when those closest to him are willing to serve him or work with him in practical ways.

Oftentimes, people will give love the way they like to receive it without considering the preferences of their recipient. This can lead to missed opportunities to connect, misunderstood intentions and even hurt feelings. It is helpful and important to have some insight about how you view love in order to have healthy and rewarding relationships. Let’s consider some basic love questions to get you thinking about your definition of love. Try to reflect on these questions as we continue to celebrate the New Year and look forward to the “love holiday”—Valentine’s Day.

  • Who has loved you best in life?
  • What specifically did the people you mentioned in question #1 do to make you feel loved?
  • How do you most often show others you love them?
  • How do you like others to show you they love you?
  • Do you try and figure out your loved ones’ “love languages”?
  • Who is one person you would like to experience more feelings of love with in 2017?

These are some questions to get you thinking about your relationships as 2017 gets underway. And all of these questions are wonderful topics to explore and discuss with an Orlando licensed mental health counselor in a safe, supportive and therapeutic environment. If you are wanting more out of your most important relationships, or are struggling with major conflict or stressors, a counselor can help you. Talking and learning about the role of love in your life in both the past and present is essential for you to create meaningful, lasting relationships where both parties feel heard, understood and you guessed it—LOVED. Don’t wait!  Call Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862.  We offer individual, couples and family counseling.


Yolanda Brailey