Do you share your love with touch, hugs, closeness, gifts, words, acts of service, or spending time together?
How do you make-up after a fight?
Where do you go on dates?
How do you play with your kids?
What’s your favourite way to give and receive love?
Do your kids and partner have different favourites?
I asked parents to share their stories to celebrate love and connection on Family Matters. This blog and the podcast below is a collection of what I received along with some songs and quotes.
Thank you Malcolm, Settia, and Kathy for sharing your live stories and reminding us all about the importance of regular one-on-one dates with someone we love. I enjoyed your stories about the subtle and obvious ways we show our love.
Listen and read about very simple ways couples and parents and kids can regularly connect throughout the day or go on fun dates with each other. Did you know that family members give and receive love differently?
I hope you’ll agree that we need love. We need to trust we matter and that someone’s thinking about us. Perhaps these stories will inspire you to share your love with someone today.
Living Valentines (unknown author)
To see a couple hand-in-hand,
Considerate and sweet,
Lost in a glow that’s all their own,
Makes hearts pick up a beat.
What matters if the wind my blow
And bring the winter’s chill?
Or if snow drifts the country lanes,
Ice sparkles on the sills?
No frozen earth or icy stream
Can be too deep and wide,
Or bring a gloom into a room
If hearts are warm inside.
Most parents say that play is their favourite way to connect and feel love. What better way to connect than to goof around with your kids!
If you’re wondering what is YOUR love language, check out The 5 Love Languages.
I remember one of my favourite dates with my husband. We took a weekend afternoon off, arranged childcare for our four kids, and went to the Ontario Science Centre.
I remember going there when I was a kid and we visit with our kids regularly because we had a family membership. However, it was SO much fun to play and explore with my husband…just the two of us. We could go where the kids typically don’t like to go. We could take our time and talk about what we were doing. We held hands, giggled, took goofy pictures of our date, and had a picnic lunch. What a blast!
Cindy, a mother of two girls ages 9 and 11, writes: I guess when I think of love and connection I think of how my husband and I connect on some level every day; whether it’s a quick “how’s your day?” email, or a phone call throughout the day just to say “Hi”. We also connect every evening when I get home from work. We take time to spend at least a half hour talking about our day, which helps us to unwind.
I absolutely love connecting with my children in many different ways. I love snuggling on the couch to watch a movie or a show together, or snuggling up with a good book. Both daughters have confessed to me that they love connecting with me one on one, especially in the car if it’s just the two of us.
The summer has always been the best times of connection, because we are outside playing a lot. In the colder months, when it starts feeling a bit stuffy in the house, I love taking my children out. Some of our favourite places are the library, the community pool, and of course to the mall. Our library just completed a wonderful renovation and my youngest daughter and I went to the grand opening together. We found a couple of good books and a secluded spot tucked by a large window and we sat there and read our books together. I asked my kids the other day what “dates” they remember and loved doing together, and they both agreed that going for pedicures was the best date. It’s a bit of an expensive date, so we don’t do it very often, but we certainly have fun giggling and connecting while sitting there for an hour being pampered. Here’s a picture of our beautiful toes!
Eternal Valentine by Dan A. Hoover
Did you know each passing minute
Makes me love you more and more?
How I listen through the hours
For our footsteps at the door.
If, because life is so busy,
I have not renewed my vow.
Let me, on this day of lovers,
Do it most sincerely now.
Jacqueline wrote, I am inspired to write to you as part of my ongoing effort to reconnect with my three teens and busy husband. With our passionate personalities in our house, relationships can be volatile. I was given some advice from a professional counsellor. She suggested that I give to others what I need most.
So, I am aiming this season to listen.
You asked what is our favourite way to give and receive love. I love to listen and feel most loved when I am listened to with respect and genuine interest. I can see, in hindsight’s clearer perspective, that my family’s passions flare most dangerously when our hearts, minds and attention are disconnected. Our first reaction to hurt is often to voice our hurt persistently and put up barriers to listening; barriers that disconnect our love. My best moments as a parent and wife have been when I stopped talking and showed that I was listening. It is amazing how good it feels to connect that way; to see love realized in your teens eyes or feel your husband’s body relax and loose its stress. Wow! Thanks for asking the question; it’s a sign of a good listener.
Marie Therese says, I show my love through laughter!!! If, for a little while, I can hear and see the laughter, from my two sons, my day is perfect. I skyped with my two sons and sister not long ago. We were acting silly, putting different accessories on our heads and faces. It was heavenly! Then my oldest son silenced my voice somehow and I didn’t know about it. He could still see me. I was talking away and all they could see was my lips moving with no sound. By the time I figured out what he had done, I wasn’t impressed, but not mad either. The reason being is that they were laughing wholeheartedly, like I remembered, when they were small and carefree!! I thanked them for the lovely memory!! Thanks for letting me share this little story Wendy. That made me a very happy Mother!! xo
Instead of getting caught up in a power struggle when your kids start to fight, try your hand at play as long as your kids are up for that too.
For example, when one child says “He looked at me!” in a provocative tone, try playing along by saying, “OH! He didn’t look at ME. He looked at you?! Nobody looks at me! Boo Hoo. Nobody loves me.”
Amy wrote, I was upset with my teenage daughter for messing up the living room and got harsh with her. After we made up, we hugged for a long time. Also, since she hates school, I took her out of school early and we went shopping for girl stuff she needed and a then to Nordstrom’s for a late lunch for me and a dessert for her.
Recently, I heard Dr. Lawrence Cohen, a psychologist, author of Playful Parenting, and consultant talk about loosening the knots of tension. He uses the metaphor of a “tightening knot” to help describe what moments like bedtime, separation, rules, homework, chores, losing at games, taking medicine, and the issues of fairness or being first feel like. These are moments of stress, when our emotional cups are empty. Any punishment, coercion, talking or teaching will tighten the knot.
What loosens the knots of tension?
Unexpected responses like singing in opera, play, laughter, and empathy can help loosen the knot.
Dr. Cohen encourages us to tune into our children.
Play is never making fun of another person. It’s fun for all.
If you notice that it isn’t fun, then stop and switch strategies. Be curious, flexible, and willing to listen.
Aired live: Sunday, February 10th, 2013 0800-0900 Eastern Standard Time on CFRU 93.3 FM, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Listen to Pod Cast (click on the link to listen or save this MP3 to your computer)