Expressing our affection for others in ways we would appreciate ourselves is a common mistake. My mother relates the story of her disgust when given a Daisy air gun as a young girl one Christmas! We, too, can easily miss the mark with our intended generosity by not speaking the others' 'love language'. Dr. Gary Chapman espouses 5 love languages in his books: words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, affection and gifts. If we understand and apply this concept of truly thinking from the recipient's perspective, we are apt to become better givers and more appreciative recipients. I initially applied the love language concept as a parent to communicate love more deeply to my children, but it's also useful between adults to express our care for each other.
The concept of reciprocal love is deeply rooted in Jewish and Christian faiths. Time and again, 'I will be their God, and they will be my people' recurs in the Bible. Although it is not a relationship of equals, our dedicated, heartfelt response is deemed an acceptable gift by our creator who knows and loves us intimately.
Isn't heartfelt, reciprocal love what we all really want from our family and friends? Is there someone in your circle who would appreciate hearing their love language spoken by you today? Even if it's not exactly right, they're likely to appreciate the effort. Why not give it a go?