15 Ways to Love More Effectively

Today is Valentine’s Day, the day set apart to shower the special people in your life with all the love they deserve. If you’re scrambling to find that perfect way to demonstrate your affection beyond the usual heart-shaped cards or box of chocolates, I understand. Wanting others to know what they mean to you is … Continue reading 15 Ways to Love More Effectively

Today is Valentine’s Day, the day set apart to shower the special people in your life with all the love they deserve. If you’re scrambling to find that perfect way to demonstrate your affection beyond the usual heart-shaped cards or box of chocolates, I understand.

Wanting others to know what they mean to you is great, but expressing it can be a challenge.

A few years ago, my wife wrote a lesson in which she detailed the importance of loving people according to what Dr. Gary Chapman referred to as their “primary love language.” In summary, we all give and receive love differently; to one person, a hug is enough to brighten a morning; to another, a surprise home-cooked meal is more meaningful than the shiniest jewelry.

I decided to add to her wisdom by providing a list of 15 simple and effective ways to love people according to the five love languages. If you are unsure how to identify someone’s primary love language, I encourage you to read Joy’s post—or have your friends and family take the online quiz.

Words of Affirmation

A well-timed compliment often has the power to make a words-of-affirmation person’s day. For them, the more specific, the better. They don’t merely need to know that they are amazing—they need to know why.

1. Scatter loving and encouraging notes across the house, in their car, or in their packed lunch.

2. Compile a list of 15-20 of your favorite things about them, and read it aloud.

3. Observe what they seem insecure about and point your affirmation in that direction.

Acts of Service

Nothing says “I love you” to people who value service like going out of your way to do something you don’t enjoy just because you care about them. Loving these people will vary depending on their circumstances, but here are some timeless ideas.

1. Wash their car. If possible, do so while they’re sleeping or otherwise preoccupied so their clean car will be a surprise.

2. Make their favorite meal when they least expect it.

3. Offer to run an errand for a busy or overwhelmed friend.

Gifts

For these people, a dozen red roses will certainly not suffice. They need to know that you put thought into a gift, and that you were willing to go through the extra effort to pick something out just for them.

1.  For a spouse or an old friend, find a gift that is reminiscent of a particularly joyful time in your relationship (i.e. an old record that you listened to as teenagers, a piece of jewelry from where you went on a vacation or honeymoon, etc.).

2. Give little things throughout the day or week and at unexpected times. Many gifts, regardless of cost, are usually more meaningful for gift-oriented people than one large, expensive present.

3. For those who never stop talking about a certain band or TV show, consider buying them fan merchandise (t-shirt, mug, etc.). It will likely result in a good laugh and show that you listen and care about their interests.

Quality Time

This is the love language that can be easily whisked aside when life gets busy. It’s important to recognize that even if you only have 20 minutes to spend with someone, you can make it count.

1.  Make a lunch or breakfast “date” with your child or grandparent, and let them choose the place, even if it’s a place you don’t like.

2. Make spending time together a habit. Whether it means having a short coffee break with your husband every afternoon or lunch with your daughter every Thursday, regularly blocking out time is a great way to ensure these people feel loved and appreciated.

3. Give them your full attention when you’re together: ask pointed questions, put your phone down, and listen well.

Physical Touch

Loving these people often requires making simple and conscious choices throughout the day to ensure that they feel connected, even when it doesn’t come naturally for you.

1. Sit close to them when you’re watching a movie or TV show.

2. Give a foot or back massage (when appropriate, of course).

3. Hug them. This may seem simple, but even if you’re not a hugger, make a point to properly embrace those in your life who are.

My Challenge

Healthy relationships are essential to a meaningful life. Don’t let loving others take the back seat to your career and ambitions. Find a balance and a way to not just love, but to love well. I encourage you to discover the love language of those closest to you and start applying these tips.

Do you have any additional ideas or experiences on loving people according to their love language? Please share in the comments below.

The most important relationships in your life are with your family members and close friends.  Love these people they way they need to feel your love. 

How to Get Life’s Winds Blowing at Your Back

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to get all the breaks?  They have the perfect spouse, the rich parents, the ideal job or business, the big beautiful home, and the nice car. Everything seems to be going their way. 30 years ago when I married my wife Joy, she said one of the … Continue reading How to Get Life’s Winds Blowing at Your Back

Better Life TrailHave you ever wondered why some people seem to get all the breaks?  They have the perfect spouse, the rich parents, the ideal job or business, the big beautiful home, and the nice car. Everything seems to be going their way.

30 years ago when I married my wife Joy, she said one of the first things she was going to teach her children is that life is not fair. Like many children coming from broken homes, she grew up in an unhealthy environment and life wasn’t fair.

Why do some people get all the breaks?

On a recent trip, I was reading the manuscript for John Addison’s new book, Real Leadership. John shares his story of how he went from a young confused high school graduate working an entry-level position at a life insurance company to becoming the Co-CEO of Primerica, one of America’s top life insurance companies.

As he shared his story, he talked about how he never seemed to know what his future would look like. When he graduated high school, he had no idea what he would do for a living and still didn’t know after college. 

He said he just focused on being a better person every day, a lesson his mom taught him, and making good decisions.

Here’s exactly what he said.

“I believe one of the great keys to a successful life is incremental improvement. It’s not about going from where you are today to moving into a mansion with five swimming pools tomorrow. It’s not about “quantum leaps” or the big dramatic breakthrough. Those are great for Hollywood films, where the filmmaker has only two hours to get the hero from Point A to Point Z.

But back here in reality, where life’s major changes and plot points are measured in years rather than minutes, it’s about day-by-day personal improvement, finding your pathway, one step at a time, to where you want to go. Exciting? No. Dramatic? Hardly. But it does have the advantage of being “real”—and over time it can indeed lead to events both dramatic and exciting.

And there’s the rub: time.

Incremental improvement doesn’t happen automatically, and it sure doesn’t happen swiftly. You have to commit to it over a lengthy period of time, and that takes a certain amount of character and spine.

A lot of people try to short-circuit the process by jumping around, zigging and zagging through life. They’re too impatient, too unfocused, or too willing to follow the next shiny new idea that comes along. Tapping into the great power of incremental improvement takes patience, persistence, and faith. The payoff is well more than worth it.”

While reading John’s book, I began reflecting on my life, my wife’s life, and the lives of those who have life’s winds blowing at their backs. I realized there was one common thread woven through all these lives: they are lived by humble people who are trying to get better every day.

How to start getting all the breaks?

No matter what you’re going through or how bad things have been, today can mark the beginning of a new chapter in your life.

You don’t need to know where you are going or what your life will look like 10 years from now. All you need to do is commit to getting better every day.

Here’s who John Addison said gets the breaks.

“The shaping events in your life, those moments that in hindsight prove to be crucial turning points, are often events that just seem to happen, out of the blue, the chance confluence of unpredictable circumstances. But the truth is, they don’t “just happen.” Most times, they happen because you’re taking action in the direction of your why. You may not be able to plan the results, but that’s okay: If you keep moving forward, focusing on incremental improvement, you’ll put yourself in their path.

This is one of the most deceptively simple leadership secrets there is: keep moving forward. People won’t follow you if you’re sitting in the corner sucking your thumb and talking about how bad things are. They’ll only follow you if you’re going somewhere.”

The process begins with our decisions.

While there will always be exceptions, in large part our lives are a reflection of our decisions.  My mentor Jim Rohn said, “Success comes from a series of good decisions made over time, while failure comes from a series of poor decisions made over time.”

If we want to improve our lives, we must improve our decisions.  It’s really that simple. 

Every day we make hundreds of little decisions, each influencing one or more areas of our lives. The good news is you know the right answer to 99% of those decisions. The bad news is most of them don’t bring immediate pleasure or rewards.

When you start making decisions to eat the foods you should and avoid those you shouldn’t, you will become healthier.

When you start exercising regularly because you know you should, you will have more energy, lose weight, and feel better about yourself.

When you start bringing more value to your place of work than you are being paid, new doors of opportunity will open.

When you start doing the little things to be a better spouse, your marriage will grow.

When you start focusing on the ways you can become a better parent, your relationship with your children will blossom. 

When you start becoming a more responsible person, people’s respect for you will grow.

While I can’t guarantee many things, I can guarantee you this: if you focus on getting better EVERY day, life’s winds will begin blowing at your back. 

Like everyone, you will face rough seas as you navigate through life, but if you build your life on a foundation of humility, character, and personal growth, you will survive life’s storms a stronger person.

Start today

Let me challenge you to start being intentional about doing the little things each day that you know you should do, especially those you don’t want to do. 

Each time you do something you would not have done previously, pat yourself on the back.  Don’t look to others to congratulate you on your good decisions, instead congratulate yourself.  It’s your life!

As you continue to push yourself each day to get better, your self-confidence will begin to grow. As you start feeling better about the person you are becoming, you will be even more motivated to continue growing and getting better.

Life’s greatest rewards don’t go to those who are lucky. They go to those who have paid the price over many years.