Elizabeth: I am so thrilled to introduce you to a dear friend, Allison Bontrager! Allison is a gem of a friend, a dynamic example of loving & living for Jesus, and her passion for encouraging her 9 siblings has hugely impacted my life. Allison has uncovered what each of her sibling’s love languages is and I asked her to share some tips with us today. Get excited!
WHAT ARE “LOVE LANGUAGES”
Love languages are specific ways of demonstrating and feeling love. There are five different love languages- quality time, physical touch, gifts, acts of service, and affirming words. Gary Chapman, the original developer of the concept of love languages, says:
“there are five emotional love languages — five ways that people speak and understand emotional love.”
Although this concept was originally developed with marriage in mind, it has proven to be revolutionary in other family relationships as well.
HOW CAN THEY BE HELPFUL WHILE BLESSING YOUR BROTHERS
For me, the concept of the five love languages was revolutionary in learning what made my brothers feel loved. With six brothers, I didn’t just have to shoot in the dark anymore, but I could know specific ways to make each of them feel loved. And since some of the things that make them feel most loved vary a lot with my different brothers, it has been super helpful in cultivating our relationships.
HOW CAN A GIRL FIGURE OUT HER BROTHER’S LOVE LANGUAGE
Honestly, I would highly recommend every family to take the “Five Love Languages” test together. If your whole family isn’t interested, it could be a fun sibling activity as well. There are various tests available for download online, and this has been something my family has had a lot of fun doing on several occasions. You can choose a test particular to your life stage- child, single, or married. After you take the test, you can figure out what your top one or two “love language”, or favorite ways of receiving love, are. You will likely score considerably higher on one or two.
WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF WAYS TO BLESS EACH LOVE LANGUAGE
Physical Touch: I have several brothers that score high on physical touch, and they absolutely love back rubs! They also enjoy good-night hugs, and putting an arm around me (or vice versa). I guess I would recommend figuring out what your brother likes, if this is his love language. Back rubs, especially if he’s sore after a long days work or hard workout, might be something he really appreciates!
Quality Time: This one is pretty straightforward- just spend time with him! Coffee dates, or just taking time to have random talks around the house, are awesome. You might even plan a dinner or shopping date together. This is something I’ve done, and it’s always so fun! I love a good Scheels date with a brother anytime!
Acts of Service: I discovered awhile back that one of my younger brothers feels super loved by acts of service. Honestly, some of the most loving things I can do for him is to promptly and cheerfully give him haircuts when needed, randomly make him a batch of his favorite protein bars, or serve him his favorite foods on purpose. This is something I would especially emphasize for you sisters- make your brothers’ favorite foods even if they’re different from yours!
Gifts: Who doesn’t love gifts?! For people whose primary love language is gifts, it really isn’t about the size or cost of the gift. Sometimes it’s just receiving something special, even if it’s just gum, that means the most! Get creative, and with brothers, this isn’t too hard. Some favorites with a certain little brother of mine are rubber bands, books, fruit, chocolate…really anything food! Next time you’re at Walmart, grab their favorite fruit or candy, and leave it somewhere for them to randomly find. You will make their day!
Affirming Words: Notes are a great way to express affirming words. I love to leave notes for my brothers. If you’re not sure what to say, tell them something you love about them, or remind them what an amazing man they are! If you have older brothers with phones, a simple text to tell them you’re praying for them or that you’re proud of them can mean the world. This is especially great if you don’t spend as much time together due to different jobs/schedules.
WHAT’S ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR BROTHERS
Well I love to do anything with my brothers, but working together is one of my favorites! There is nothing like enjoying the process and fruit of hard work side by side! Another thing I absolutely love to do with my brothers is have random evening chats, usually accompanied by yummy food. The other night I ended up in the kitchen with a few of my brothers, and we had a random cereal party and chat. Hiking is something else we absolutely love to do together!
[Allison is blessed with 6 brothers and 3 of her favorite things to do with them are working together, having random evening chats, and hiking. Allison is the owner of Psalm 62 Shoppe, hosts retreats for young women in Mexico & the States, tours with her family’s singing ministry, and shares writing on her new blog: From Allison.]
p.s. Don’t forget to enter the welcome giveaway of ice dream with your brothers before it ends on Wednesday!