The following article, from TeachingHome , I am able to reprint in its entirety. I'm glad, because it's a good one. It made me think about how I treat my family and others.
Practical Ways To Show Love
by Cindy Short and Sue Welch
"Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth" (1 John 3:18).
Show love (and teach your children to do so also) in the following ways on Valentine's Day ? and all year long.
Words are a very powerful way to express feelings.
The more specific your words, the more meaningful they are. Tell your loved one how much you love him, how important he is to you, and how much you appreciate certain of his attributes or actions.
Look for ways to express what is in your heart in either spoken or written words on a regular basis.
God used words to tell us how much He loves us. We can use words in prayer and songs of praise to tell God that we love Him.
A traditional Valentine (or other occasion) card can be bought or creatively hand made.
Daily Words of Love
Establish the habit of saying something kind to each member of your family every day. Maybe as you are saying goodnight, you could thank them for specific contributions they made to the family that day, commend their acts of thoughtfulness and kindness, and tell them something you appreciate about them. This can become a special time that your family will look forward to each night and can make a difference in attitudes and actions within the family.
Praise to Others
Let your loved ones hear you praising them to others.
A hand-written letter can be (and usually is) kept and cherished for life. Write to your husband, children, and loved ones to tell them of your love; your hopes, aspirations, and prayers for their future; etc.
Phone calls are very inexpensive now. You can call a friend across the country and have a 20-minute visit for under $1. Just a short time to catch up on news and let your friend know that you are praying for her and that you value your friendship can be a tremendous and needed encouragement.
Sharing the Good News of Salvation
If you truly love someone that isn't saved, you will want to give them the Gospel. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16).
Time spent together focusing on your loved one, his needs, and his interests is a genuine act of love. Just being together is the best gift you can give to those you love.
In your family, this can be made a regular routine, such as:
? Arrange to drop everything and spend the first 10-15 minutes with your husband when he gets home or go on a walk together. Do not monopolize the time with your concerns; listen to the report of his day.
? Schedule time alone, even 5-10 minutes, with each of your children each day. One suggestion is to have a helper with you for each of your tasks such as cooking, laundry, errands, etc. Use the time together to visit, talk about his interests, but especially to listen to your child.
? Invite a friend or family over for a meal or a neighbor in for a cup of tea.
? Visit a shut-in and ask him to share something about his life.
? And don't forget to spend time with the Lord each day!
It really is the thought that counts ? your gifts do not need to be large or expensive to be valued as a tangible expression of your affection.
Small purchased or handmade gifts that show your thoughtfulness could include flowers, a pen or pencil, a hair clip or piece of jewelry, a pot holder, a tool, a wallet, an item to add to a favorite collection, framed photo, bookmark, handkerchief, favorite food, etc.
Gifts can remind your loved one of your love for him as he sees and uses the gift.
For those in real need, a more practical or substantial gift would be appropriate. "But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?" (1 John 3:17).
4. Acts of Service
Serving the needs of a loved one really shows that you care.
Do one of your loved one's regular chores, run an errand, do something he hasn't had time to do, sew on a button or mend a garment, notice something he needs and bring it to him, etc.
Opportunities for service to those outside your family might include providing a meal, running errands, doing yard work, or providing child care for the sick, shut-ins, busy home-school mothers, etc.
5. Physical Touch
? Hugs, kisses, and other shows of affection are appropriate for family members.
? A hand shake or hug for a member of the same gender is appropriate for others.
The Five Love Languages
Read more about the ways that you can show love to others in these three books by Gary Chapman:
Copyright 2009 by www.TeachingHome.com. Reprinted by permission.
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