I do not believe you can over-love people. Sometimes it’s quiet and subtle, and other times it’s loud and, in my case, obnoxious.
The ever-inspiring Bob Goff, author of Love Does, says, “Do not save up love like you’re trying to retire on it. Give it away like you are made of it.”
I want my family to be so saturated in my love that there is no doubt in their minds about where my heart is.
Last night during dinner, I asked my family, “When do you feel most loved by me?” I expected a reference to those nights when I snuggle in bed and explain with my words how very much I adore them. But that was not the case.
My teenager daughter began, “When I’m stressed out cramming for an exam, you sit at the foot of my bed and read a book. I know you’re only doing that to encourage me, but your presence really does calm me down.”
My 11-year-old son chimed in, “When you put a note in my lunch box saying you’re praying for my math test, and you draw pictures of Minecraft figures. I know you hate video games, so you only do that because you love me.”
My youngest son then added, “I know you love me when you tickle my back even though I’m all sweaty from soccer practice.”
I almost skipped my husband’s turn when he jumped in and said, “I feel most loved by you when you stop what you’re doing and look me in the eye when we’re having a conversation. Your undeterred gaze makes me feel loved.”
I froze with the sobering realization that my actions are an opportunity to communicate love to my family, but I often miss it. I didn’t understand the effect of my gaze on my husband or my presence on my teenager. I had forgotten the power of connection established through engaging in my son’s interests even if it does involve a video game. And what a reminder that physical touch can make us feel loved.
These 28 gestures are simply fun, memorable ways to infuse love into your family. Combine
them with quiet, intimate moments of intentionality to fill your loved ones’ love tanks
1. Tell your children how much you absolutely adore being their mommy.
2. Enter your child’s world for an afternoon. Let him teach you how to master Minecraft or
perfect a cartwheel.
3. Make your man a card. He will appreciate your thoughtfulness, even if it isn’t a
4. Refer to your husband or wife as your boyfriend or girlfriend in front of your children.
Watch them giggle.
5. Leave love notes for your children on their pillows.
6. When you are in the line to drop your child off at school, keep driving. Have a
parent/child day doing all of your favorite things.
7. Surprise your husband at work. Give him a simple kiss and then leave.
8. Have your children write a list of what they love about their siblings, then exchange lists.
9. Playfully tackle your little ones and smother them in kisses.
10. Throw in some tickles for some extra fun (even my 12-year-old lines up for this).
11. Look your loved ones in the eyes every time they speak.
12. Remember your teenagers still need your hugs and physical touch.
13. Talk about unconditional love. Explain that nothing your children ever do can make you
love them any more or less than you do now.
14. Leave “I love you” sticky notes in unexpected places.
15. Call your mom or grandma, and thank her for the ways she has been a role model for you.
16. Show up at school unexpectedly with a special lunch treat.
17. Let your children catch you flirting with your spouse.
18. Have a girls’ day with your daughter and get your fingernails painted together.
19. Leave sweet notes around your child’s room for them to discover.
20. Buy something pretty for your husband’s eyes only.
21. Tell your kids funny stories about when they were babies.
22. When your child is talking back, model gentleness, kindness, and, most of all, love.
23. Leave an encouraging note on your spouse’s laptop.
24. Add a memorable touch to activities you are already doing together. My tough guys have
been doing devotions and story time in the attic … just because.
25. Send text messages throughout the day that each start with, “I love you because …”
26. Ask your child what specific thing she would like you to do or say to fill her love tank.
27. Send notes in their lunchboxes so they know you are thinking about them and excited to
see them again.
28. Love extravagantly, even when it’s hard. Whether through a gentle whisper or heartfelt
action, may our families know the depth of our love.