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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Family

Mama Bear Moxie: Learning your love language

By Kristina Phelan For The Spokesman-Review

Do you know your love language? If not, I highly recommend the book, “The Five Love Languages,” by Gary Chapman. I read it many years back and I probably reference the book multiple times a week. The book describes the different ways people show and receive love. It is a great to read if you have a child that you just don’t quite understand or a family member that bewilders you at every family gathering. “The Five Love Languages” really narrows down the complexity of people into five different ways they show or receive love: gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, physical touch and acts of service.

Giving gifts has always been something that I enjoy doing. I take pride in finding that perfect gift. It is an elusive art that takes years of trial and error, and I am far from being good at it. However, I have tried to tap into this love language of mine that helps me show my love for others. Gift giving is hard though. If it isn’t one of your love languages, it can be downright tough. Trying to find something you think one person would like can cause an immense amount of stress and anxiety. We label different people in our family “hard to buy for,” but I would argue those people really aren’t that hard to figure out: we just probably don’t know them well enough yet. You have to really know someone’s likes, dislikes and personality to give them that perfect gift.

Have you ever received a gift from someone unexpectedly? How did you react?

It is those gifts that really stand out in my life. Those gifts that you don’t deserve that are beyond generous, that really make you stop and think. In our culture, our immediate reaction to receiving such a monumental gift is to politely refuse it. We think too much about the sacrifice involved in the gift and don’t want to cause such a commotion in actually receiving the gift.

A wise man once told me, “You honor the giver by always receiving the gift.” That piece of advice has been crucial in my life and we have been incredibly blessed by the generosity of others. Many times I have thought that the gift was too much, but I have remembered these wise words in that honoring the giver requires receiving the gift. When you refuse a gift, no matter the reasoning, you are really refusing the love of that person.

Honor the giver and receive the gift.

Kristina Phelan is a former Spokane-area resident now living in Illinois who writes about family and faith. Contact her at kristina@mamabearmoxie. com or visit her website at

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