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164R | What Are The 5 Love Languages?

Learn about the five love languages and how they can help you communicate with your partner better.

The five love languages are: words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, quality time, and physical touch. Use these languages to think about Valentine’s Day through a new lens.


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Transcription Of The Show

Jonathan: In today’s episode, we’re gonna do a deep dive into the five love languages and talk about communication in the context of Valentine’s Day. How to give your significant other your partner, your spouse, your friend the perfect gift. We’re going to analyze and reclaim the Hallmark holiday and then figure out how to leverage these types of conversations and this understanding of your partner to have more fulfilling communication in every other aspect of your life.

Jonathan: Welcome to ChooseFI.

Jonathan: All right, everyone, you know, kind of over this season’s sporadically we’ve been hitting this idea of communication, communication with a spouse, partner, friend, and we’ve done it through the lens of the four tendencies, most recently with Gretchen Rubin and also with Larry Hagler from the Dad Edge podcast talking about financial intimacy. And I think over the last several months I have heard Brad mention no less than four times the impact of one book, The Five Love Languages. And after kind of delay, delay, delay on that, because we wanted to do a little prep around it, we thought with the Hallmark holiday right around the corner, a.ka. Valentine’s Day, we could spend a little bit of time here. So with that to help me with this I have my co-host Brad here with me today. How ya’ doin’, buddy?

Brad: Hey, Jonathan, I’m doing quite well. Yeah, it’s hard to believe, actually, that the Hallmark holiday, as you called, is right around the corner. And this has been a fast first month of the year. It’s hard to believe. January has come and gone. But, yeah, I mean, a lot of people at this point, whether in the FI community or out, are thinking about Valentine’s Day and what does that look like?

Brad: What do you spend? What’s appropriate? Right. Or what other types of nonsense words people use to describe how you show your love? Right. And I think at its essence, that is really what we’re talking about here. How do you show your love? How do you show your appreciation? And I think that’s the beauty of this book, The Five Love Languages that I was introduced to by my wife Laura and actually by Larry Hagler of the Dad Edge podcast.

Brad: So it’s always nice, and we talked about this with Gretchen Rubin. It’s always interesting to learn more about where other people are coming from and what lights them up. I think we go through the world and we go through life thinking that we are the center of the universe. Right. Just by definition, because we’re in our own heads 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for hopefully a hundred years. Right. So you think of everyone else around you as these actors that here in this play that centering around you. But what you don’t realize and I’m saying this tongue in cheek, of course. But what you don’t realize is that.

Brad: How you look at the world isn’t necessarily an almost by definition is not how everyone else looks at the world. And I think this was a huge realization for me in my own life. I mean, I think I at some point I was maybe that self-centered person who said, oh, it’s so logical. How could you not look at it like this? This X situation or Y situation. But then you realize there are people are approaching it from entirely different mindsets, motivations, and just approaches. I mean, I don’t know how else to put it other than people just see the world differently. And Jonathan, anytime that you see something like this, The Five Love languages or Four Tendencies. Most recently, it does give you a greater appreciation for that.

Jonathan: I think you’re right. And I think so. It’s not just me and you two bozos talking into a microphone by ourselves. I thought also, M.K., we could include you in this conversation also. Have you read The Five Love Languages?

M.K.: Yes. So, Jason, I did The Five Love Languages together as a couple when we were still dating, so maybe a year in or so. And just to, you know, keep growing, keep working together. And then when we got engaged, we received three copies.

Jonathan: The most over gifted book.

M.K.: Yes. But it was good. People knew that it was a good book to go through. So we already knew our love languages. So we were able to read gift those to others who could use it. But we definitely reference this book quite often. And every once in awhile we’ll just say, hey, how’s your love tank doing? Which is a phrase that comes from The Five Love Languages to make sure the other person is is doing well. They’re getting what they need. So we definitely make use of this concept.

Jonathan: Very cool. Well, we don’t have Gary Chapman on the show today. So we’ll just have to do our best without him. But I do think there’s an awesome conversation here. I think actually that absence will allow us to have a little bit of flexibility with this and really tailor this conversation towards Valentine’s Day. I think there’s a couple ways to approach Valentine’s Day. There’s the traditional way, which is just do whatever society tells you to do. There’s a lot of pink and red involved and triple the cost of whatever something would cost normally really, really high expectations. Or on the other end of this, there’s a lot of cynicism like we just don’t do anything. We don’t think about it. No, it’s a consumer holiday. Absolutely not. Would never do. And I think there’s some kind of sweet spot in the middle which says that we have an opportunity to tell our loved ones that we notice them, that we love them and we appreciate them. And you’re certainly are not limited, nor should you limit this to Valentine’s Day. In fact, I would even maybe make the case in my final thoughts that we do it outside of the specific window.

Jonathan: But we’ll come back to that later. But since Valentine’s Day is here, this is an excuse for us to kind of explore this and think through how we’re kind of sharing our affection or our love in a way that mirrors up to another person’s love language. So that brings me to a slight, Brad, I am oddly prepared for today’s episode. In fact, I think in the history of ChooseFI, I have never come to an episode with notes. And so Andrew, why don’t you throw that slideshow up on the screen here. What’d you got for us? There it is. Look at that. That’s a slideshow. It says The Five Love Languages.

Brad: That’s very impressive. It looks like it took a lot of time to come up with those three words.

Jonathan: That’s like three words. This will be on the YouTube channel.

Jonathan: You’ll laugh with me if you’re on the YouTube channel. But no, I thought we could kind of go through this. So the five loving languages is actually broken up into kind of ways that people show their affection or receive affection. And I did not include these in the order that they’re in the book necessarily. If they are in order that they are in the book, then that’s total coincidence. But I thought we could kind of go through these and we could do one. Brad, kind of have you explain what different love languages are. And we’ll start with this one. Acts of service first and then two, we can kind of break away from that and explore what that might look like in the context of Valentine’s Day.

Brad: Yeah. Jonathan, that sounds great and I just wanted to take a step back and I thought we would define what these five love languages are. So the first is acts of service, then words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, and physical touch. So those are the five and like you said. Let’s start with acts of service as the first one here.

Jonathan: Now, I think in the book they actually qualify that some are larger than others, you know, kind of just like in the four tendencies obligers and questioners are more common than rebels and upholders. Right. So kind of with the love languages. You see this as well. Acts of service, I believe. Brad, you were telling me that acts of service was one of the smaller categories. But in summary, and someone whose love language is acts of service, this love language would basically be it would include anything that you would do to ease the burden of responsibility. I think that’s actually the quote. So like an example of that might be. You thinking about what this other person takes on and then you doing that to take this off their plate, right.

Brad: So like mowing the lawn or cleaning the dishwasher, washing the clothes, those types of things. So that would be an act of service.

Brad: Now, interestingly, Jonathan, and when M.K. said my love tank. Right. And that’s an interesting little quirky phrase.

Brad: But it’s important to note here from the outset of this that while if you’re doing these things right, an active service, I think by any definition is a nice thing. And there’s no arguing that. But I think what’s really essential is you’re looking to speak the love language of your partner or the person in question here.

Brad: Right. It might even be your kids. Right. So when you’re communicating I know when I communicate with my daughter, Anna, I know that she is a words of affirmation person.

Brad: And we’ll get to this in a minute. But that’s the lens with which I approach communication with her now. So I think that’s the essential piece here, is that while an active service, like I said, is almost undeniably a good thing, if that is not the love language of the person in question, they’re not going to do backflips thanking you over and over again because it’s not hitting them as if it were their love language. They’ll be appreciative, but it’s not essential for, again, that kind of love tank to be filled. Let’s say.

Jonathan: Yeah. That’s very interesting. So I really I think it makes it so interesting and compelling to pair this with this Hallmark holiday. Right. Because if we’re gonna give someone a gift and we’re tying it to this, you know, arbitrary date in February. Our gift is really intended to say is that we love you, we appreciate you, we recognize you.

Jonathan: And if you’re just assuming like if you’re not really thinking about their love language like “man, if I just did all your work for you. Everything that you normally do during the day I just go through and do that.” But that’s not their love language. You get no credit. It might be a great thing to do. Just generally make for a better marriage, better relationship, whatever. But in terms of giving a gift to someone.

Jonathan: Then you really need to think about it. On the other side of that, if you can think about it like, “Oh, wow, they do really appreciate it when I do stuff.” You could dial that to a 10 and that doesn’t cost anything, right? So if you know their love language is acts of service, why would you spend money on a card? A seven dollar hallmark card when you could instead look through their list of things that they do every single day and say, you know what? Today, I want to take on the vacuuming, the cleaning. I want to wash the dishes and fold the clothes. I’m going to put the kids down, and walk the dogs. I’m going to create your favorite restaurant meal at home. Whatever it is. And I want you to experience it. In fact, I just want you to go like get some sort of R and R relaxation event while I’m doing all this. And just I want you to have a restful day.

Jonathan Like, that doesn’t have to cost a whole lot of money. And you are speaking to that person’s soul in a way that a Hallmark card simply can’t if their love language is acts of service. And we’re going to keep exploring all of them. But like as you’re thinking about who this individual is in your life, just know that you can crush the game. Right, and crush the game if you understand what it is that your partner wants and you get benefits when you are trying to communicate in other areas of your life. If your partner one trusts you and then two feels that you appreciate them and know them, understand them as a person.

Brad Right. Right. And like you’re talking about here, approaching it through a FI lens. Through the lens of spending money. Right. Like if acts of service is their love language, then you don’t have to go out and buy fancy things for Valentine’s Day or for any day because they’re not going to value that. Right. That might be someone who is the gift receiving love language. Right. It’s not acts of service. So that person acts of service would clearly appreciate and benefit from you cleaning the dishwasher. Right. More than…

Jonathan: Cleaning the dishwasher? Empty. That’s empty.

Brad: Oh, empty! Oh, boo.

Jonathan: That could be an act of service. Maybe it’s never been cleaned, obviously. But a cleaner?

M.K.: Sometimes you have to clean it.

Brad: Yeah. You got to run some vinegar. I know. I’m just making stuff.

Jonathan: That’s good. That’s good. Well, I actually think that’s a thing.

Brad: That’s a thing?

Jonathan: So M.K., I’m just wondering your thoughts, acts of service?

M.K: Yeah, well, this conversation reminds me. There was a very early episode of ChooseFI  and there was somebody who wrote in saying that his wife really wanted. The dinners out, the Ruth Chris Steakhouse taste is what she had. And then they had this conversation to uncover. She didn’t necessarily want to go out for steak. She just knew when they went out to dinner, the phones were away and they were focused on each other.

Jonathan: Oh, M.K.. You got to look at the slides here. You’re moving into a different love language here. But that’s it. That’s it.

M.K. Exactly. You know what she wanted? It was quality time, which we’ll get to later, which is a love language. But what he was giving her was these gifts of going out to dinner. And so when you have that conversation, you can better align it. So I absolutely agree with the act of service. And yes, you do sometimes have to clean out your dishwasher, not just empty it. You have to clean it.

Brad: Oh, my Long Island, ridiculous. Yeah, sorry.

Jonathan: All right. We’re going to roll through these. And I want to preface this for someone that is like a love language, purists like you might be thinking, well, that is not the order that I read them in the book. And yeah, you’re probably right. I arrange these in a way that was convenient for the story that we wanted to tell today. So number two on this list is words of affirmation. Now, I’ll tell you something, it’s always been very hard for me to identify my own love language, but it’s been very easy for me to see it in others. So I’m just curious, you know, really the value is that you can see what someone else’s love languages is. It’s interesting to know your own. But to see the value that’s useful just because of that. For those of you that say you can’t fit me in a category, fine. Figure out what category someone else goes in. All right. Number two words of affirmation. Brad.

Brad: Yeah. This, I believe, is one of, if not the largest category of the five love languages. This is basically saying nice things about your partner. So it could be as simple as I love you. Right. Starting with that. But also talking about the things that you appreciate about them. I know this is this happens to be my love language, actually, words of affirmation. So I know pretty much anytime somebody says something nice about me, it just feels good. It really does. And I think what I’ve learned about this is it feels better for me than it would for someone who doesn’t have this as their primary love language. So it’s just saying something nice. And again, we talk about cost. It sure doesn’t cost anything to say something nice. So if you know that your partner is working really hard at something or is just doing a great job, go out of your way to just tell them, because that means so much more to them. So it can start with, like it said, something as simple as I love you, but it can get down into the very specific of, wow, you’re working so hard at X. I really appreciate that. It means so much to me. Like what a great job or just anything, right? It could be any of these little things. I appreciate you. Thank you. That was nice of you. All these things, they especially good for people who words of affirmation is their love language.

Jonathan: Yeah, and I think you were hinting at that there, but to even like nailed down low further, it’s the I love you, but it’s actually the reason behind the I love you. Go a little farther with that and actually say, I love you because I notice how much you do this, this and this and you don’t have to. I appreciate your skill at the way you handled that conversation. So it’s not even necessary. I love you. It’s it’s noticing how awesome they are in so many different aspects of life. It’s a way of you expressing verbally your gratitude as opposed to maybe just having a smile on your face. Keep to yourself and you feel warm and fuzzy, but you never tell that individual how much you appreciate them or offer that verbal kindness or affirmation. You’re robbing them of their love language if you don’t do that. And this can be verbal. It could also be written says words of affirmation. What if you did have this listed down later? What if you did a gratitude journal? I heard someone basically say they were feeling kind of bitter and cynical. And so for a month, they just at the end of every day as part of their journaling process, they wrote a single sentence about something that they were grateful for. And in the particular context here, something that they were grateful for about their spouse or their partner. And not only do they feel that changing their soul like, but also it manifested in their actual relationship. Right. Although that person didn’t see that. They just realized that by taking the time to write it down in the Gratitude Journal. But again, now having this person that the other recipient here, their love language is words of affirmation. So right now, when you have this gratitude journal that you’re working on for a month, you’re keeping to yourself that’s not feeding that person’s love language. But what if you took those 30 days of gratitude? You bundle those up and you gave it to this person as a Valentine’s Day present over the last 30 days, as we know every single day, I took some time to just mark down and write down a notice. Was something about you that I love or something about you that I appreciated. And this is my gift to you. 30 days, guys. You guys want you know how much I love you. And you can see this is just it’s the tip of the iceberg. Like you’ve just blown their mind. You’ve given them a gift that is related directly to their love language. It costs nothing because it’s priceless. Right.

Brad: Yeah. Now you’re absolute right. And I think it’s also important to note that, conversely, for someone who words of affirmation is their love language, saying something negative bites even harder. And again, it’s just important to know the person that you’re dealing with. Right. And you’re trying to communicate with. I think that’s just an essential piece. And I talked before I mentioned my daughter, Anna. She is probably the textbook case of words of affirmation. And you can just see her eyes light up when you say something nice about her. But when you try to give, let’s say and certainly I’m never saying anything mean, but it’s constructive criticism about something.

Brad: I have to go out of my way to be extra special, careful to not say anything that she could even construe in the tiniest bit as negative, because I know I can see it on her face. She looks crestfallen. It just is almost instant. So I have had to change how I interact with her. When we’re talking about, let’s say, in her swimming, this is something she’s trying to improve at, but I don’t now lead the conversation with. OK, this is something you’re currently not so great at.  Let’s work on it. As opposed to I’ve had to reframe it to. I don’t even know. I mean, it’s a kind of an odd example. I don’t want to give specifics here about swimming and bore everybody.

Jonathan: No, you’re talking about the things that they’re trying very hard. I can see how much effort you’re putting in to this

Brad: Right, at your starts and your turns and things like that. So as opposed to, OK, that’s your weakness. Let’s work on it. It’s OK. I think you can make a huge improvement and move ahead if you do that. So anyway, like I said, that’s just one anecdote. But I think it’s really important to note that for people who words of affirmation is their love language, saying negative things really, really hurt significantly.

Jonathan: So obviously a lot of this words of affirmation, very inexpensive written note, voice message, gratitude, journal, handwritten letter, if you want a consumer product and there’s not I’m not telling you is anything wrong with that. I actually was able to dig up a what I Love About You book. I think it’s priced somewhere between seven to eleven dollars and it has the prompts for you that actually have you address different characteristics of the intended recipient and it will force you to think about them in a creative way.

Jonathan: And you can fill this thing out over time. You can give it to him as a gift. Again, very inexpensive, M.K. Words of affirmation. What are your thoughts?

M.K.: Well, this is my top love language, too, so I am all about this on I am very in tune to it and I think because I understand what I need, I can also express it back to people. So now we know when we have a family member who comes over for the holidays and they just want to go out shopping like their love language is giving gifts. And I’m just kind of like, you know, I really just want to spend time with you and have a good conversation because I know like I’m going to value the words that we exchange more than if we went out and bought this stuff that I’m not going to remember in a couple of years. Where as for them, that’s the best part of it. They get to give gifts. So I think understanding it for yourself is really important because then you know how to communicate what you want when people ask, oh, this holiday is coming up. What do you wonder? Oh, like we should do this. You can better convey what you need to get what you want out of that situation.

Jonathan: Awesome. All right. We’re gonna move on to the next one. And I can tell you for a fact, this is my wife’s love language. So obvious. Number three on this list, quality time.

Jonathan: So because it’s my wife’s, we got to take the opportunity here to say this language is all about giving your partner your undivided attention and what that means practically, I think, for her.

Jonathan: No TV, no cell phone, no cell phone for over 24 hours. Right. It’s so inexpensive, but at the same time painful. But at the same time, if you really love someone, you understand that their thing is quality time. Like if I wanted to have a very inexpensive Valentine’s Day.

Jonathan: I could just take my cell phone and put it in a lockbox for 24 hour and let her know that I’m doing that because I want to tell her that I love her and I want to dedicate the next 24 hours to us having an epic quality time. Then you can build it out from there. But I mean, they don’t start as being very expensive. Right?

Brad: Yeah. No, I definitely hear you. This. This is yet another one of these things that it just doesn’t cost so much. It doesn’t cost that much to spend time with someone.

Brad: And M.K., you were talking about way back when probably two and a half years ago when we received that voicemail and that was a real eye-opener for me.

Brad: This woman wanted her husband’s undivided attention and she didn’t want the fancy dinners. She just wanted him to put his stupid cell phone away and pay attention to her. That is pretty much the textbook case of quality time. And yeah, Jonathan, I agree.

Brad: I think this is probably Laura’s love language as well. And for us, it’s. Putting everything away and actually scheduling out time, so that is a really important aspect for her.

Jonathan: You guys are now doing cross-fit together. I know you schedule like you’ll go to like I don’t have a happy hour when you’re having it before lunch. But you guys will actually go test out different restaurants in Richmond and I’ll get their lunch special.

Brad: Yeah, that’s exactly right. And just putting it on the calendar for her is an aspect of this quality time, which is interesting. That’s just maybe a little quirk that’s specific to her that she appreciates that even more like it makes the quality time even better.

Jonathan: The actual scheduling to hear what you’re saying there. I think I’ve missed that. I’m close.

Brad: It’s so important that it goes on the schedule and it’s sacrosanct. Right. We cannot touch those couple hours that we’re going to even just play board games.

Brad: Like even if we’re literally just sitting in our kitchen playing Dominion, which is our new favorite game here.

Jonathan: I’ve heard great things about Dominion.

Brad: It is amazing. You know, having an on the schedule has made a big difference.

Jonathan: All right. So spending time with your partners about being together, paying attention to each other, share something meaningful together, listening and communicating. There is no cost automatically baked in to any of that. So, like, what would it look like practically for you? Could you prepare dinner together, make a homemade pizza together, talk while preparing it? Figure out that favorite meal. It’s not just, you know, with acts of service. It was, hey, I’m going to make this meal for you with quality time. They don’t want to be in the other room while you’re doing this. This is something that you can do together. Take a painting class together, go take it tutorial, but do it together. You’re not sending them off. It’s something that you’re doing together. If you’re doing your budget party because you’ve gotten such buy in and you so look forward to scheduling that time together, you’re sharing your plans for the future. Create something together. You want to learn a new skill, learn it together. You want to go to a rock gym, go to the rock gym together, whatever that looks like for you. If this is your partner’s love language and Brad, I’ve missed up to this point the scheduling part, and that’s massive. If they know it’s you prioritize everything else, you prioritize your work, you prioritize your friends. Why would you not prioritize your partner, your loved one? I think that’s big. So I actually took some opportunity here based on some very minimal research that I did to come up with another list of ideas for you, which I’ll quickly read off.

Jonathan: But most of these are free. No phones for 24 hours. Read a book together. Scavenger hunt, go on a picnic walker bike together. Do they still have Red Boxes? Like can you actually get a DVD?

Brad: That still exists.

Jonathan: OK. So go get a red box. Movie night are for your friends in the library. You go to the library, get a movie from the library, dine out on the cheap. Go take a local tour. What would it look like to be a tourist in your own local city? We’ve talked about planned spontaneity. Blow it up. My wife loves hot chocolate, loves hot. I don’t know why. I just tastes like brown sugar water. But to her, it’s like a favorite thing in the world. We could get hot chocolate and then I have a guilty pleasure for kettle corn. That’s your thing. Do that again. Didn’t cost anything. We’d like to make you ever take pretzels and dip them chocolate and then coat them with some sort of fun, you know, kind of white chocolate glaze or colored white chocolate glaze. Do some make a homemade treat? You can include your kids in this if you want to, but if you’re doing it from this is our priority, like you are gonna get kudos. And like everything we mentioned up to this point, these three love languages cost nothing. Right. They cost absolutely nothing. So let’s move over to something that costs money. It doesn’t have to break the bank. But it’s like it’s a love language. We need to recognize, kay. We’re looking at someone else. Right. You’re not picking your love language. You’re noticing a fact about reality. Right. So let’s say this other individual is this next love language. Brad, you want to it up for us?

Brad: Yes. So this is receiving gifts. And I think it’s fairly self-explanatory as far as actually gift giving. But I think really the important aspect of this is the love and thoughtfulness behind the gift. Right. The effort that you went through to think about what would be right for them.

Brad: And then track it down and get it for them. Right. It’s not just showering them with arbitrary gifts. It’s the thought that goes through and how much you know and understand them, how much they would appreciate that particular gift. So I think there is some nuance here as opposed to just buying expensive things every single day.

Brad: So in essence, actions speak louder than words. It’s not just about for this person, it’s not about those words of affirmation. It’s not about any of the other ones we mentioned before. It’s about going through the effort to find that gift that will mean something to them.

Jonathan: Yeah, and I think the gifts one is very, very tricky because it’s easy to get lost in. Oh, well, if I just spend more, that’s how I’m proving how much I love you, right? It’s just your love is anchored to how much you actually spend. That’s where the cynicism comes in. That’s why I think all of us, just the contrarian nature and all of says no. Come on. In fact, you actually see examples where someone will buy their significant other this multiple and this is a bloated example, but a multiple hundred thousand million dollar gift. You’re like, well, he’s apologizing for something. You know, like it went really, really sad. And that’s it’s probably true in that case. But it doesn’t have to be that. I think if you’re doing gift giving the right way, you’re thinking about something that, you know, means a lot to them, something more than just stuff. It can be stuff, but it symbolizes something, a life that you want to live together. And I think you could actually, if you’re doing gift giving the right way, this is not the fact that you were able to max out your credit card. This is not the fact that they’ve never seen anything so expensive in their life. This is you noticing some unique characteristics about your partner and you finding and identifying that gift that meets them where they are.

Brad: And M.K., it’s interesting to note also that while we’ve said our primary love languages are X in my case and in your case as well, words of affirmation. Words of affirmation is the number one, but there can be secondary love languages as well.

M.K.: Absolutely. And so when Jason, I did the quiz, you know, we have two primary ones. But you’re gonna when you go through the quiz that’s in the book or on the website, it’ll rank you for each of them. And so to some extent, gift giving is a love language for all of us. Right. Like if somebody gives us a very thoughtful gift, it doesn’t matter the cost on it. We’re going to appreciate that. We’re going to know that. But if that’s all they’re ever doing to show that appreciation, if that is not one of your top love languages, you’re just gonna think, well. But all I want is your time and you’re just giving me gifts. Or you might think, this is great. This is my love language. So it’s good to understand where these multiple items can fit in. I think I recall somewhere in the book that acts of service and gift giving are somewhat closely tied because it can be seen as giving somebody a gift to say, I’m going to cover the chores tonight, I’m going to I’m gonna handle the dinner tonight or things like that. So it is interesting that those two are particularly tied together.

Jonathan: So so in keeping with what I’ve tried to do, again, we’re kind of keeping we got Valentine’s Day coming up, we’re trying to tie this, identify that characteristic about our partner to help them think through what would be a gift that they would really appreciate. We’re not necessarily even waiting till Valentine’s Day, right. We just take these ideas and roll with it. But under the gift giving, because a lot of times we think about a dollar amount attached to that. And there is no challenge here to say that you can’t spend money on Valentine’s Day. I don’t want to be the one to say that that’s not me. That’s not how I feel. But it is making sure that you give a gift is not from a cynical place. You’re not doing it just because the Joneses next door are doing it. And you have to make sure that your spouse or partner feels left out, et cetera. So here’s my list. I just created one. It’s not comprehensive. I get that. I’m not claiming the mantle of comprehensiveness on this, but I did think through it and I would love additional input from you as you if you add anything to it. I did ask my wife as I was kind of putting this together, says a couple things from her. So in no particular order, but on the left hand side, most these are free. You know, a note, a gift can be a note. It can be a hindrance. If you’re thinking about that frame, something that you’ve put together can be a note. It can clearly be, Candy. A lot of people preorder flowers. It could be a painting class. We talked about quality time there, spillover benefits. So like there’s some crossover here. Voiceover lessons I got when my wife wanted to go. She wanted to become a voice-over artists and actually do an audiobook. Narration was something that we were leaning into. I was helping her learn the skill set, learning with her, but also supporting her and making sure she felt like she knew what that next thing was. Became obvious that one thing that she would really benefit from appreciate is one on one time with someone voiceover coach. When someone in our community when we mentioned it said my partner is actually a voiceover coach and she should go get the lesson from them. And I was like that be a great gift. Let’s do that. I think we spent like seventy five dollars. And I booked her a lesson with a voiceover coach down in Hampshire as we drove down there for the day, got a babysitter for our son. And it was one hour like her life was changed. Like the gift was great. The coach is amazing. I’ll have a link for him in that and for his services in the show notes. If you happen to be in Hampton Roads area. But I’m telling you what it really was was a gift. That was exactly what my wife wanted and wasn’t expecting. Right. And the last one here is just something that I think is an amazing gift.

Jonathan: Is has to do with your memories. Right. Like doing something is great. Your memories of it can last for ever.

Jonathan: If you if you put some energy into it. So what I have done is a gift for my family, for my wife, for individuals in the past is create a slideshow of memorable moments from the last year. I’ve done this almost every year, although right now I admit that I haven’t done 2019 yet. It’s on my to do list, but it makes it so easy. If you have an Android or an iPhone or whatever like they are, they are locking all those voters down from you for the past year. They’re not lost. They’re in some sort of cloud storage. Go through and pick out the big ones. Put it all together, throw some music in the background and have a private slideshow for you like your wife or family. To say, these are big, memorable moments. Most of these are very inexpensive. On the right hand side, actually have some physical objects that when we are having a conversation about like I was like this would be pretty cool. And I asked my wife for one input, like, is there any gift or anything that we have gotten that you just want to give everybody? Cause it’s so awesome. And so we came up with two things, and they’re gonna be kind of funny. But I think there’s actually something here. One is a panini maker. I checked the price on it was about eighty-five dollars and then two was a lemon squeezer. I don’t know why these two made the list. I get there, silly. They’re not universal, but a panini maker. We actually make some of our favorite meals at home with it, whether it be a quesilla or a panini or anything else like that’s fun so we can do together. It brings that restaurant feel at home and a lemon squeeze or cocktail party for two. Anybody I’m telling you like there’s a way to up the ante on this. I’ve got some other things on the side there. I have the links for all those in the show notes. But those two are ones that my wife said these were awesome gifts.

Jonathan: And so that’s what we came up with.

Jonathan: Brad, any other gifts that you want I mentioned I know that’s not your love language, but I’m sure that if with a couple of minutes of reflection, you could come up with something.

Brad: Yeah. Yeah. Well, that was certainly an interesting list and an insight into the Mendonza house, but maybe an eighty dollar panini maker. I’m seeing one for thirty two dollars here on Amazon. The non-Mendonsa model buy the top of the line of everything.

Jonathan: That’s the Wal-Mart model it’ll need replacing every year and a half. But it’s fun.

Brad: Hamilton Beach. One thing that I bought from Laura, she loves these chocolate covered pretzels like you were actually mentioning, and I think she saw it in an advertisement in some store like Plow and Hearth.

Brad: And I literally went to the store. So here I’m stupidly thinking like this is the place where you need to get these from. And meanwhile, like, it’s like our home goods store her something like I walk in and like, so where the chocolate covered pretzels, the woman’s like, what on earth are you talking about?

Jonathan: Doesn’t everybody come here? Most people come here for farm equipment.

Brad: So Laura loved the pretzels, but she thought was absolutely hilarious that I went to the ends of the earth to go to this one particular story when I could have gotten them essentially anywhere.

Brad: But yeah, that was just something that, you know, I listened and I went out of the way to get this particular thing that she liked. And I think really we’re talking about anecdotes here, guys. What’s really important is listening to the person that you’re trying to give this gift to and trying to get an understanding of what will they appreciate, what will make them feel loved.

Brad: That’s the essence here.

Jonathan: And the last love language this probably doesn’t surprise anyone, is physical touch. So if your partners love language is physical touch like, and you are no public displays of affection ever, ever, right. Then, you know, then realize that your partner wants you to occasionally give them a pat on the back, give a back rub, hold their hand, let them know that you appreciate them in a physical way. So here’s one thing that I do in my family, actually. And we’ve actually made it a family ritual. Now you can look into it. Everybody should Google this. It is called I told you about it. You laughed at me about this, Brad, the way Brad. But I’m going to mention again, it is called the 20 second hug. I do this with my kids and my wife. No, my son is so like loves us. Now, that is like a family ritual. There is significant evidence to support that. When you hug someone for 20 seconds or more, 20 seconds, I think it’s just the number that love hormone is released called oxytocin. But actually, what that mean, how that manifest in your wife and your spouse and your kids is a sense of security. Right. You don’t think about we hear compression blankets are our sold all time to give you that sense of security. And so I was I had read about it. It was as a joke. You should not do this with an acquaintance. Right. This is not a way that you give when you give someone a do not confuse the casual hug for a 20 second hug. You will lose friends quickly and rightly so. But with your family, when your kids 20 second hug is amazing, you may not have time to spend as much time as you want with your kids all the time. But the 20 second hug. And now what we do every single night my son asked for it now is like mommy, daddy hug. We do. We all he’d say it’s like my son gets in the middle. He’s holding on to my wife and we hold each other. 20 second hug. And that is the last thing we do every single night. So you may not have all the time in the world. You have 20 seconds. And this is a quick win that you can get. Just let your family know that you love them. And I tell you, kids, you know, they may develop specific love languages, but I think the 20 second hug is universal.

Brad: Yeah. That is brilliant. And for the record, I can imagine no world where I made fun of you for this.

Jonathan: So I think I was trying to give you 20 second hug.

Brad: Yeah, you’re probably right there. Maybe a 10 second hug.

Brad:  But now you’re absolute right. I’ve certainly read studies about that as well. It reduces blood pressure and lowers cortisol levels. Right.

Brad: There’s no downside to this. And yeah, if the person happens to be a physical touch love language person, it means all of the more. So, yeah. I mean, again, talk about something easy and inexpensive. Just show them your love. Right. Like you said, hold their hand in public. It might be uncomfortable for you if you are not someone who is generally going to do that or look to do that.

Brad: But if it means all the more to your spouse or significant other, why wouldn’t you do it? So again, it’s trying to find what connects with them. That is the whole essence of what we’re talking about here.

Jonathan: Now, next, what I wanted to do is to really dial this up, increasing value. I didn’t want it to be like just our thoughts from the microphone. I actually want to see what our community’s thoughts were. So what I did and you can do this on your own time, just go into the Facebook group, and go ahead and just search in the search bar Valentine’s Day and you’ll see all the posts and suggestions from 2019 Valentine’s Day. Right. And this is going to happen every single year.

Jonathan: And so I just grabbed two from last year that are so valuable today. So the first post that I want to talk to you about and if you’re on the YouTube channel, you can actually see the post with the image I’m talking about. It’s tips from a florist.

Jonathan: And this is actually Eric and Eric in 2019 said Happy Valentine’s Day. He said for most to think that it’s a waste of money sending flowers on Valentine’s Day, I agree, but only to a certain extent. My family has been in the floral business for the past two decades. During the season, flower farms triple and quadruple their prices so that price increases trickle down to the wholesalers, then to us flower shops. It’s just basic supply and demand. With that said, the surprise and joy of receiving a beautifully designed arrangement with wonderful fragrance not only makes the recipient happy. The joy also spreads throughout the office and anyone that sees the flower. This is what I enjoy most about this holiday. And he said With that in mind, you can look happy this guy is like, it’s amazing. With that in mind, here are some tips and hacks for Valentine’s Day. 1. Picking up and sending your own flowers can save you money. Since you don’t pay a delivery fee 2. deliver one or two days before Valentine’s Day, many florist offer discounts for delivering early 3. give and send an indoor or desk plant like a succulent garden. So your special someone can continue to enjoy the arrangement 4. Even after Valentine’s Day for express your love and appreciation throughout the year and send flowers on random days just because that way you don’t have to do anything special. On this day, because every day is special. And then number five, chocolates usually go on sale at one half the price the day after the holiday. So that’s when I buy the expensive chocolate and reward myself for being the happy but exhausted cupid. And then he says off to the next delivery. So, Eric, if you want me to link to your family’s florist business and the show notes for the episode, just go and send it over. We’ll have that in the show notes for this page, but I love it. I think your tips are timeless. And I think there are those of us that can get cynical because we do see a wall of pink and red. We see seven or eight or ten-dollar cards that are just ridiculous.

Jonathan: And we remove ourselves from the fact that we really try to do is acknowledge that we love someone and we’re not limited to Valentine’s Day.

Brad: Yeah. And I think what Eric put in there is actually really important. If you can still celebrate, like let’s say you just don’t want to deal with the overinflated prices. There are ways around that. I’ve heard of people for Mothers and Fathers Day where they actually switch the dates. So on Father’s Day, when every golf course in America is full and they jack up the rates and etc.. Celebrate that as Mother’s Day and go out for whatever the mom in the house wants to do, right. Go to brunch or whatever might otherwise be full on Mother’s Day. So just you can switch things around. You can make instead of February 14th being Valentine’s Day. Make it arbitrarily because it’s just arbitrary anyway. Make it February 21st and you can get the same items you going to get them for a fraction of the cost. So again, it’s just being a little bit cute, a little bit different and thinking outside the box.

Jonathan: And the last thing I wanted to say here from the community, there were a bunch of posts I had to pick two was this is from Rebecca. She and if you’re looking to slide here, you can see this on YouTube. She says, don’t get me wrong, my husband, I love a good restaurant, but a fun, cost effective alternative for Valentine’s dinner. Brad, help me with this. Where is this word? charcuterie board? Did I say that right?

Brad: Perfectly.

Jonathan: We enjoy picking all the things we love, making a nice cocktail or getting a good bottle of wine. Throw in some nice music and a candlelit table. And it’s a quiet, romantic night. Easily half the price. By the time you skip paying for parking and tipping, you just look how yummy this one was. We just made. I mean, you can make anything at home, right? And what an experience. How awesome could that be?

Brad: Now, that’s incredible. It’s making me hungry already.

Jonathan: All right. Final thoughts here. Mine are, be creative. Don’t feel pressure to celebrate on the exact day. But also, don’t go to your spouse or partner at a very cynical way and say, I don’t want to celebrate Valentine’s Day because I don’t believe in that consumer crap. And I just whatever it’s is, it’s a hallmark holiday. If you’re going to say that, recognize that your spouse can be very worried that what you’re actually saying is I don’t feel the need to express my love or affection in any way. So if you go with this, I’m perfectly happy not celebrating Valentine’s Day.

Jonathan: But don’t say that statement instead say. You know, I think every day should be Valentine’s Day. And I want us to schedule time throughout the year to do this. Not limited to one day a year. And in lieu of that, I don’t want to celebrate it on Valentine’s Day. You know, I think that’s kind of like my thought. Consider bringing the events into the home use this season, this Valentine’s season as an excuse to find out what your partner’s love language is. Try that cocktail party for two. Brad, you want to add anything to that?

Brad: Yeah. No, I mean, that’s that’s a good summary, certainly. And I would say, like I’ve said a couple of times in the last 20 minutes here is you have to try to understand where they’re coming from.

Brad: That is the essence of this. And then think ahead, think what would make them happy based on that new knowledge you have. Right. So we’re talking about Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day this year happens to fall on a Friday. And I just looked at my Google calendar and I have nothing on the calendar that day. So what I’m going to do is I’m literally going to put Brad and Laura x day, Brad and Laura time for whatever for five hours in the middle of the day. And that might mean we go on a hike. We drive an hour west to the mountains, go to a brewery, go on a hike and just have a wonderful day together. That will mean so much more to Laura than if I bought her a thousand dollar pair of earrings or some other nonsense like that. That’s just not her thing. So why would I do that? But she will do backflips when she sees that I went out of my way proactively. She didn’t have to ask for that time. I set it up. So you have to know where they’re coming from.

Jonathan: All right, so let’s say Brad, I always as much as I love your words, I always I like the idea of giving M.K. the final word.

M.K. Yeah, I think this is a great way to talk through how you can make this holiday special in your own way. I know for us Jason’s birthday is actually the day after Valentine’s Day, so we never really celebrate it because I don’t want to make a big deal out of this Hallmark holiday when his birthday is much more important. So it’s always good to understand what works for you as a couple. You know, to Brad’s point, make it a different day on the calendar. That’s important to you. Express how you feel about each other. And this can be for more than just your romantic relationships. This can be a special day where you show how you feel about your kids, how you feel about your parents, other members of your family to really let them know that you care about them. And I think that’s important to remember, too, that, again, it doesn’t have to be costly, it doesn’t have to be an excessive amount of effort. But when you continue to show that care throughout the year, that obviously makes it much easier to then say, let’s not celebrate on the day everybody else is celebrating because they’ll already feel that connection to you. I think that relates back to a lot that we do. You know, if you are only saving money in January, because that’s the month that you decided you want to get everything together for your finances, but you kind of blow your budget the rest of the year, it’s not going to work. And that’s kind of how the love tank works. You have to keep adding into it all the time. And so that is something to keep in mind, too, like your love tank, your FI tank, whatever tank it is you’re trying to fill. You have to keep filling it.

Jonathan: Well, let’s go and switch gears just for a second on our Friday roundup. We really think about the ChooseFI community as a community. And as a community there are new things happening all the time and we use the Friday roundup as an opportunity to give you the latest announcements. So I know some people are just listening to the 2017 episodes. They’re getting announcements for 2017. Trying to catch up. Well, you’re caught up into the as of today, you’re caught up. And so enjoy. What announcements do you have from the community? Yeah.

M.K.: So we have several local groups are getting together in the month of February. So on February 4th, ChooseFI, Central Illinois is having a kickoff for a series of virtual meetings where they’re going to discuss the FI101 lessons that we just launched this past weekend. So they’re gonna be coming together to go over those lessons throughout the month of February, but that is starting on February 4th. That is a Tuesday. They’re going to do that every Tuesday if you’re in central Illinois. You can join in. And then on February 13th, ChooseFI, South Florida, Miami, they’re going to be discussing Quit Like a Millionaire at this meeting. And that is the book by Christie and Bright, who have been on a podcast several times. And their book, Quit Like a Millionaire, is actually the book of the month for the ChooseFI Book Club in February. So it’s great that they’re going to be discussing that. And you can join in the conversation for the book club if you go to the Facebook group for the ChooseFI Book Club. You can find that by going to our local group page and clicking over to cohort groups. And that’s at

Jonathan: Awesome. Now, I think as you were talking about that. I think we have an announcement regarding the simple startup. Can you tell us a bit more?

M.K. Yes. So we announced Rob’s books last week. This is a high school curriculum for entrepreneurship. So there is an instructor manual that a teacher or a parent can use with their student, with their child. And then there is the student workbook as well. So this walks the student through the entire process for coming up with the idea for a business. How are you going to fund it? How are you going to do your market research, your prototype? So as we were going through and creating this series of workbooks in this curriculum that Jonathan’s holding up so many people on the ChooseFI team as they were looking at it, we’re saying this is the class I wish I had in high school.

Jonathan: Yes.

M.K. I didn’t need to know about middle, you know, European history in the fifteen hundreds. I didn’t need to know about, you know, physics and things like that, like us, the engineers in the audience did. But if I had known about entrepreneurship, I would have better understood how to start my own business or understood the needs of the business that I worked for.

Jonathan: It’s amazing.

M.K.: This is something we’re really excited to get out. You can find out more about it at this And you can do a bulk order if you are a school administrator and we will have that option available so you can get a nice discount for your school district.

Brad: Yeah. M.K., these arrived in the mail here for us today.

Brad: The books are gorgeous. They are amazing. I mean, I was to say that I was blown away would be the biggest understatement of the world. I showed this to Lauren. She’s like ChooseFI, I made this. This is like she didn’t even know that this is being created. And I mean, this thing is a work of beauty. You’re absolutely right. If I was learning this, I mean, I would be so far ahead of where I was, you know, at 18, 22. Then if I had just studied, like you said, middle history or some other things that you were like, this is amazing.

Jonathan: If you’re just going to get one, I don’t know if I would get this. I understand. I’m gonna come back to this. If you’re just gonna get one, I don’t know if I would get the instructor manual or the student workbook on page 80 for the instructor manual teaching you how to teach your kids or the student you’re working with. How do an elevator pitch like that is so powerful? You don’t hear about that. You know, it’s so M.K. like the target for this. Like as an individual, you can be a parent working with your kid. Obviously, that’s kind of like a let’s purchase one or two for our kids and work through over the course of a classroom. You could have a homeschool group or cohort group. You can work through this over the course of a semester. I think we’re working on getting some sort of bulk order available for this. You could be working inside of a school system and have some sort of control over the types of curriculums that are rolled out. This will not let you down. This is amazing. Nothing like this has existed and it’s beautiful and it’s fun to work with.

Brad: Exactly. And to Jonathan’s point, where the instructor manual actually teaches the teacher how to go through that content. One of the things that Rob found when he was teaching this course was that he would try to get some of his other friends who are teachers to go through the curriculum with their students. But they didn’t know the concepts of starting a business. They didn’t feel qualified to teach the course. So the idea is that if you are a teacher and you have never run your own small business before, that you’ll be learning along with the students so that you can feel competent in presenting this material and also maybe make a little extra money because you’re a teacher and we know you deserve more. But budgets are what they are. So hopefully you can make more as well with the knowledge you gain.

Brad: Yeah. Just a huge thank you and congrats to Rob for creating this, for the amazing layout and design. I mean, it is this thing is astonishing. And again, it’s at

Jonathan: Well, unfortunately, that’s going to bring this episode to a close now, as you know, we’d like to finish every episode by doing a drawing for a copy of a book that we have found useful. There’s actually. Right now we’re offering our book, ChooseFI Your Blueprint to Financial Independence, which can be found anywhere the books are sold. But if you want to win a free copy, that’s what we’re about. That’s we’re telling you how to do today. Do that. Just go to Follow the instructions there. Leave us a short written review. Send us an e-mail to feedback at Letting us know that you left your view on what screenname you left it under. We’ll give away one book for every five written reviews that we get and we announce a winner on our Friday roundup. So, MK, how many winners do we have today?

M.K.: Well, today we’ll be announcing two winners to kind of catch up from last week. So the first winner is John. John wrote, There are precious few podcasts that are more than just entertaining or interesting, but actually cross over into the category of life course altering ChooseFI as one of them. I stumbled onto this community a year ago and it really has changed how I look at my career, my family, and my life in general. Brad and Jonathan’s energy and positivity is contagious and I look forward to each new episode.

M.K.: Thanks, John.

Brad: All right. Okay, and the second winner is Josh

M.K.: Correct. So Josh wrote as someone who considered himself as financially literate. This podcast has drastically influenced my chosen path towards my financial future. After listening to a few episodes, I found myself going back and listening to dozens and dozens of past episodes to catch up on all the addictive information. It was amazingly humble to find a better plan than the one I had created for myself. Brad and Jonathan, thank you and the FI community for making this show as great as it as I know that my current and future self and family owe you a debt of gratitude for improving our well-being.

Jonathan: That’s amazing. We are so thrilled and honored to be a part of this community and continue to bring the voice of this community to the show twice a week. My friends, the fire is spreading. We’ll see you next time. As we continue to go down the road, less traveled.

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