When it comes to love, what means the most to you?
Recently while I was driving my eight-year-old granddaughter to soccer practice, we began talking about love based on Gary Chapman’s popular book, The Five Love Languages. I quickly described them to Te’a and asked what she thought her love language might be.
SIDE NOTE: Quick description of the five love languages
Quality Time: Value special time with full attention
Acts of Service: Appreciate concrete help
Physical Touch: More than in a sexual manner
Receiving Gifts: Receiving gifts and concrete symbols of love
Words of Affirmation: Hearing words of appreciation and validation
“Gifts!” she said without hesitation.
“So if I wanted to show you how much I love you, you’d like me to give you a gift?”
Te’a went on to name the love language of the other five members of her family, as she perceives it. Her assessment was quick, and in my opinion, likely accurate.
So what do you think about this idea of love languages? Can we really define ourselves in such simple terms? And what difference can it make in our relationship with those around us?
After reading Gary’s book the first time, I immediately purchased ten more copies. This happens rarely in my life, in fact, this was a first. But the basic premise of the book not only rang true but also changed my life in significant ways.
My Marriage. I realized Quality Time is my primary love language. If I can sit “face-to-face and knee-to-knee with someone,” as our pastor says, my heart is full. When we are fully engaged – our thoughts and our emotions, I feel loved.
My husband, bless his heart, seemed to have all four other OTHER languages in spades. Gifts: check. Affirmation: check. Touch: check. Service: check.
But Quality Time – he engaged as best he could, but I have to tell you, it wore him out. All those words. All that vulnerable sharing. I could watch the color drain from his face.
I am so grateful for Gary’s insights. I learned to stop expecting John to be fully engaged in a two-hour conversation. And over time I learned that when I desired that kind of attention, I asked a girlfriend out for tea or went on a personal retreat alone with the Lord.
Our loved ones – even those as close as a spouse – often do not speak our love language. I learned to accept that. God never designed my husband – or anyone else in my life – to meet my every need, despite what the card aisle at Hallmark may imply.
Great news! God speaks ALL Gary-described love languages. And that leads me to another wonderful book well worth the purchase: God Speaks Your Love Language.
If you haven’t read both books, and you are curious about how to love others better and how to feel loved yourself, these two books may just crack that door for you, as it did for me. (Gary has since written five other Love Language books for singles, children, teenagers, men and marriage.)
My son shares my love language. His wife, however, does not. With a smile but serious tone, she laughingly told us one day, “You two are really high maintenance! Just give me a simple, thoughtful gift and I’m good for days!”
Pull up a chair and sit still
Psalm 139 declares God is our designer. I’m convinced He also decided how we would receive and give love most easily. It’s so exciting to realize the Lord and I speak the same language. In my case, He never tires of spending time in dialogue with me.
How does God speak to You in ways that fill your heart? Share with me in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you!