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I am a firm believer in the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. After 35 years of marriage and family therapy, Dr. Gary Chapman noticed a pattern: everyone has a "love language", a primary way of expressing and interpreting love. Of the many ways we can express love to another, there are five key categories proven to be universal and comprehensive. Everyone has a love language and we all identify with one of the five.
Words of Affirmation—Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Don't mistake this for arrogance or vanity. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.
Quality Time—In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says “I love you” like full, undivided attention. Don't mistake this for being clingy or needy. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes them feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.
Receiving Gifts—Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.
Acts of Service—Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an Acts of Service person will speak volumes. This does not mean this person wants you to be their slave. The words he or she most wants to hear are, “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them, tell those with this language their feelings don’t matter.
Physical Touch—This language isn't all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.
My love languages are words of affirmation and physical touch, but I am going to focus on words of affirmation for this post. (Most people have one, but some may have a secondary.) You still don't know your love language, click here to take a quick assessment.
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To dive into this more, I have a friend whose love language is acts of service. She loves serving. She has been on mission trips, join the missions and outreach ministry at our church, and loves to serve the homeless. When she doesn't make time to serve, she feels an emptiness. For me, I love serving others as well, but it really didn't resonate with me until I read and studied Jesus' parable about when we choose to provide food, shelter, etc for those in need we are doing it for Him. (Matt 25:35-40) When I read this, my love to serve others skyrocketed and I began to serve from my heart. I no longer served as a sense of duty or because that is what "good" Christians do. I began to serve because of my true love for God. Why? Because WORDS speak so deeply to me. I have also chosen to serve in a way that I am able to talk to people and we can learn from one another. Someone's whose love language is quality time will enjoy serving people by building personal relationships with others like trouble youth. For physical touch, this person may enjoy serving others by giving hugs to those who don't receive them often. A person's whose love language is gifts will love to serve by giving donations to those in need or organizations that help those in need. The options are endless. :)
So where's the issue? I have to be honest. I wasn't speaking to God in my love language at all. I wasn't personalizing my relationship with Him because I was too busy trying to mimic this idea of what a relationship with God was instead of doing what came naturally to me. I was caught up in serving others because I believed that is what Christians do, giving back because I am commanded to do so, and making sure I have quality time with God as a checklist item. Where is the heart in that?! Christ has set us free from fear based behavioral modification and empty religion that has no heart in it (Gal 5:1).When my motivation for obedience was no longer love, God was absent. (Gal 5:7-8). I needed to repent from church activities and this idea of the "perfect" Christian. Whatever that is...I needed to get back to what I knew...words with God.
God speaks all the love languages throughout the Bible. For example, David is my favorite person in the Bible after Jesus. Without even realizing it, I connected to David the most because he expressed his love to God though his songs of praise and thanksgiving to God...Words of Affirmation! :) God even express His love to David in words as well. (2 Samuel 7) Another great example is Moses. Moses love language was definitely quality time. He constantly desired to abide in the presence of God aka quality time (Exodus 31:13-23). God fulfilled Moses' deepest need for love by spending quality time with Him. This was displayed with God being a cloud by day and fire by night (Exodus 13:21), spending countless days with Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19), meeting with Moses in the tent (Exodus 33), etc. God always has and will meet our deepest need for love.
So what do you do when you no longer desire God? Speak to Him in your love language. He has and will always speak to you in yours. Choose to love God by the way He created you and you will find yourself chasing after Him. You will choose to pursue holiness all because you were motivated by love. (Gal 5:13) This is the gospel. Am I saying that you will never have times when your desire for God is minimal because you know your love language? Of course not. I know this will occur for me again because I am human and you as well. We will lose heart and need to be reminded of the gospel because we never outgrow learning the gospel. We must keep our eyes on the prize - Jesus Christ. As long as we do that, we will express our love to God in the way that is most meaningful to us and desire more of Him!
SIDEBAR: By learning about the different love languages, we are also able to respect the different ways people express their love to God instead of thinking they have to do it our way. This is why we are a BODY of Christ. :)
|Us at our first event and me being all touchy (Physical Touch)!|
|That's me on the mic....using my favorite thing (WORDS) to |
express our appreciation for God's people!