Many of you have heard of the famous book titled, “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. There is a version for couples, singles, men, women, teenagers and children. All great books in their own right, all pointing to the sacrificial love we are to have towards others.
In a nutshell, in these texts, the author goes to great extents to point out that we give and receive love in five distinct ways as follows:
- Through Loving Words
- Through Quality Time
- Through Acts of Service
- Through Physical Affection
- Through Gifts
These expressions of love are like languages in which we communicate to one another. Each of us has a dominant language, ranked 1 through 5, in which we feel most loved and tend to love others in that way. The goal is to learn how others feel appreciated and show them how much you care in their love language. A language they can understand best. It takes effort to learn the love language of another and show them love in that manner.
For example, my husband and I are complete opposites. His number one love language is Acts of Service, which is number five for me. My number one love language is Physical Affection, which is his number five.
Because we tend to love others with our own love language instead of their own, I have spent most of our relationship reassuring him of my love with a hug, rubbing his back, rustling his hair, stroking his arm and playing with his ear lobe. Most times he is fine, but there are times it quite frankly annoys him and does nothing to fill his “love tank.” However, when I choose to surprise him by making his lunch for him the next work day, or I lay his clothes out for church, he feels more appreciated than a pat on the back.
Conversely, my husband is the most thoughtful man I know, constantly blessing others with his Acts of Service. He has done so much for me in our 26 years together from housework to bringing me lunch at work unannounced. He has fed and changed our babies, painted and repainted every room in our house at my whim, gone for midnight drug store runs and cooked countless dinners. However, with Acts of Service being my number five love language it is very easy for me to take all that for granted and complain that I am not getting my needed quota of hugs and snuggles.
We have both had to learn each other’s love language and sacrificially extend that language to one another in an effort to keep the “love tanks” full to overflowing. And, daughters, it works! We both feel more loved than when we first began.
This principle of Love Languages is true in all our interactions with others; in marriage, at home, with our kids, in the workplace, at church, with extended family and friends. Even with those you get to know at the till in the grocery store and behind the counter at Tim Horton’s. We can learn to love them they way they receive it best!
Jesus’ command to us in John 15:12 is this, “My command is this; Love each other as I have loved you.” And this is how Jesus loved:
Through Loving Words
“As the Father has love Me, So have I loved you.” John 15:9
Through Quality Time
“Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place.” Mark 6:31
Through Acts of Service
“He poured some water into a basin and began to wash His disciples feet.” John 13:5
Through Physical Affection
“Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man.” Luke 5:13
“Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted.” John 6:11
Let’s begin to love like Christ and love others in a way they will feel most loved, appreciated and accepted.