Many of you are familiar with the Five Love Languages: word of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, physical touch. These languages have become more and more impactful to me in my everyday life as a wife and mother, as a friend, co- worker, daughter and sister. This type of communication has become key in every relationship that I cherish...from my marriage to my friends and family. Each and every individual has a different way of receiving and showing their love and appreciation, and what a difference it makes when you take the time to understand what those around you truly need to feel loved and adored.
Some people thrive on words of affirmation, someone complimenting them or just having an uplifting conversation to let them know that you are standing in their corner. This is Matt’s top love language...words of affirmation. He needs me to verbally affirm, to compliment him and not to complain or give him a list of what went wrong as soon as he gets home from a long day at the church. He may have already had a long day, and I need to give him a moment to enjoy the rest that our home provides, and then bring up any grievances at a more opportune moment. Timing is everything! He recently preached a sermon on this and said, “Ladies, if you would throw your husband a pep-rally when he walks through the door, he would feel like giving you everything that he has to give to win the prize of your heart.”
Some believe that it’s all about quality time. “Being there” is what’s important to this individual, focusing on your loved one and giving them your undivided attention is their love language. Life is short, so take the time to make the time. None of us is promised tomorrow.
Others are filled to overflowing when someone gives them a tangible gift, no matter the size or the value. The very idea that they were remembered fills their heart to the brim. It’s not about being materialistic; it’s about knowing that the gift giver was taking a moment out of their day to remember the gift recipient.
Others enjoy acts of service, something to ease the other person’s load...take some of the responsibilities off of their plate. Lending a helping hand is another way to show someone that you are there for them, that you care enough to take on a few extra responsibilities. You never truly know what taking a few moments out of your day will do for someone. It’s an instant mental boost for so many people! This group of individuals needs you to show them your love, not just hear sweet words or expressions.
My top love language is acts of service. This type of love says that action speaks louder than words. I love it when Matt cooks a meal, when he cleans out the garage or helps with the “to do” list around the house. He has always been very active in our home and never minds helping out; he just needs me to be more specific on what I need help with.
When Matt and I sat down and listed our top two love languages, we were both shocked at how differently we had perceived the other to be. Yes! Even after living together for 15 years! (I would strongly encourage this form of communication with your spouse...truly getting to know them. It’s a wonderful way to truly express your love to the one you are creating a life with.) As the two of us sat down and talked about our love languages, it became very evident what they are and how we can best communicate with each other. Clear communication is what prevents a miscommunication and possibly an “intense moment of fellowship” later.
Physical touch is the final type of love language. Think about this for just a moment...why does one embrace fill your whole being, inside and out, with overwhelming warmth, while another hug might simply pass as a common greeting? It’s the sincere expression that comes from the heart of that hug, as opposed to a nice pat on the back. Science shows us that our body responds physically when we are embraced, kissed, made to feel special by those who are most important to us. This source of love and encouragement feeds our soul. We were created by God to love one another (John 15:12).
No matter what love language fits you the best, unless someone takes the time and effort to express it...you can’t receive it. Be willing to put yourself out there and express your love to those around you. It could be the enormous blessing that their day needs!
This time of year everyone is in Valentine’s Day mode, wondering how best to show their loved ones what they truly mean. We are often overwhelmed with activities for our kids, trying to make the perfect dinner reservations or simply running to too many events. Stop! What matters is expressing your love to those who are most special to you in the way that they can truly understand the depth of your feeling. You want them to feel that warm embrace of love each and every day, as you are cheering them on. No matter what you do for your spouse, child, or any other loved one, make sure to consider the most important part of the gift...the sincerity of your heart.
1 Corinthians 13:8 tells us, “LOVE NEVER FAILS.” But, the reason that this is a fact is because true love is sincere. It goes beyond the simple act of expression to imparting a piece of your heart into the heart of the one that you care about. What is it about the compliment from your spouse that melts your heart, when the same words from another might not feel the same way? Your relationship with the person giving the compliment, building you up, encouraging you in the Lord is what makes the words so special.
No matter how you choose to show it, love in any language has to come from the inside out. It’s a matter of the heart, not the head. It’s an expression of the soul, not the hands. It’s the one thing that can erase a multitude of wrongs, making someone feel as though everything is going to be alright in an instant. I have found another exciting truth about love. The more of it you give to others, the more you are able to receive. The Bible tells us in Matthew 10:8, “...FREELY YOU HAVE RECEIVED, FREELY GIVE.”
This month, make it a point to sincerely show those you truly care about just how much they mean to you. Take the time to demonstrate the love that you have in your heart for others, and let their expressions overwhelm you with the most powerful force in heaven and earth...LOVE!