The Languages of Love

5-love-languagesHave you ever said something encouraging or uplifting to someone and noticed it totally lit them up? A few weeks back I bragged on a co-worker in front of his parents. I said, “He is the closest thing to Spielberg we have on staff.” I’m not certain, but when I walked away I think he might have backed into the wall. I literally knocked him off his feet. It wasn’t my goal. I was just paying a sincere compliment. As I filled his wife in later on our conversation, his reaction suddenly made sense. She said, “You know words of affirmation is his love language. You probably totally made his day!”

Her response took me back to one of my all time favorite books, The Five Love Languages. Obviously my friend was familiar with it. One of my aunts bought that book for David and I when we got married. As newlyweds we read it together at night. Well, I read it out loud and David listened, is more accurate. That is our pattern. I like to read, he doesn’t. So we found a solution to experiencing it together and dug in. Each page opened our eyes to the different ways people receive love. I can’t think of any better way to start our marriage off than learning to love one another in ways that truly soak in and fill up the other’s love tank.

If you haven’t read the book, here’s a quick recap of the love languages. They are:

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Acts of Service
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Quality Time
  5. Physical Touch

They are pretty self-explanatory, however I encourage you to read the book for a greater understanding of the importance of learning to speak one another’s love languages and to find out more about each one.

David’s love language is physical touch. Mine are words of affirmation and acts of service. Quality time is a close third. At the end of my list is gifts. However, I have dear friends and one child, and another I am beginning to suspect, that have receiving gifts as their primary love language. That means I have to be intentional about loving them in the way that comes least naturally for me.

As I talked with my friend at work, it hit me that I wanted to learn more of the love languages of the people around me everywhere, not just in my home. Every person in my world is someone God brought across my path to love on and pour into and the best way to do that is the way they best receive love. I made a mental note that day to be more tuned in to people’s responses when I give them a hug, or a high-five – does it seem to make them stand a little taller? Or when I give a gift does someone seem a little lighter on their feet? If I meet someone for coffee, does it speak volumes about how much I value them? For sure, what I don’t want to do, is love on people around me the way I receive love all the time and then totally miss that I’m not speaking their language!

I hope you feel inspired as you read this to think of how those in your world respond to your kind acts of love. Does it make their day? Does it seem to just roll off their backs leaving them unfazed. Being tuned in is the best way to discern how we are doing at this! And when we see we have knocked someone off their feet by filling their love tank up in just the right way, let’s make a mental note, so we can do it again, and again.

For some, how we love them in our moments of interaction, may be the only love they receive all day.

Verse for reflection: 1 John 4:19, “We love because He first loved us.”

Let’s pray – Father God, Fill me up with your love. Give me a greater awareness of how special I am to you. Consume my heart with your love. Captivate me with it! And help me to be in tune to those around me and how I can best express your love to them. Use me to bless others. Use me to speak your love to your precious children in ways they can truly receive it. Give me eyes to see those desperately in need of a love touch from you. Give me eyes to see those who feel unloved and are crying out for someone to care. And give me creative ideas to love others well. Help me to speak their language. Open their hearts to receive it. In Jesus name, amen.