Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Love Languages

Think of some ways that make you feel loved - a word of encouragement, a special night out, a bouquet of flowers, breakfast in bed, your husband taking your hand when the pastor prays at church. Although all of these things are nice, there is probably one or two that would mean more to you than the others.

I love reading Gary Chapman books, one reason is because they are "easy reads" and I can get through the bulk of the book in just a few sittings, but mainly because they encourage me to re-evaluate how my everyday life plays out. I don't know about you, but sometimes I can get so busy doing, and marking things off my "To Do List", that I forget to take the time to evaluate if what I am so busy doing is actually meeting the needs of those around me - most importantly - my husband and children.

In Chapman’s book “The Five Love Languages”, he explains that he believes that there is basically five ways that people show and receive love:

Quality Time
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
Physical Touch

I believe that God put a desire in our hearts for each of these to varying degrees, but there will be one or maybe two that really stand out, that makes us feel loved, that without we start to feel unappreciated, undervalued and basically unloved.

I am sure that each of us can think of a time that we did not feel particularly well loved. I make the differention here from knowing in our heads that we are loved and knowing in our hearts that we are loved. How many times have you hears “I know that he/she loves me, but I just don’t FEEL loved”. Although there are times in our life that God will ask us to rest in the “knowing”, we want to feel well loved by our family and we want our family to feel well loved by us in return.

So how can we make sure that we are showing love to our husbands (and children) in the way that they most need and crave? A good starting point is to figure out your own love language. One of the best and easiest ways to do that is to think about what you desire most from your husband and think about how you show your love to him. Maybe you cook him a nice meal (Acts of Service), or give your husband a back run (Physical Touch), or are always keeping your eye out for special gifts (Gifts), or you tell him how much you appreciate him for working so hard for your family (Words of Affirmation) or maybe you hang out with him and watch all the hockey games (or baseball games for you Americans - Quality Time)

Since most couples do not have the same primary love language and we tend to speak in our own primary love language, it is important to identify and learn to speak your husbands. Sometimes you can easily see what your husbands love language is, but you may have to dig to find out. Similarly to figuring out your own, one way to do this is by thinking about how you believe your husband shows love to you, as people tend to show their love in ways that are meaningful to them.

I know that some of you reading this are thinking that you don’t feel very loved by your husband, so how can you act very loving towards him. It is easy to show love to your husband when you feel cared for, appreciated and loved, but how about when you are feeling let down, hurt, disappointed, and basically unloved? Being loving towards someone who is seemingly unloving towards you is not what the world tells us to do – but it is exactly what God tells us to do. Loving someone who is difficult to love is the closest any of us will every come to fully understanding Gods grace and love for us…fully, unconditionally, no matter how we behave, no matter whether we enhance His family or bring it disgrace. God sees our sin, our mistakes and still reaches out His hand and says “I will bless you and keep you, I will shine my face on you and be gracious to you, I will continue to look upon you with favour and give you peace”.

To learn more about Love Languages check out Gary Chapman’s books:
(can be found under My Favorites on the side bar)

The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate

The Five Love Languages of Children (by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell)

The Five Love Languages of Teenagers

Other books by Gary Chapman:

The Other Side of Love: Handling Anger in a Godly Way

Loving Solution

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