Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. -1 John 4:8 (ESV)
Imagine a childhood without “I love you”
I grew up in a household where it was the cultural norm to not tell your children that you love them. In fact, my parents told me that verbal expression of love was what other people of other cultures did out of insecurity and weakness. My heart, though, yearned to hear it, and I irrationally believed I wasn’t loved since it wasn’t spoken to me. But as I would learn decades later, one size does not fit all.
My parents did love me, of course, but they communicated it in ways I was deaf to.
It wasn’t till after I was saved that I read Gary Chapman’s “The 5 Love Languages,” which explained that love can be expressed verbally, but in nonverbal ways as well…and that certain people “speak” certain love languages, and are best communicated to in those languages. When two people discover and connect to the other in their primary love language, love is successfully communicated and received.
Note: These languages apply not just any relationship, business or personal. Click the link above to also see related books for childraising, business, etc.
What are the five love languages?
- Words of Affirmation: Expressing in words how you appreciate the other person.
- Acts of Service: Doing things for another person.
- Affection/Physical Touch: Physical expressions of love, like hugging, kissing, and intimacy.
- Quality Time: Making and spending dedicated time with another person.
- Gifts: Giving a thoughtful gift as an expression of your appreciation.
Which love languages do you speak?
From the list above, you can probably select your primary and secondary love languages in seconds. Based on my childhood, my obvious first choice is Words of Affirmation. Thinking about past hurts in relationships, and what you would instinctually do to express appreciation for another person, can also help you identify your love languages.
What love languages do others around you speak?
With the knowledge of these love languages, you can start to discern what others around you value most. Their love languages may not match yours, but genuinely making the effort to speak theirs can perform amazing healing works.
God is fluent in all of the love languages
You can see aspects of Christlikeness in all of these love languages, and He used all of them in His ministry. And God the Father expresses His love for us through His Word, and in the acts He’s done out of love for us.
And I don’t know about you, but the above list is convicting because it helps highlight where we may be falling short in showing Jesus’ love to those around us–and maybe even closest to us. The Lord knows I have plenty of work to do!
I pray that knowledge of these love languages are as revelatory to you as they were to me, and that this knowledge will be used through us–as God’s hands and feet–to show His love and healing work in our world, starting with those around us.