When my wife and I first got married, we moved to St. Louis where I started seminary. It was a stressful time the first year. I started learning Greek and Hebrew and learned the fine art of being married. I had enough time in my schedule to clean the house, do the dishes and do the laundry while my wife worked. She’d come home and say thank you but then complain that I wasn’t loving her. I read the book, “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman when I was in my 4th year at the seminary. I asked what things made her feel loved: physical touch, receiving gifts, quality time, verbal affirmation or acts of service. She told me that she felt loved when I bought her flowers and told her that I loved her.
I was knocking myself out doing acts of service thinking that she felt loved when I was doing all these tasks but all she wanted me to do was buy her a bouquet of flowers every few weeks and tell her that I love her everyday.
We need to demonstrate love to people in ways that they’ll receive and see as loving. Too often in the church, we tell people that God loves them and forgives them but they don’t get that they’ve done anything wrong. We have to spend the time to get to know people well enough to figure out, discern or have them share with us what their perceived issues are and speak the Gospel to that particular need.