Summary: Jesus told us to love one another. But what does that love look like? We all perceive it differently, but there are five "languages" that we use when we speak love.
For the past two weeks, we’ve discussed love. First, we learned what love is not -- lust. After that, we learned the four types of love. But love is a verb -- it’s something we choose to do, right? #chooseagape, remember?
We all know that the Bible tells us to show love. John 13:34-35, among many, many others, says this. This is Jesus speaking: “34‘A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” So how do we show love?
Well, there are five ways, called “Love Languages”.Every person has a primary and a secondary love language -- and every person’s love languages are one of these five: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.
We’re going to take a love language quiz now, so we can all learn what our love languages are.
1. Words of Affirmation: Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.
2. Quality Time: In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.
3. Receiving Gifts: Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.
4. Acts of Service: Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most wants to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.
5. Physical Touch: A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.
Now that you know your own love language, it’s time for you to ask your parents for their love language. It may be completely different -- and that’s OK! My wife and I have very different love languages -- mine is Quality Time, hers is Acts of Service. We both need to concentrate in order to show the other that they are loved -- because our love languages do not come naturally to the other.
The point of this exercise is for you to know how you feel loved, and more importantly, how other people feel love so you can show it in the right way. Have you ever tried to give someone a hug, and have them push you away like you smell bad? Chances are, their love language is not Physical Touch. Have you ever given someone a compliment, and have them respond like, “you don’t really mean that” or “you have to say that”? Chances are, their love language is not Words of Affirmation.
Showing love to a person in the way that they experience love shows that person that you care.