If you really want to live, you need to learn how to love because love impacts your quality of life. Gary Chapman wrote a book called “The Five Love Languages” proposing every person on the planet has one primary love language. He concludes that if you want to effectively communicate love to your spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, kids, coworkers, neighbors, and everyone else that is close to you, you must learn their love language. Here are the five love languages:
1. Words of affirmation. Words of affirmation are verbal compliments that affirm. They are best given in a straightforward manner such as: “You look great in that outfit!” “You did a great job!” If you say affirming words to someone with this love language, they will feel completely loved. Words of affirmation must be given without any strings attached because if you say things like: “You would look great in that outfit…………. if you lost 20 pounds” it does more harm than good.
2. Quality time. Quality time is focused time together. Quality time does not occur when one person is watching T.V. and the other person is on the phone! I used to come home from work and my wife, Kathi, would ask me how my day was. Every day I replied; “Fine.” Kathi was not looking for a one word description of my day. She wanted me to look at her and open up emotionally with her. She cares about me and wants to spend time learning about my day. She also wants me to ask her about her day because quality time is her love language.
3. Receiving gifts. Gifts come in all shapes and sizes. They can range from a roadside trinket to a fancy ring as long as the gift is purchased or made with the giver in mind. To someone whose love language is receiving gifts they will need a constant influx of gifts in order to feel loved. This doesn’t mean that you need to go broke buying anything and everything to satisfy their appetite for things. It does mean you will have to thoughtfully give gifts that reflect your affection.
4. Acts of service. A person whose love language is acts of service will receive love when you do something for them. If you mow the lawn or cook dinner or pick them up at the airport your actions convey how much you love them. To someone whose love language is acts of service, any kind act that is done for the person is received as a sign of love.
5. Physical touch. Holding hands, kissing, hugging, back-rubs, and sex within marriage are all examples of speaking the love language of physical touch. People who speak this language need physical touch on a regular basis to feel loved. This language is the easiest to speak in a marital relationship for obvious reasons. To someone whose love language is physical touch, neglecting them physically is problematic because they need regular touch in order to feel loved.
Love is a choice and if you want to effectively communicate love to others you will need to find out what their love language is and then speak it in volumes to them. We need to learn the languages and speak them in as many ways possible to help people see the love of Christ. God himself uses all five love languages to communicate how much he loves us. For example, Jesus used words of affirmation when he said: “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends,….” John 15:5 NIV. He spent quality time with his disciples. He also gave us the gift of himself : “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,….” John 3:16 NIV.
This week figure out the love language of the people closest to you then speak it with a megaphone. When you speak someone’s love language the quality of the relationship will dramatically improve. By learning how to truly love, we will experience life and laughter like never before. Start loving other people today.