There’s a book that I’ve greatly benefited from, although I have never cracked it open. It doesn’t sit on my shelf because I don’t own a copy.
The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman has been referenced so frequently in sermons and articles that I have gleaned enough to be dangerous.
I practice on Hubby and friends.
The concept was simple, but revelatory. There are five different ways that people experience love most deeply.
The way I want to be loved may not be the way someone else wants to be loved. Find out what floats their boat, and you’ve got the keys to the kingdom.
A Cup of Coffee, Time Together
It’s actually been transformative as well as fun, figuring out — and asking — how my Hubby and friends feel most loved (great conversation fodder over dinner or coffee).
I didn’t realize something as simple as making my Hubby a cup of coffee in the morning could bring so much joy to him (One of his favorite love languages is Acts of Service).
For my friends, I enjoy writing emails as a way to express my care and interest. It turned out for some that spending quality time together was more important.
Funny thing happened when the tables were turned.
What’s are my love languages? Hmm…
I became a bit hesitant. It felt awkward to ask for affection, much less, to have it delivered the way I preferred!
Yet, it was a step I needed to take, in order to allow others to grow closer to me.
Receiving Rather Than Giving?
It got me thinking, if it’s hard for me to tell another human being what I need, how much more difficult would it be with God?
I don’t know about you, but I prefer the position of giving to God rather than receiving.
After thinking how the five love languages relate to my immediate circle, I wondered how I could apply them to God.
How can I love God through these five modes?
Interestingly enough, I’ve been having a running conversation with God about this whole thing.
It turns out He prefers me in the position of receiving.
Here’s a snippet of our repartee:
I desire to bring you pleasure.
What? Uh… No, thank you, God. Please don’t trouble Yourself.
You’ve already died for me. I’m kinda already in debt to you for that… among a lot of other things.
Debt? Where does it say you’re in debt to me? Excuse me, but I love you.
Yeah. I know. You “love” me. But, that’s because you’re God. You love the whole world.
(sigh) Bonnie, Bonnie, Bonnie… I see you are playing hard to get.
That’s okay. I’ve got ways to show you how much I love you.
And the Five Love Languages? I’m all over that.. and beyond.
An Intro: What’s Your Love Language?
I’m starting a new series on how God has been expressing His affection — He’s Just So Into You. In turn, I’m looking forward to hearing hear how God’s placing His sights on you.
As introduction, here’s the skinny on the Five Love Languages. I’ll tell you mine, will you tell me yours?
1. Words of Affirmation: You cherish verbal appreciation, simple statements that compliment or encourage. You get strengthened by words in a difficult situation or supported in your perspective.
2. Quality Time: You feel cared for when someone focuses energy on you, while being present, with quality conversation, sharing experiences, feelings and desires in an uninterrupted context.
3. Receiving Gifts: You respond to visual symbols of love. You treasure every trinket or gift as an expression devotion. When you receive something, it makes you feel happy and secure.
4. Acts of Service: You are confident you’re loved with simple things like folded laundry, a meal on the table, or the trash taken out. It means the world when someone does something helpful.
5. Physical Touch: You feel most loved through physical contact. You enjoy a hug, a supportive touch, and displays of affection. When someone draws close to you physically, you feel connected and assured.
My prominent love language is a flash of the obvious to anyone who knows my craze for books and writing: Words of Affirmation.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
How about you? What is your first love language?
Do you find it natural or easy to be in a position of receiving or giving?
Today's post is Part 1, introducing a series titled, "He's Just So Into You". Share your comments. It would be wonderful to be encouraged by sharing. Catch Faith Barista hot and fresh. Subscribe now. Receive this series directly in your mailbox via email (click here) or RSS (click here) news reader.
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Did you read my post yesterday? I’m gonna be following this series… 😉 My dominant love language is a dialect of the gift language – the gift of presence. Tell me, how does THAT work with God? It’s all about faith…
Oh I know I am going to love this series……and I love the snippet of your one-on-one with God.
Like you, I have a difficult time being on the receiving end of love at times. I guess what I cherish most when being the receiver are simple notes that my husband might write for me and having my older boys still hug me/tell me that they love me in front of all their friends still maintaining the “cool factor” (words of affirmation). I also appreciate coming home after a long day of being a taxi cab driver and running errands to the house cleaned up and dinner made (acts of service)
Great post, Bonnie!
Great idea for a series.
My love language:
* You speak the language (dialogue) of appreciation.
* You hear me. . . and you listen with your whole heart.
* You accept and validate who I am. Our differences enrich our life together.
* You are unafraid to ask for what you want or need.
* You show me caring behaviors by taking time to learn my own “love language”.
* You are committed to keeping our relationship positive by resolving or containing anything negative. You help me heal you.
I have learned various Imago techniques that create the “language” you describe. The dialogue is found in Harville Hendricks’s books. It works. It’s difficult to practice.
This sounds silly, but I tell people that my love language is making mixes! I LOVE putting together the perfect playlist for the right occasion, burning a CD, decorating the case with my own artwork, and sending it to someone I care about. It’s my favorite way to let someone know that I’m thinking about them…and it’s my favorite way to be reminded that someone else is thinking about me. Goes back to high school, I suppose!
But seeing as “making music mixes” is not on the official list, I’m pretty sure that “words of affirmation” and “gifts” are my favorite ways to both give and receive love.
You are so right, Bonnie, about the feelings of guilt/embarrassment that can come with sharing your love language. “It felt awkward to ask for affection, much less, to have it delivered the way I preferred!”
I think this speaks to the walls we build around ourselves because we are afraid of being vulnerable – both with God and with the people around us.
Wonderful post, Bonnie.
I find it so interesting that my husband and I speak completely different love languages! What I consider an enormous show of my love for him, he sees as unimportant… it is great that there are resources to help couples understand each other on a much deeper level!
Bonnie, do you ever have a bad post? Every time I come here, it’s a home run. My LL is Acts of Service. The Words of Affirmation is what I’m worst at (and wouldn’t you know that’s my wife’s love language). It’s a constant effort to express my emotions verbally.
I hate to be that guy who comments with links to their site, but I wrote about the Five Love Languages awhile ago ( http://godlysheep.com/hello-i-love-you/ ), and it goes really well with this post. Basically it talks about using your love language with others (including even *gasp… people you don’t know!).
Anyway, there’s my shameless act of self-promotion for the day. I really do hope it helps continue the conversation about love languages.
It think it’s interesting that we posters recognize the difference between our love language and that of our spouse or partner or significant other. My experience with IMAGO is that we each look, unconsciously, for someone who will fill in the need for those things for which we are most in need. We also tend to find someone who has our opposite qualities, and that, according to IMAGO, is no accident. Our relationship thus has more than its fair share of tension, that pulling back and forth and stretching that we need to discover who we are separately and together to grow. Eventually, if we learn our love languages in ways that help us each heal the other, each of us becomes whole, whole as an individual and whole as a couple. The results can be miraculous.
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I have read that book, and done a “love language quiz” so to speak. I remember my two highest were Quality Time and Physical Touch.
It was fun hearing everyone’s love language. Love definitely speaks differently to us all. I’m looking forward to diving into this series.
@Kelly: I enjoyed your post, Kelly! Poignant and real.
@Michelle: A writing taxi cab driver .. !
@Mo: Imago is new to me. Thnx for that pointer. “It’s difficult to practice.” Why am I not surprised. 😉
@Rachel: I remember wishing I could get a “candy-gram” in high school. It was a song played over the speakers during recess dedicated to someone, and a piece of candy! Mixes are special.
@Bridget: I like the way you put it..”what I consider an enormous show of my love for him, he see unimportant..” Explains why I prefer to express love in ways I enjoy (writing) rather than acts of service (dong the dishes) ! 🙂
@Brett: Thanks for the pointer. Nice addition to the post! Please feel free to pass on helpful links — yours included! 😉 … Yeah, it seems God matches couples that way. Compatible in many ways, but He seems to match us with room to grow.
@Mo: Interesting observation.. seems like it applies in many cases. Love language as a way to heal each other.. I like that.
@Maureen: It’s a great way to get in touch with ourselves, don’t you think?
Thanks, Bonnie. I like this book, too. And like you, I’m not sure I’ve ever actually read it. It’s such a great resource to help us know how to love others, and to help our hubby’s know how to love us.
For me, I think my language changes as our life changes. Mine used to be Time, and while it’s still important to me, having little ones at home, Acts of Service is definitely right up there.
I’m looking forward to this series. I’m glad you enjoy writing. Because I enjoy reading what you write. 🙂
Mine is physical touch. For a long time I didn’t want to admit it, because it seems so … well, physical. And aren’t we supposed to crucify the flesh and its desires?
But as I’ve grown more comfortable with it, I’m surprised at the profound effect a hug can have on people. When another woman kisses me on the cheek, I feel as if I’ve been given a gift, and words of affirmation, and an act of service all at once. One of the highest compliments I receive is when I speak words of comfort or encouragement which bring a person to tears, because I then know my touch has reached the inside.
Hi, Bonnie! I’m a lot like Rachel, above. I enjoy giving and receiving words of affirmation and encouragement. I don’t think my husband falls into that category though, so I have to communicate with him differently. I think he would know how much I loved him if I went out and mowed the grass before he came home and saw that it needed done. He’s an act of service kind of guy. And, I’ve noticed that when I’m down, his first instinct is to wash my car or some other service when I would rather have a few kind words. Luckily, he realizes this eventually. Analyzing the love languages is helpful with all relationships, not just the personal ones. I know some employees who would love a simple kind word of encouragment, whereas others would love it if you helped them with a part of a job that is overwhelming.
Great post, Bonnie! Hope you are well!
[…] It is an alluring prayer song that has rested in my soul, making it’s way to create room for God and His language of love. […]
@Ginny: “I think my language changes as our life changes.” I think that is a VERY insightful point, Ginny. Thank you! I’m glad you came to drop these words. A wonderful perspective to add to the post. Yeah, having little ones can flex our love language. Such an encourager, you are! 😉
@Anne: Wow. You are definitely strong on physical touch. It’s wonderful to meet someone who is so comfortable with it. It’s a blessing for sure. No wonder I sense that in your writing.
@Heather: LOL!! “mowing the grass”.. hey, our Hubby’s must come from the same male love language pool when God was passing them out. Poor Hubby sometimes feels deflated when I forget to jump up & down when he does the dishes for me. 😉 I’m doing well, Heather. Thanks for asking!
I love this post. I love your series idea, He’s Just So Into You. He loves us SO much. It is my desire through writing to share His love with everyone. We serve an amazing God.
My love language is Words of Affirmation too!
Great post, Bonnie!
[…] Since my prominent love languages is words, one tool I came across recently definitely tapped into my fears grabbed my attention. […]
[…] 4. Do give richly from the Five Love Languages. Get creative and give a gift in your family or friend’s love language. […]
[…] What got all this started? Well, today I stumbled across an interesting post at Faith Barista: The Love Languages: A Running Conversation with God. […]
I really enjoy Bonnie’s posts and writing. I see God’s Word in her lovely and friendly style. I love good words and works. However, I am still trying to reconcile the Golden Rule to use of the love languages. If Jesus said to the effect, after loving God, to love your neighbor as yourself, wouldn’t it be better to just do your best to show love to others by sharing what you love rather than pandering to their loves? Has anyone else been pondering this?