This concept of love languages based on Gary Chapman’s theory of love (author of The Five Love Languages) has been dominating modern-day discourse about relationships. In this blog post we will talk about the five love languages are to not only help us identify what our love language is but also how we can better show our love to those we care about deeply. Furthermore, we will examine our relationship with God through the lens of love languages.
Love languages: why are they important?
“Love is a choice you make everyday.” – Gary Chapman
Why are love languages important? From a Christian perspective, love languages are important because we are called to love God as well as to love others. God shows us His love everyday and commands us to do the same for others. He promises us that His love is enduring. How do we show our love to others, especially those we have relationships with and who we care about deeply? Understanding what their love language is can help us.
1. Words of affirmation:
Words of affirmation are verbal expressions of appreciation, love, recognition, and respect given to another person. They are positive words, compliments, and praise that can fill someone with joy when hearing them. Of course compliments and heartfelt verbal expressions can be appreciated by anyone – but for those whose primary love language is words of affirmation, they would need this on a regular level
For those whose love language consists of words of affirmation, you can love them better by expressing your love with sincere, heartfelt words and explaining the reasons why. Saying the words “I love you” is important but sharing the reason behind why you love them is even more important.
People who have this love language truly value notes of appreciation and love, verbal acknowledgment when they do a good job or something nice, sincere compliments, encouraging words, and regular communication. Mark Twain once said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” He may have needed this love language.
2. Quality time:
For people whose love language is quality time, they truly value spending time with their loved ones without distractions and having their undivided attention with no cell phones, tablets, or other devices. People whose love language is quality time feel very loved when they spend time doing something together, like going for a walk, meeting for a meal, engaging in a hobby together, engaging in deep conversation, working out, etc
You can love this type of person by dedicating some of your time doing something that they want to do and making sure there are no distractions that intrude on your time together. When it comes to quality time, it is not necessarily about the amount of time you spend together but the quality of that time you spend together. Even if you and your partner watch television together every night, this may not count as ‘quality time.’ Your partner may really appreciate it if you carve out even just 10 minutes of your day to give them your undivided attention and have a meaningful interaction with them.
3. Acts of service:
People with this love language will feel loved and cared for if their partner goes out of their way to take care of a task or obligation to ease their responsibilities. For them, actions speak louder than words. They will notice if you go out of your way to do small and meaningful actions such as doing household chores without them asking, taking care of them when they are feeling unwell, or making them coffee and breakfast in the morning so that they can sleep in a little longer
These acts of service make them feel that you are thinking about them and it shows them that you are genuinely looking for ways to make their daily lives easier.
People whose love language is gifts means they feel loved and adored when they receive a tangible item from a loved one. This does not mean that the gift must be extravagant and expensive and it does not mean you have to give them a gift every day. It can be something small from a thrift store or a wildflower picked from a field that made you think of them. The sentiment behind it is much more important than the cost or the item itself
Some gift ideas can involve getting them flowers even if it isn’t for any special occasion, leaving a small trinket or gift for your spouse to find when they wake up, picking up their favorite meal from their favorite restaurant on your way home, or surprising them with an airplane ticket to a place they have always wanted to go. These gifts show them you are thinking about them and that you remember what they said.
5. Physical touch:
A person whose love language is physical touch means receiving affection through touch, physical closeness, and physical connection is very important. Kissing, hugging, cuddling, holding hands, snuggling up close while watching TV, and sexual intimacy are all ways of expressing love through physical touch. Touching with respect can be an ‘emotional life-line’ to connect with your spouse and loved ones
Simply your physical presence in the room can be of immense value to your loved one. For those who value physical touch, they may feel calm and happy even with you just sitting next to them while they eat dinner or do their work. A lot of young children are like this.
Knowing about the five love languages can help us ask ourselves: “How can we show love to our family, friends, and spouse? How can we love them better?” Remember, love is a choice.
How does God show us His love?
God shows us love with agape love. What is agape? It is a Greek word that appears in the New Testament about 200 times. When the Bible was translated into English, the word ‘agape’ was translated into the word ‘love.
In English, we use the word love for a range of different things and to varying degrees. We can say “I love my wife and children” but can also use the same exact word to express: “I love french fries.” In ancient Greek, there are different words to express varying types of love. Agape refers to the deepest, selfless type of love we can have. Agape means having a commitment to a person and thus a commitment to their benefit. You want what is best for them and you are willing to sacrifice yourself or something for them. When we read the Bible in English, we can understand ‘love’ as the kind of love that agape embodies.
John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
In this verse we see all aspects of agape love: there is a loving commitment that God has for us because He loves us so much. He willingly sacrificed his one and only Son to save us. We see a willing, sacrificial benevolence shown towards us – to give us eternal life.
The love that God shows for us is therefore agape.
What does it mean that God shows us agape love?
In Romans 8, God reveals to us that all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons and daughters of God
Romans 8: 5-8 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. (NIV)
What this means is that anyone who is in Christ is a recipient of the Holy Spirit and therefore is a child of God. The kind of love God has for us is agape, and all we need to do is accept it and receive it.
Receiving God’s agape is much easier said than done. We can fall into deception by Satan where we may feel unworthy of His love or even forget about His love. We may think to ourselves, “How can we possibly be loved by God?” Or we may simply forget the truth because we get distracted and inundated by the world. We also may struggle to understand the kind of love that God has for us – as humans, we are imperfect and the way we show love to each other is imperfect.
What is this perfect type of love that God has for us?
In the Bible, God tells us what love is:
1 Corinthians 3: 4-8
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.
If we think about it, this truly is the love that God shows for us. He is patient with us. He is kind to us. He is never self-seeking and has a plan for us. He protects us. His love is never failing.
He also commands us to love each other:
John 13: 34
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
By meditating on Scripture and the act of love that God has shown for us, we are empowered to receive God’s love, to know that we are His children worthy of his love, and also to love one another.
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