Communicating Love

Have you heard of the Five Love Languages written by Dr. Gary Chapman? It’s eye-opening realize that people express and receive love in different ways. If our expression of love differs from the receiver’s, the message may get lost in translation. If you haven’t taken the assessment follow the link below.

There are five different primary love languages:

Words of affirmation: This is using our words to show our appreciation and encouragement. These are the cheerleaders in our lives. The ones saying “You can do it!” or “I’m proud of you!” They are more likely to pay a compliments or use kind words to life your spirits. They use their words to motivate us to overcome our insecurities. It is equally important that they hear words of encouragement. A harsh word can be very hurtful to these people. Both the words used and the tone will affect the message received.

Quality time: This is using our presence to communicate that the other person is a priority to us. It generally doesn’t matter how this time is spent, only that it is intentional with undivided attention. This is different than just being physically in the same place. This time can be spent talking or doing an activity together. The time spent should be purposeful, which means: 1)putting the phone and any distractions away, 2) making eye contact, 3) not interrupting, 4) paying attention to body language, and 5) listening for feelings. You can recognize these people because these are the qualities you will see them exhibit toward you.

Receiving gifts: Gifts are used to convey that we thought about the other person. It doesn’t have to be expensive, it could be something we found or something we already had. It is not only the thought that counts, but the effort shown to obtain the gift and to give it. It sends the message that they are important to us. These people give personalized gifts that reflect your interests and always seem to find just the right gift. These people also enjoy the gift of self, which is being there at times that are important to them. Forgetting a gift on an important date or picking out a thoughtless gift feels hurtful to these people because it sends the message that they weren’t worth the effort.

Acts of service: This is when you willingly go out of your way to do fulfill the other person’s needs. These are the helpers who willing to take on extra burdens to help lighten your load. These acts are a self-sacrificing demonstration of your value to them. Performing an act of service requires thought, planning, time, effort, and energy. Like love, it is a decision to give of ourselves for the good of the other person. It can also mean placing their own needs on hold in order to serve another. If these acts are taken for granted or demands or placed it can cause feelings of rejection and resentment.

Physical touch: Touch is a fundamental human need, and serves as a form of communications when words or actions may fail us. Emotional responses are triggered when we touch another human being. These are the people who freely give hugs or other physical contact to others. Touch does not have to be sexual in nature to communicate love and compassion. We can communicate love by holding their hand, placing a hand on their shoulder, or giving a hug. Not all touch is equal, and these people may be sensitive to both the pressure and location of touch. Avoiding physical contact or limiting physical affection can make them feel unloved.

Although we are a blend of each, we generally have one or two of these that are dominant. Likewise, others may be rarely used at all. Learning and understanding the love languages of others in your life is necessary for us to communicate that they are loved and valued. For example, my love language is quality time. My husband’s love language is acts of service. When I am wanting is his time and attention, I could be hurt when he is spending his time working on household projects. Seeing things from his perspective, I realize he is actually doing those things for me, expecting that I will appreciate them. Without this understanding, I might feel hurt that he didn’t want to spend time with me. I may even complain about how he is too busy with projects. The effort to show love would go unnoticed, instead causing arguments and resentment. It’s difficult to communicate love when you’re not aren’t speaking the same language. This is just as true in family relationships and friendships. In Jesus we see examples of the perfect expressions of love.

Jesus’ words of affirmation:

When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, he said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” Luke 7:1-10 (faith of Roman centurion)

Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment. Matthew 15:28 (faith of Canaanite woman)

Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” Luke 21:3-4 (a widow’s offering)

“Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” Matthew 16:13 (sinful woman’s humility)

Jesus’ quality time:

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35 (with the Father)

When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. Mark 6:34 (with followers)

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” Luke 19:1-10 (with sinners)

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31 (with disciples)

He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. Mark 5:37 (with friends)

After this He went down to Capernaum, He and His mother and His brothers and His disciples; and they stayed there a few days. John 2:12 (with family)

Jesus’ gifts:

Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. John 6:11 (feeds the hungry)

And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. Luke 9:1 (provides direction)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (spiritual rest)

No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” John 10:18 (his life)

[B]ut whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 14:4 (eternal life)

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 (peace)

Jesus’ acts of service:

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:14 (sacrificial lamb)

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Matthew 14:14 (healer)

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. John 13:3-5 (servant of others)

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. John 2:6-9 (problem solver)

Physical touch:

A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. Mark 1:40-42 (touches the untouchable)

Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you”; and their sight was restored. Matthew 9:29-30 (opens the eyes of those he touches)

After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly. Mark 7:33-35 (his touch makes the impossible possible)

On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. Luke 13:10-14 (fixes those who can’t fix themselves)

Throughout the gospels we see that Jesus spoke all five love languages fluently. He met each person as they were, tailoring his interactions to convey his message to each individual person. He often incorporated multiple love languages into just one action. As followers of Jesus we are asked to love one another. And like Jesus, we must consistently express our love in a way others can understand.

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

John 13:35

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