Once we understand that relationships, not accomplishments, have the deepest meaning in life, our primary goal in communication becomes, “How can I meet the love needs of the other person?” Do you know what specific language fills the emotional needs of those God has placed in your life to love?
Are you aware of the meaningful expressions of affection that fill up your own cup? Selfless behavior and self-disclosure are like sugar and cream, the flavor enhancements to deeper and more intimate communication. Everyone needs one or more of these expressions of sincere love in order for life to “taste good!”
Time: a healthy dose of opportunities for intimate interaction (both quantity and quality of time)
- Undivided, focused attention: Put the newspaper down
- Eye contact: “I love you” seen from across the room,
- Listening without giving advice: No formulas for fixing it, please.
- Togetherness activities: “Let’s go for a walk.”
- Physical presence: “I like having you around.”
Biblical Example: Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus (Read Luke 10:38–42).
Talk: compliments and words that affirm or build up
- Words of affirmation: “Our relationship is important to me.”
- Verbal compliments: “You did a great job on this meal.”
- Encouragement: “I’ve noticed that you write thoughtful notes and letters.”
- Words of appreciation: “I really appreciate your cleaning up the garage.”
- Words spoken kindly: “I love you. Will you please forgive me?”
Biblical Example: Parable of tree and its fruit (Read Luke 6:43–45).
Tasks: doing things that are meaningful to one another
- Acts of serving one another: Pitching in when help is needed
- Doing chores together: Cooking, cleaning, yard work or running errands
- Recognizing when there is a need: “You’re feeling bad. Let me clean up.”
- Discerning the “right” things to do: What is most meaningful to the other, not to you?
- Serving your loved one’s extended family: “I’ll sit with your grandmother in the hospital.”
Biblical Example: The Good Samaritan (Read Luke 10:30–37).
Tokens: giving gifts as visual symbols of love
- Communicate love and affection through giving gifts.
- Discern what kind of gifts are most desired, not what you would desire.
- Gifts should never be used as a bribe or have strings attached.
- Cost is not the issue unless it is way out of line with the available resources.
- Tokens of love can also be written notes of admiration and encouragement.
Biblical Example: The widow’s mite (Read Luke 21:1–4).
Touch: tender and loving physical contact
- Kissing, touching and embracing often
- Appropriate, playful touching
- Holding hands
- Back and foot rubs
- Hand on the shoulder
Biblical Example: Jesus anointed by a sinful woman (Read Luke 7:36–38).
To discover your love language: ask yourself these questions:
“What complaints do I hear the most in regard to what I am not doing?”
“What am I often requested to do?”
“How does my loved one show love to others?”
“Have I lovingly asked what is most meaningful?”
“Can I respond in another’s language of love, even when I don’t feel like it?”
“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11).
[print_link] [email_link] [this series is largely based on my reading of Hunt, J. (2008). Biblical Counseling Keys on Communication: The Heart of the Matter. Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart]
[For more info on the Love Languages, go to www.5lovelanguages.com]