God's Love Language
Live and love in a way that makes God smile.
Why does it take so long to learn how to love the important people in our life? Am I the only slow learner in this crowd? When our kids were young, I couldn't understand why my wife didn't feel more adored by me. I'd come home at night to a house that had clearly been the scene of a minor riot by our boys. My acute powers of discernment told me that Amy was feeling a little bit stressed out—the two children in solitary confinement were my first clue!
Being the heroically loving husband I am, I'd immediately spring into benevolent action. "You're a great mom, honey, and I love you," I'd say, and then I'd walk over to give her a comforting hug. Amy would step back and sigh, "Can you please get the boys to clean up?" or "Will you just take out the garbage?" And I'd be wounded: What's wrong with her? If she told me that she loved me and that I was a wonderful pastor, and if she wanted to give me an affectionate hug, I'd have been thrilled. But no, not her.
As I said, I am a slow learner. Thankfully, my wife is a patient teacher. I did finally make some progress; Gary Chapman's classic work The Five Love Languages helped. In this phenomenally useful book, Chapman offers three ideas everybody should understand if they want to get better at loving others. The first idea is this: There are, basically, five ways that love gets expressed and recognized:
1. Through words of affirmation: "I love you." "You did a great job." "I'm proud of you." 2. Through physical touch: a hug, a held hand, a cuddle on the couch, or more. 3. Through quality time spent: a lazy breakfast, an afternoon outing, an unplugged evening, or vacation. 4. Through personal gifts: a piece of jewelry, sports equipment, an electronic gadget, something ...
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Dan Meyer is pastor of Christ Church of Oak Brook in Oak Brook, Illinois.