My secondary love language is encouragement. Gary Chapman in his book The Five Love Languages describes it as “words of affirmation”. My primary love language is quality time. The others are acts of service, gifts, or touch. I spend time with an encourage those I love. A lot, whenever I can. Some people I love are far away so I spend time and pray for them. It’s what I do.
Well, the downside of having a love language is that if people you live with or are married to don’t speak your language, you either have to keep reminding yourself that they speak a different language and still love you or you don’t really feel loved. I feel loved by my kids because we spend a LOT of time together. I spend a lot of time with my husband since he retired also. The secondary language, encouragement, is harder to come by. My daughter is the best at it, thank God, and my son is when his teenage hormones ate not in charge, but my husband could quite literally be the best critic in the universe. He could find something wrong with every tiny thing and suck out every ounce of happiness you might otherwise find in his presence. I brought this to his attention and he was more careful for five or ten minutes, so we are not without hope, but criticism eats me alive and my poor kids too. Horrible stuff, criticism. I strongly recommend staying away from the stuff, it’s like acid eating away at your heart.
Anyway, the point… focusing on Jesus and His Word the Bible encourages me and gives me time with Him. And in this way, I have stayed married to the critic, stayed sane, thrived in my knowledge of the truth of who I am in Jesus, and have taught my kids they are who Jesus says they are and not what any other person on earth says. We are not defined by our sins but by His redemption. I am not my failures but His victory, precious and loved. This is now and will always be true 100% of the time.❤
Of course this brings to mind Gary Chapman’s book on The Five Love Languages, which I recommend highly. These are quality time, touch, acts of service, gifts and/or encouragement, to paraphrase. He states that people generally speak one or possibly two of those “love languages” and must have that form of love language to be filled up in their “love tank” and if not, get drained. I believe that is true but there is a little more to it. I believe that how we say things is as important as what we say. Both are important and when in doubt of the effect of potential words that may be tempted to leave our mouths, we should act in place of speak. Words can paralyze spiritual lives. The wrong words at the wrong times can damage the soul of an individual all the way until the Lord can help them forgive and they still can’t seem to forget. It is so important that those of us who love the Lord do so to other people and speak the way He spoke. Jesus Christ is our example, our template. He spoke love, he taught truth, and even when He had the right to judge someone doing wrong, he abstained and spoke love and truth and healing. He went a step further and healed them and gave them what they needed to serve. If our Lord spoke this way- love, peace truth, comfort, strength, encouragement, etc.- shouldn’t we? Shouldn’t our love for the wounded or lost drive us to be as loving and uplifting as possible? Maybe they would be healed or saved because of it. If you roar in like some deranged lion, pouncing on and judging every wrong doing, you are affirming their belief that we are whackos and judgmental dictators and holier-than-thou annoying people with nothing but hate and anger to offer. And if you speak this way and harm another soul, you are helping no one and in fact will be judged guilty for it yourself. Behavior like that comes from spiritual immaturity, IG orange and pride, the need to be right and prove you are better than so done else. So, the opposite behavior should be our goal. We should strive to love on people, pray and encourage even our enemies, be quiet examples of love and service and faith and maybe people will see that Christ’s truth and love brings peace and hope, something desperately needed by everyone right now. Maybe you will even strengthen a weak, immature or ignorant fellow believer. I hope so. Love looks like acceptance of the person, made in the image of God. Love looks like help when they need it. Love looks like being there for the even if not asked. Love looks like forgiveness even when undeserved. Love looks like smiles when frowns are given back. Love is opening a door for someone and not expecting a thank you in response. Love is sharing Christ and His salvation gift in love so they will have hope and eternal life in heaven. Love is getting over yourself and giving yourself to Christ for His sake and not for your own.
My love language is time. People whose love language is not time do not understand that. Just as my son, whose love language is gifts, speaks a foreign tongue to me. I give him gifts because I love him and force myself to, not because they mean anything to me other than that’s how he feels loved. My daughter’s love language is touch. She hugs and kisses me all day long. Again, not my forte, so I have to make myself physically available to her for hugging. My husband is good at giving me time, though his love language is acts of service. So, I purposefully serve my husband because I love him and he purposefully makes time for me. It works! Why does any of this matter? Why would it be important to another human soul?
Here’s the kick- if you’re not speaking the correct love language to a person you are trying to reach for Christ or minister to or love, you might as well be speaking a lost Japanese dialect with a French accent. To love someone, you have to study them and learn how they feel loved. Without speaking their speak, your time’s wasted and theirs is as well. They will not feel what you’re trying to convey.
The beauty of God is that he knows everyone intimately and purposefully. So, He can guide you in your quest. But the truly beautiful thing is that He speaks proficiently in every love language. He is a master of every tongue, because He loves the soul, the heart of the individual. You are truly loved by God. If no one on this planet that you have regular access to knows how to love you right… God does. Give Him a chance to show you. It will blow your mind.