The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman, first published in 1995, is a worldwide phenomenon, resulting in millions of copies sold, in multiple languages and countries.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a bookstore that doesn’t carry this title. Countless Churches host book studies with “The 5 Love Languages” as its theme. Newly engaged couples are often given this book as part of marriage preparation and even couples’ therapist will go over this book with his or her patients.
It’s safe to say that the ideas in this book have made a clear impact on our society and how we discuss affection and love with those around us.
For those uninitiated, Chapman’s main premise is that our “love language” is how we best recieve love by those around us. It is also how we show our affection for our most dear relationships.
Although the first book written by Chapman focused solely on romantic relationship, other versions of the book focused on other types of relationships. A version focused on children’s way of expressing love was released in 1997, while other iterations soon followed.
The “Love Languages” fall into the following 5 distinct categories:
- Words of Affirmation
- Quality Times
- Acts of Service
- Physical Affection
These categories, once identified, allow us to share affection with our significant other, children, or friends in ways that most fulfill us. It’s a great way to grow closer to those that we most care for because it allows each person to understand what they need from the other.
If you don’t know what your love language is, here is the link that would take you to the official site. Even if you don’t have a significant other, understanding how you recieve and accept love is paramount to being a more fulfilled person. It also works to understand the love language of your children.
Going through these ideas for the first time, I wondered if these love languages could be applied to how God loves us and how we love God.
Can we pinpoint a fulfilling way to grow in our relationship with Christ so
that we can grow in joy and, ultimately, can this lead us to holiness?
I think we can use the wisdom that Gary Chapman gave us in his books and identify some ways we can love God in our everyday life.
Here are some ideas.
The Five Love Languages of God
Words of Affirmation
If Words of Affirmation is your love language, you feel fulfilled by being told you are loved and you often do this for the ones you love.
You can fulfill this by reading the love story that God gives us in the Bible. In his word, he will tell you that you are “fearfully and wonderfully made”(Psalm 139:14) and that the Lord “know[s] the plan”(Jeremiah 29:11) he has for you.
By diving deep into the Scriptures, you can readily see just how beloved you are as a child of God. God will be affirming your identity in Him and reminding you of the sacrifice that He made for you. In fact, Christ reminds us that his “words are spirit and life”( John 6:63), they have the powert to transform us.
Additionally, speaking to him in prayer, being specific about how he has blessed you and how he holds your life, allows you to speak to him in a beautifully intimate way. By keeping our hearts open we can share words of affirmation with God and he can share them with us.
The main drive of those who’s love language is “quality time” is the need to spend time together with the people that they love. This time needs to be purposeful, such as doing an activity together. We can spend time with God through prayer, meditation, reading, journaling, or going to the Church to participate in different ministries.
The Lord is with us at all times, he tells us that “he is always with us” (Isaiah 41:10) and this shold bring us confidence in who he is. Because he never leaves our side, we can turn any opportunity to connect with God.
If we are washing the dishes, working, or doing laundry we can do all of these things knowing that the Lord is there with us. We can turn our everyday into one where we are constantly spending quality time with the Lord.
The most important thing to remember is that if no matter what we are doing we, as Christians, always have the opportunity to invite God into each moment. We are never alone.
Gifts as a love languge does not mean that the person is materialistic or that they have a problem showing love in other ways. A person who’s love language is “gifts” recieves joy in knowing they can provide for the people in their lives. Oftentimes, if something reminds them of their loved one, they will go out of their way to make sure that they are able to give this to the object of their affection.
So how do we give gifts to god?
God, in his goodness, has already given us gifts! You may be artistic or have a natural inclination towards baking, maybe you are skilled at woodworking or mechanics. Whatever gifts God has given us we need to use these gifts for his kingdom. We can show God how much we love by using all that we are to benefit him. If your gift is healthcare, then do that with a full heart knowing that you are honouring God in being who you are.
Alternately, our wealth and time are valuable for building up God’s kingdom. Do you have time to donate to the church? Can you be a part of a ministry? Or, are you able to support the church financially above your regular tithing?
Whatever ways God has gifted you, we can in turn offer everything back to him.
Acts of Service
Jesus says that “what we do to the least of these, you did to me” (Matthew 25:40). He is very clear that as Christian we ought to always think of those who are less fortunate. The downtrodden, the homeless, the needy, the hungry, and the imprisonsed are our brothers and sisters. We are charged to care for them, just as if Christ would care for them.
In Romans, Paul exorts us to “offer [our] bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God” (Romans 12:1), reminding us that it is pleasing to God when we take care of those who are our neighbors. Even if we don’t get to volunteer every week, we can serve Christ in how we interact and love the people around us. Community is central to the Gospel.
If Acts of Service is your love language, volunteering your time to help those most in need would allow you to serve God by serving others. By serving soup to the hungry, or reading to the inbound, you will be serving Christ. You will be showing him your love for him, not because you are saved through works, but because your living faith wants to express itself in caring and loving others.
All Christians are called to Acts of Service, but he has also made certain souls that are called to fulfill specific missions. Missionaries, those who are religious or serve the poor are called directly to this work.
By taking care of others, we can show our devotion to the Lord.
This love language is the most difficult to contend with since God is immaterial.
Other than reaching out and huggging the people nearest us, sometimes we may feel disconnected from God if we rely on physical affection to experience love.
However, God in his mercy, and knowing that we would want to be united to him gave us the Eucharist.
He gave us all of himself during the last supper and in his Crucifixion.
The easiest way to feel a physical connection to the Lord here on Earth is through Communion!
In the Eucharist he gives us his blood, body, soul and divinity. He gives us all of himself in this sacrament. We are able to be united to him here on Earth. We give ourselves to him just as he gave himself to us, and as he continues to do everyday.
If physical affection is your love language, attempt to recieve the Lord as often as possible, thanking him that he would connect with you even in a physical way while we are here on Earth. He wants to live in our hearts and experience each of our breaths, we can allow him to be so united to him by loving Jesus in the Eucharist.
Ultimately, the Lord is our greatest love.
Since it takes hard work to maintain our relationships here on Earth, we also should be concerned that we are doing what we can to reach out to the Lord. Whatever your love language is we can use this knowledge to grow closer to Christ and allow him to show us his daily love for us.
What do you guys think?
Is there a way to understand the love languages in relation to our relationship to God? What is your “God Love Language”?
Let me know what you think in the comments!
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