Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Knowing God loves you...

The other day, the kids were talking about the five Love Languages. (These come from Gary Chapman in his book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That LastsTheir Sunday School teacher had talked about the many aspects of God's love and human love, and had included a little about these, which my kids found fascinating.)

So we were all talking about what their love languages might be, comparing different things that mean the most to them, etc.

My oldest seems totally confident that hers is quality time, and I think she's right. She seemed able to quickly identify other people in the family who also loved quality time as well...I guess she'd grown good at noticing which people were always eager to spend time with her and only needed someone to point out what this meant about her.

My son is a little harder, as almost all of them seem to fit him quite strongly. I suspect that receiving gifts is one of his for two reasons, though. One, every gift anyone gives him is "my favorite" and "what I always wanted!" I'm not kidding...every single one, even if he never thought of wanting it. And he sees no reason why he can't have lots and lots of favorites. He's not pretentious about it...his face glows with simple pleasure and appreciation over any gift, no matter how small. And two, it really, really bothers him when someone he loves has a birthday or celebration and he doesn't have a gift to give them. I mean, it seriously bothers him, even if no one else gave gifts and the person insists over and over again that just a hug or seeing him is a gift. But it makes sense, doesn't it? The things that make us feel loved are the things that we naturally turn to when we want to show love as well.

My youngest... well, none of them seemed to fit her! She's just not very demonstrative, so it's hard to know what really means the most to her. So I started asking her either/or questions in an attempt to find out what meant the most to her.

And that's when a new thought occurred to me.

Do our love languages affect our relationship with God? Do they, perhaps, affect which scriptures mean the most to us? Do they affect how we attempt to show our love for God?

I thought about my two primary love languages, words of affirmation and physical touch, and I can definitely see a connection. I love scriptures that tell me how God sees me...that tell me who I am in Christ. Furthermore, I feel closest to God when I am worshiping--telling Him what He means to me. I thought about how physical touch isn't something we can share with an invisible God, but then I thought of something that almost made me laugh at myself. For as long as I can remember, when I'm hurting or struggling or feeling a desperate need for God's comfort, peace, or faithfulness, guess what I've always done? I close my eyes and envision myself crawling up on the lap of my Heavenly Father and curling up in His arms. Time and time again, that is where I go to be comforted, where His touch wraps me in love.

I think I'm going to dedicate my next five posts to these five love languages and discover scriptures in which God shows His love for us in all five ways. I'm not really sure what I will discover, but the prospect excites me. If nothing else, it will show me which scriptures are likely to speak the most clearly to my own children.

In the meantime, if you're not familiar with the five love languages, I'll ask you a very simple question to give you a general idea of what they're about. Basically, different expressions of love mean more or less to different people. Understanding what means the most to you and those you love and why can help our communication skills.

Think of the person who means the most to you in life...your spouse, your mother, etc. Now imagine that they do (or would do) these five things for you, totally voluntarily, with no ulterior motives or external pressures or considerations. Imagine that they just do them because they want to, because they care about you.

Which would be hardest for you to give up? Rate them, if you like.
1) Telling you how much you mean to them and what they admire about you.
2) Spending the day with you, just hanging out together wherever it is the two of you like to hang out.
3) Surprising you with little gifts every so often, just to show you they were thinking about you.
4) Helping you with tasks, like doing dishes or making dinner for you when you're tired, or going out of their way to bring you a hot meal on the job.
5) Giving you a hug when you meet, wrapping an arm around you when you need to cry on someone's shoulder, resting a sympathetic hand on your arm when you feel alone. In the case of your spouse, holding your hand in an gentle but active grip rather than a limp unconscious one, or wrapping his/her arms around you.

Now...
Number One reflects Words of Affirmation.
Number Two reflects Quality Time.
Number Three reflects Receiving Gifts.
Number Four reflects Acts of Service.
Number Five reflects Physical Touch.

Me... I could care less about receiving gifts, and it really doesn't take much time with someone for me to feel like I've connected with them. But do NOT ask me to give up hearing the simple words, "Good job!" And if my husband goes a day or two without wrapping his arms around me, I seriously start wondering if something's wrong! ::smiles:: On the other hand, there is nothing my husband rates more highly than when I chose to accompany him on an otherwise boring and meaningless trip to the hardware store. It took me years to figure out why it hurt him so much when I said I didn't particularly want to go with him to buy plumbing parts.

If you'd like to read more about the five love languages, as identified and explained by Gary Chapman, you can do that on his website. Or, you can take a free mini-test on this website.

6 comments:

  • Julie says:
    Wednesday, June 24, 2009

    Great post...

    I wonder also if sometimes our language changes... dependent on the need in the moment... For instance when my father passed away touch spoke love to me. I needed arms wrapped around me... each one offered compassion. Touch is not one I would consider a love language for me.. but there are times when I desperately need touch.

    Sometimes the language depends on the need I feel. Do you see that in your life?

    I will be curious to see the languages shown through scripture. That will be cool.

    Sometimes when I'm really hurting and needing that physical touch from Papa God, I wrap my arms around myself to hug myself while I cry...

  • bluecottonmemory says:
    Monday, June 29, 2009

    I am soooo a fan of the Love Languages (see my blog book review for moms). It's allowed me to hug my children in the way they best feel hugged. It allows you to love your chldren more efficiently, effectively, and consistently:) I'm throwing you a word of affirmation hug!!!

  • Annie says:
    Monday, June 29, 2009

    Katie -

    Loved this!!!! And I am SO ecited for the next 5 posts! I've thought of that idea as well - how we relate to God, and how He relates to us. And various Scriptures that point to Him loving us in each of the areas. Apart from a mental excercise, though, I've never really taken the time to search them out. I'll be excited to see what you find!

    And btw, I am HUGELY Quality Time (makes me really sympathize with () there.) I didn't know () was so about gifts!! That makes me want to focus more on this for him. And () ... you know, I find that people who are difficult to pinpoint, are probably Quality Time. That really is a guess, ... but the other languages seem to demonstrate themselves more noticeably.

    So excited for the next 5 posts!

  • Crown of Beauty says:
    Wednesday, July 01, 2009

    I've known about the love languages from but what you said about it possibly affecting the way we relate to God struck me. It must be true. I can see how my primary love language, spending quality time with the one I love, and expecting the same from someone who loves me, is also how I show God I love Him! My second love language is expressing it verbally, so that is also how I show love to God, by writing Him love letters, or telling Him how much I appreciate Him!


    Thanks for this insight!

  • Crown of Beauty says:
    Wednesday, July 01, 2009

    P.S. I am so looking forward to your next posts about the Love Languages.

  • Letters From Midlife says:
    Friday, July 03, 2009

    I read this book a long time ago and your post motivates me to read it again. I think our love language can change over time depending on what is going on in our lives. How wonderful that your children are learning about this through their Sunday School teacher.

Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion