Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages, has ignited minds all over the world to understand AND incorporate five nuances of love into their relationships: acts of service, words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, and gifts. It’s been absolutely one of the most practical books we’ve read to help our marriage thrive (Prism here, so I’m talking ‘bout you too, Kodak!). There is even a kid’s-focused edition (among many others) we’ve loved too. The whole message of the book is so simple, and yet so easy to forget.
Here is my REALLY brief summary: we all feel loved by different things (and yes, this goes in seasons). So, if we want to get the most “bang for our buck” when it comes to conscious efforts to show love to someone else, we may want to spend the extra time thinking, “What would THEY want?” or “How do THEY receive love best?” rather than doing the thing WE like to do best. This is not a revolutionary way to think, but what Gary Chapman did was to sort these things into five neat-and-tidy categories… Giving us a love “menu” of sorts.
If you haven’t read the book or checked out the website linked above, I do recommend it - but I’m going to shift gears a little bit, so hang with me. If what I’ve said above makes sense so far, let’s take it a different direction: can we love GOD with the five love languages?
Genesis 1:27 (NIV) says:
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
This single verse packs a punch, but here is the part I want to focus on: if we are created in God’s image, could the ways we receive love and feel love be a reflection of how God does too?
It’s relatively easy to identify what those five happy-little categories mean when we are thinking about our spouses or children, but obviously, things get a little more complicated trying to apply these same categories to our Heavenly Father (see if you can add your own ideas to the following):
Acts of service - God doesn’t have “chores” that we can do for Him (I mean, He created the world with His words and will, so I’m pretty confident He never NEEDS us to do anything, but rather invites us to do things so we can grow closer to Him and participate in His work here, but that’s a whole different blog…), but I propose that any time we serve others, we love Him by acts of service. Maybe this is offering to volunteer at the local shelter, or delivering a “curbside” meal to someone you know has been depressed during the pandemic - can even be much simpler than that, but doing a service so someone else doesn’t have to - that’s the idea.
Words of affirmation - This had to be David’s specialty. His Psalms overflow with words affirming who God is. For me, I like to spend time journaling my morning prayers and often wind up focusing on my own life… and spend far too little affirming God for who He is and how much I love and adore Him.
Physical touch - This one can get weird, but try to hear me out: if the idea of physical touch is to remind someone how close you are and that their presence is cherished, how can we do that with God? For me, I feel close to God holding His Word, the Bible, in my own two hands, lifting my hands or bowing my body when praying or worshipping with music, or even holding hands (wash them!) with other believers in prayer or worship.
Quality time - This one is remarkably easy to talk about, but I struggle to do: spending time with God without an agenda… Making time for listening to Him. Letting Him lead our time together.
Gifts - Again, God doesn’t need a single thing from us, but how amazing it is that He invites us to get involved in His work! Giving money to somewhere we see the Holy Spirit at work is an obvious way we can love God with gifts, but maybe not as obvious would be giving God our time, giving God our education, giving God our careers, giving God our children, giving God our brokenness, or even giving God our future.
(I’m sure my list is missing many fabulous ideas, so please comment below!)
What do you think - is their one “language” you haven’t “spoken” lately? Do it soon, you’ll love how it fills up your own heart too.