Gary Chapman wrote “The Five Love Languages”, a popular book that details the five main ways we express and experience love: Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Quality Time, Acts of Service, and Receiving Gifts.
We are each unique in our emotional needs, and we require different things to feel loved and appreciated. The expression of love that is most meaningful to me is, and has always been, Words of Affirmation. I need to hear that I am cared for, appreciated, and enjoyed. If I don’t have affirmation from someone, even if they are loving me in their own particular love language, I don’t feel loved.
The expressions of love that I have consistently scored a zero on are Receiving Gifts and Acts of Service. Although I do appreciate these tangible displays of consideration, I much more deeply crave those Words of Affirmation. That’s just the way I’m hard wired.
When we feel loved by someone, we feel emotionally connected to them. This is why it is so important that we learn how to effectively communicate our love to the people we care about in the ways that are most meaningful to them. An emotional need that is met goes away, but one that is unmet can cause pain for a lifetime.
As I consider the love that God has for us, I realize something: He loves each of us in all of the Love Languages at once.
He speaks Words of Affirmation in the Bible. Jeremiah 31:3 says he loves us with an everlasting love. Isaiah 43:4 tells us that we are precious to Him.
God shows His love to us by spending Quality Time with us: Deuteronomy 31:6 and Hebrews 13:5 tell us that He will never leave or abandon us. Joshua 1:9 says that He is with us everywhere we go. If we are not spending Quality Time with God, it’s because we have walked away, not because He has.
God performs Acts of Service by going ahead of us and preparing people’s hearts to be receptive to us, and by weaving the threads of our lives together through rocky terrain to form a path that ultimately leads to the joy of a deep relationship with Him. “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him.” Romans 8:28
He meets our need for Receiving Gifts by providing things that enrich our lives: family, children, and all of the things that bring us joy.
Our need for Physical Touch is met by the Holy Spirit, who indwells every child of God, and who was given to us as our Comforter. We feel the warm embrace of His presence in our darkest times, and He holds us in our loneliness and despair.
When the people in our lives don’t know how to communicate their love in ways that are meaningful to us, we can be thankful for the love of God, who speaks our Love Language, no matter what it is.