Over the last few weeks we have been learning about human relationships and we have learned about personality types, thought patterns, and last week we started on Love Languages as they are taught in the book “Talk Easy, Listen Hard” by Nancy Sebastian Meyer. By the way… I will say again, she was a real sweetheart about us doing this series. I am so happy so many of you bought her book. She is a great resource.
We have included material from “Marriage on the Rock” by Jimmy and Karen Evans and we have talked about the book “The Five Love Languages”. Before we finish I want to make sure that you realize that part of Loving someone is making an effort to Love them. If you really want to gain a deep understanding of these skills then you need to pursue them and never stop learning to Love. It is the most important job you will ever have.
I told you about a Doctor, a counselor, by the name of Gary Chapman who has studied people and has boiled the ways we feel and give Love down to five forms that he calls Love Languages. He cover all of this in his book “The Five Love Languages”.
The analogy he uses is a bucket. He says we all have a Love bucket that reflects how Loved we feel. If our Love bucket is full we will be happy and content in our relationships. If our Love bucket is empty then we will feel abandoned and unloved.
When it comes to feeling Loved it really doesn’t matter how much we are Loved, what matters is how much we perceive this Love. We only put things in our Love bucket that make us feel Loved. The things that are said or done for us or with us that make us feel Loved, those are our Love Languages. It is how we speak and hear Love from others.
The five languages Dr. Chapman categorized are:
· Words of Affirmation
· Acts of Service
· Quality Time
We covered ‘Touch’ and ‘Quality Time’
What we are talking about tonight it what makes us all unique. What is that thing that makes us feel like someone is giving us Love; What builds a forever marriage.
So if you didn’t find yourself or your spouse last week, you will probably find them this week. But also keep in mind that you may have found part of yourself or your spouse last week and there may be a large part of the answer found this week.
Although there are some people who do not like to be touched just for the sake of connection, there are not many. I cannot think of anyone who doesn’t want some quality time with a there sweetie, but there are those of us who find an hour of silence will do just fine. There are none of these Love Languages that people don’t like. What we are looking for is the one or two of them that make your loved one feel filled up with Love from you.
Words of Affirmation
The first language we are going to talk about tonight is Words of Affirmation.
God Love’s Words. In fact John 1 tells us that Jesus is the Word of God.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1
Let’s go over some things that would be true about you if your love language is Words of Affirmation.
· I enjoy giving and receiving compliments. (Yes/no)
· If I think my honey looks good, I’m quick to say so. (Yes/no)
· I feel taken for granted when my thoughtfulness isn’t acknowledged. (Yes/no)
· I love it when I overhear my spouse speaking well of me to someone else. (Yes/no)
· Before I go to bed, say goodbye, or hang up the phone, I say, “I love you.” (Yes/no)
· I never get tired of hearing, “I love you” or “You’re wonderful.” (Yes/no)
Words of Affirmation are not a need to be unrealistically complimented or fawned over. It isn’t about false encouragement. Words of Affirmation are about feeling connection and an affirmation of the fact at that you need them Love them. These people are wired to feel Love through the words they hear. They NEED IT. Really!
Words of Affirmation include:
· “I really appreciate that you got the trash to the street”
· “Nobody takes care of me like you do”
· “I Love you”
· “When you rub my feet you melt me”
· Leave a note about something they did yesterday
What is happening for you partner during these times is that layers of doubt about your Love are being removed. For these people “Stick and Stone may break their bones” but words will crush them and run them through a shredder. Words are how these people connect of even disconnect.
So… That being said, What is the last compliment you gave your spouse?
Reality break: Making up a compliment (lying) will be destroy the person with this Love Language as much as a genuine one will build them up. You see from that point everything you say or have said is now just something you did to trick them. Once bitten twice shy.
Keep in mind that sincerity is key here. If you are just constantly bombarding this person with every word about them that comes to your mind then they will grow immune to it. These are people who live and die on words. They will lose respect for your words when they become just a scoring device for you. If you keep it real, you have no problems.
If your Loved one’s Primary Love language is Words of Affirmation here are some ideas for simple ways you can fill their Love Tank.
Words of Affirmation Language Ideas
· I Love You
· Write something special on the window of their care
o “Beautiful Redhead inside”
o “Awesome hunk of man”
· Put a card in their car or purse
· Compliment them in front of your family and friends
· I like your __________ (be specific / BE HONEST)
Reality break number 2: If this is your Love Language that does not mean that your spouse is William Shakespeare or Elizabeth Barrett Browning. If your spouse gives you a card that is factory made you need to know that for them they wanted to give you something high quality and they lack confidence in themselves.
Reality break number 3: If me telling you that your spouse’s Love Language is Words of Affirmation makes you feel like a deer in headlights then don’t worry. I just gave you a break. Now lean on the world of greeting cards, great poetry, and the list in this book. Just be honest.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote,
How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
Yeah, She was good.
You could take this hint.
Write: How do I Love You…Let me count the ways.
Then spend a month writing down things your spouse has done or that you have seen that are great about them.
Let’s go over some things that would be true about you if your Love Language is Gifts.
If this is your spouses Love Language here are some traits you will see:
· You enjoy spending great thought and energy on gifts for people you love. (Yes/no)
· You love to be surprised with flowers. (Yes/no)
· You look forward to Christmas shopping. (Yes/no)
· You think birthdays should last a whole week with a little gift every day. (Yes/no)
· The price of a gift doesn’t matter to you – it’s the thought that counts. (Yes/no)
· You try to always bring gifts for those hosting you in their homes. (Yes/no)
· You have a store of little gifts to give out if someone gives you something. (Yes/no)
God is an amazing gift giver. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16 God gave us the earth and all that contains. So if this is your Love Language you get it naturally.
Gifts seem to the about the simplest Love Language to speak to a Loved one. But be careful. Sincerity in gift giving is as important as it is in the words we speak. See as much as we have been trained the size or price matters, to this person nothing matters more than the fact that you thought about them. This is a tangible and touchable expression of Love from you. It is something they actually feel and hold from you.
Gifts can include:
· Flowers sent to them at work
· Something you made
· A gift certificate for a favor
Not to be shallow, but if you can hold it and you gave it with Loving thought… It counts. The good news about this Love Language is that unlike some of the others this language is not difficult to learn. You don’t need to be a poet. You don’t need to be able to gauge whether or not that counted as ‘quality time’. It is also a language that can speak for years.
Nancy Sebastian Meyer tells of a leather coat her husband got her one winter. Every time she wear it she thinks about him.
Reality Break Number 1: If this is your spouse’s Love Language you are going to have to make a spot in your budget for gifting. Did I say a giant spot? No, but you are going to have to make a spot.
Reality Break Number 2: If this is your Love Language you need to chill out about the budget watching. If you watch your spouse’s debit card every week and see a charge for Lowery’s Candies then you will ruin the surprise. If necessary make this budget cash.
Gift Language Ideas
· A Collectible (did you notice one they like – bonus)
· A homemade craft
· An indoor picnic on a rainy day
· A piece of artwork
Last word on gifting. If you feel locked up about gifts or don’t feel like you can be creative in gifting; Remember the ideas for Words. Find a friend who is good at it. Find a book, MAYBE THIS ONE, that has ideas in it. You loved one is more concerned that you took the time to find an idea than they are with the fact that it is your idea.
Reality Break Number 3: Again like words, gifts can become trivial if they are not from the heart. If you walk in the house every Tuesday with a rose then it isn’t a gift. It is a job you do. If you do it every Tuesday for a month and end with a boquet of and a not saying that she means more to you than flowers can express… that was a gift from the heart.
Tell about my silk rose tradition…
Acts of Service
Let’s go over some things that would be true about you if your Love Language is Acts of Service.
If this is your spouse’s Love Language here are some traits you will see:
· When I come home late and find dinner ready on the table, I’m in heaven! (Yes/no)
· I love being surprised by a freshly washed and vacuumed car. (Yes/no)
· I need chicken soup and to be fussed over when I’m sick. (Yes/no)
· I love it when my spouse comes out and helps me with yard work. (Yes/no)
· I like the checkout line where they bag my groceries for me. (Yes/no)
· I really appreciate if someone offers to take a responsibility from me when I’m not feeling well. (Yes/no)
Nothing screams acts of service like the ministry of Jesus. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave… just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Matthew 20:26-28 Jesus cooked for those He loved (John 21), Jesus took off His shirt and washed the feet of those He loved (John 13), and Jesus died for all of us.
Acts of Service are not necessarily going to cost you money, but for some of us they are going to cost you more than you think you can afford. Imagine how much pride Jesus Christ must have swallowed to take off His clothes, throw a towel over his arm, and tell a room full of men to remove their shoes so he could wash their feet. Did he do it because they had dirty feet, well maybe they did… But that was not it.
Jesus said, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” – John 13:8 For your Loved one whose Love Language is ‘Acts of Service’ when you do something for them or they do something for you it is part of being one with each other.
Acts of Service can include:
· Foot Washing/Rubbing may be substituted
· Doing yard work when the time is right
· Doing the laundry
· Planning events
· Bringing a treat or a drink as they relax
Acts of service being the Love Language of your spouse may have just become glaringly obvious for you. Does your spouse just get things done? Do you have that spouse that just gets Doctors appointments set for everyone? Do you have that spouse who always gets the maintenance done on the house? Wake up a smell the Love. That is how they are Loving you.
The trick here is to make sure that you are returning this Love. The nice thing is that the list of services that you can do are endless. Another nice layer to that is that these services are not as dependent on you being a big romantic. For someone who receives Love in these ways you can be giving Love by shoveling snow off of their car before you leave for work, finishing the dishes, or even cleaning up the dog mess without being asked. How romantic right?
Don’t knock it… It is real and deniable Love.
Reality Break Number 1: If this is your spouse’s Love Language you may not always get credit for doing it. It can kill the gift effect if you announce that you did it every time. But on the other hand someone else might have done it. So sometimes you may have to be happy to have done it for Love.
Reality Break Number 2: If this is your Love Language you need to know that an act of service half done doesn’t give half the Love. It gives none of it. The fact that isn’t done actually amplifies that fact that you didn’t do it. So if you throw the towels in to be washed and three days later they find them mildewed in the washer. BZZZZZZZZZ! No Love. If you start a bathroom remodel and six months later they are still using the neighbor’s bathroom. BZZZZZZZZZ! No Love.
Acts of Service Language Ideas
· Clean the kitchen or bathroom
· Bake a favorite desert
· Give a massage
· Run an errand for them
· Get the leafs out of the gutters
Conclusion and Last Reality Break
Is it possible that someone can be giving Love to their spouse in heaping buckets full and that their spouse can be missing it all together?
Let’s look at an example:
Molly’s Love Language is Quality Time
Steve’s Love Language is Acts of Service
Molly is a home maker and fulltime mom who Loves to spend time with her children who are still home with her all day. Molly’s idea of a great day is to take her children to the park and play, or to create a project on the kitchen table for all of them to be involved in. Maybe they will spend the day in middle of the living room floor and build a giant Lego village. To Molly she is creating an atmosphere of utmost Love and relationship with that children and Steve have created.
Every day when Steve comes home from work he is greeted by a home full of clutter and screaming laughing kids. He often has to step over Lego’s, Barbie’s, or toy soldiers just to get to where Molly is. The bed is never made. Dinner is from a restaurant or a frozen box many nights. To Steve he is entering a home he is not welcome in. He is just a role player there.
Steve works long hours at the office so that Molly and the children have everything they need. At home Steve is famous in the neighborhood for how well his lawn and home are maintained. He never misses trash day. To Steve he is doing all that he can show his family that he Loves them and would do anything for them.
Molly sees all of the work that Steve does as a way of escaping from her and the children. Steve walks in the door and starts complaining about the clutter and immediately retreats to his office. Molly orders dinner out or cooks something prepared many nights so that she can have dinner ready when Steve gets home. She spend time to makes sure the kids are in bed on time and leaves the dishes till morning so that she has time with Steve alone. While they eat dinner Steve is silent and as soon as they are done he find something to do. As they spend time in the evening alone he is silent and working on his laptop computer.
Can we see the problem here?
Steve is giving Love in his language.
Molly is giving Love in her language.
But neither is giving Love in the language their partner can understand.
Lots of giving – No receiving.
Who’s right? Who’s wrong?
We can all perceive Love through our own language, but if we want our partner to feel Love we must speak their language to them. They aren’t doing it to annoy us. They aren’t faking it. It is not some cruel trick that God has played on you.
Love requires an effort. Ask Jesus Christ.