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“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4 ESV
What do a hard-core carnivore who jumps out of airplanes for a living and a staunch vegetarian who likes to keep her feet firmly planted on the ground have in common? They’re married. And let’s just say it makes life interesting!
My husband and I have been married for almost ten years now. He’s one of four children and I am an only child. It was quite the culture shock when we got married. I was an independent woman who had grown quite fond of making my own decisions and my husband, although he was very laid back, was a military man and not used to people who bucked at orders.
Our first year was rough. Then we learned about something called The Five Love Languages, a book by Dr. Gary Chapman. The book shares that everybody generally has his or her own primary love language in which they prefer to give and receive love. The love language could be the same for both the giving and receiving or it could be different. The five love languages are: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch.
After we completed the test to discover what our Love Languages were, what we found out about ourselves wasn’t surprising. But what did surprise us was how important understanding love languages were. Speaking someone’s love language, be it your spouse, child, co-worker, friend, etc., is one of the quickest ways to make them feel valued and appreciated. If you know your child longs for praise, words of affirmation will fill their love tank up quickly. If your friend receives love through gifts, sometimes dropping by with a well-timed cup of coffee is all it takes.
What if speaking some of these love languages doesn't come naturally to you? The good news is, like any language, it can be learned with practice.
What if speaking some of these love languages doesn’t come naturally to you? The good news is, like any language, it can be learned with practice. If you know someone receives love from physical touch, start by a simple touch on the arm and work up to a hug. If someone receives love from words of affirmation, a simple but genuine compliment of “you’re doing a good job,” or “I see how hard you work and I appreciate it” will brighten their day. Philippians 2:3-4 tells us that we walk in humility by counting others before ourselves. This includes counting their needs and interests as well.
So, how did my husband and I reach common ground in our marriage? We had to learn each other’s love language. My primary love language is quality time, with acts of service as a close second. His is physical touch and words of affirmation. Both of us had to start speaking a language that was foreign to us. And in time, it came more and more naturally. My husband learned all he had to do to make me feel valued and loved was to curl up on the couch with me and watch every British historical TV show that there ever was. He can practically recite Downton Abbey, The Crown and Call the Midwife by heart. He sits there patiently while I talk his ear off after having Google searched the historical accuracy of the show and remains attentive through it all. He’s learned to like those shows too… But he’ll never admit it.
While my husband was binge-watching Netflix with me, I had to learn how to be more affectionate. Spontaneous hugs and words of encouragement go a long way for him—so does the fact that I cook him meat for dinner. That truly is an act of love. The first time I did it, I wanted to gag and make him eat tofu for the rest of his life. However, with practice, I learned not to bat an eye as I’m flipping pork chops in the frying pan.
If there is a relationship that you’re struggling with, I encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone and learn a new language. It’s never too late and the rewards may surprise you! In the words of Mark Twain: “The best way to cheer yourself up, is to cheer someone else up.” When you fill someone’s love tank, you just might walk away with yours filled as well.
The best way to cheer yourself up, is to cheer someone else up.Mark Twain
Go the Extra Mile:
Speak someone else’s love language today. Whether it is your friend, your spouse or even your boss, be intentional with how you love those closest to you today by speaking their love language.
Want to find out what your love language is? Click the button to take the test!
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