36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
A few years ago I was introduced to Gary Chapman’s book “The Five Love Languages” it was a concept I think we all knew but didn’t exactly recognize. I absolutely love books that tell us about ourselves. Anything that makes you more self aware is a gift. Not only does it make us better for ourselves by recognizing our strengths and weakness, but it helps us to develop those weaker areas and allow us to be better for the people around us.
Jesus commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Now, loving ourselves is easy. We know what we like, and what we don’t and very often we cater to our own needs. However, most of the time we mimic our our own Love Language towards others and assume that we are loving them well. But what if I told you that in doing that you are missing the point. You are missing the entire idea of what love is. Love is not easy. In fact loving someone well will often stretch you and take you out of your comfort zone.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.
“It is not self-seeking.”
Learning how other people show love and then mimicking that language back to them is what it truly means to love them. For me that would be by spending Quality Time with me. That is my Love Language. But I’m not loving those around me well by only spending quality time with them. This is something that I have had to learn especially with my children.
Take my Big for instance, her love language is Words of Affirmation. Telling her how amazing she is doing and how proud I am of her is the way she feels loved the most. I’ll be honest this one is particularly hard for me as my words don’t typically praise, but are more “sharp” if you will. Now since my Big’s love language is Words of affirmation, watching my words around her has been very important, as just as much as she needs them to feel loved, I can just as quickly break her spirit if I am not careful with not only what I say, but how I say it.
Now with my Little her love language is Physical Touch. That kid wants to cuddle, be held, hold your hand… you name it. She needs to be touching me at all times. Again this is something that is not comfortable for me. Don’t get me wrong I love all these things in a mild form, but the constant need to be on me makes me crazy. I rather enjoy my own space and really hate my bubble being invaded.
Learning to love my kids in their own Love Language has been rewarding for all of us. It has not only taught me more about them and who they are, but it has given me the opportunity to teach them how to recognize other people’s Love Languages and so that they can love others well.
The truth is, if you spend any amount of time with someone and watch their interactions with others you will soon learn what their Love Language is. You can then truly love them the way that they need to be loved and I really believe that is what Christ meant.
Want to know what your Love Language is? Click here to take the quiz and let me know your Love Language in the comments below.