I am doing an experiment I have long been a fan of Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages. If you are familiar with it, he shares five languages through which each of us feels loved. By understanding this about your spouse, your children, your parents, and any relationship you want to grow and develop, and then acting on it, you are literally showing that person that you truly care about what they need. Right now, our world is full of lots of words of opposition, division, disrespect, attacks, fighting and cruelty. For people whose love language is Words of Affirmation we are not feeling much love. The five languages are: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.
Chris and I recently redid our Love Language profile to see how it might have changed and to be aware of any of the subtleties of those changes. It set the stage to open the door for transparency, truthfulness and honesty.
• What do you need from me now?
• Has anything changed since there has been this permanent change in our lives?
• What do we need to be aware of to keep our love strong and continuing to grow as we navigate our new normal?
Our journey together has taken on some new twists and far greater challenges than we ever could have imagined. We need all the tools in the arsenal to assist us to be for each other, and not against each other.
Chris’s languages have been Words of Affirmation and Quality Time. This means speak positive words–encouraging words to me. Affirm my progress, minimize criticism, tell me I look good. That sounds like Chris doesn’t it? But it also is: be with me, hang out with me, let’s go someplace together, let’s take a walk. We have a Saturday morning date to run errands together for the things we will need for the upcoming week. We very rarely disturb that date. Both of those stayed high for Chris but Acts of Service grew substantially. Chris is very independent but does need me to be there for him physically to help with his rehab, keep my end of the bargain on household chores, and also do the laundry. Acts of Service is not just saying or promising to do something, but physically carrying out the act.
We recently took down the Christmas lights outside together. We both worked to clean up the Christmas decorations and get those all boxed up and ready for next year. There are physical things Chris wants done, but often they trigger this Vaso vagal response, and his blood pressure plummets. I think this is where Acts of Service rose on his needs list because he needs these things completed, but now can’t always do everything on his own. Knowing that he appreciates me providing Acts of Service is great understanding for me. Most of the time it is, “let’s knock this out together.” We have something special going on because we both need Quality Time. We can use time together fueling our love for each other cleaning the house! Okay, don’t get too carried away here.
So often we are missing the boat in today’s busy world. We each need to express our love for the other in a way that makes us actually feel loved. It is pretty simple, really. Find out what fuels each other’s love and then do it. Just…Do…It. In Colossians 3:14 we read, “and above all these, put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
We all could use a little more love in our world. Love toward others and love for ourselves. Let all that you do be done in love.