Building a Blessed Marriage Part 2

Learning to Speak the Language of Love

The Beatles famously sang, “All you need is love…love is all you need.”  Once the ditty is clear from your head, you can keep reading!

But is it true?  Is love all you need?

It all depends on how you define what love is!  Or maybe more accurately, it all depends on how each and every one of us gives and experiences love.

Gary Chapman, in his best-selling book The Five Languages of Love, puts forth the idea that we all have a love language in which we give and receive love.  Our personality, family of origin, and many other factors shape us into people who experience love in particular ways and seek to show our love to others in particular ways.  

Part of building a flourishing marriage, then, is speaking our spouse’s language.  It is hard to understand people when we don’t speak the same language!

So what kinds of “love languages” are there?  Chapman identifies five common ones.  They are:
Words of Affirmation.  This is all about communicating affection with our words, both spoken and written.  Compliments and praise build these people up!

Quality Time.  These are people who want attention from someone who is present and focused on them.  Eye contact and listening make these people feel loved!
Physical Touch.  These people feel loved through physical affection and touch.  They feel cherished by holding hands and hugs.
Acts of Service.  This is all about feeling loved when someone serves them by doing kind things, like helping with chores or lightening their load.
Receiving Gifts.  These people appreciate gifts that show that you know and care about them.  It doesn’t necessarily need to be big, it just needs to be meaningful.  

What I have found is that no one cleanly fits into any one category.  All of us, it seems to me, experience love through these kinds of attention.  But we do often have areas where we experience love most clearly and consistently.  Those areas would be our “love language.”
The point of all this, though, is not that we nail down our own, and others’, love languages.  No, the point is that we intentionally seek to understand others to the point that we can communicate love to them in a way that they can easily receive it.  

That’s what love does!

Love does not insist that someone else speaks our love language, but love always seeks to speak the love language of another.  In fact, love always sets self aside and seeks to love another.

When it comes to marriage, one of the most simple things we can do is listen to our spouse well enough to learn their love language, and then intentionally choose to speak it as much as possible.  When we do, we fill our home with blessing.

So in a sense, the Beatles got it right.  All you need is love.  But it needs to be given in a way that others can receive, and love rejoices to do that!  

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