This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, read my disclosure page here.
During our engagement period, my husband and I read a book called the 5 love languages by Gary Chapman. It’s probably one of the best and most helpful books we’ve ever read as a couple. It guided our understanding of how we desired to be loved and how we loved others. The book explains that there are 5 different love languages: words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch. I learned that my husband’s main love language is words of affirmation and mine is acts of service. The book didn’t create these love languages in us rather it gave definition and words to what we already felt.
What the book taught me
Before reading the book, I never really understood why certain things that people did bothered me so much or made me so happy at times. The simplest act could either make my day or tear it apart. For example: time management means a lot to me. I like when things happen on time, I like when people are organized, when I’m organized and when plans are respected. I think everyone agrees that these things are good but for me they have greater meaning. The reason being that my heart and my mind associate proper time management as an act of service. When someone shows up on time to something, it makes me happy. I feel valued that someone would value my time enough to respect the commitment.
It’s a learning curve for both of us
Because this is my love language, I try to love my husband through acts of service. I know people say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, well the way to my man’s heart is through his mind. I think he appreciates it when our house is clean and I cook for him but if I did all those things without affirming him it would slowly eat away at him and our marriage. He’d pick living in a dirty house with a wife who affirms him than living in a spotless house with nothing.
Learning how to love: My way of being loved is not his way of being loved.
I need to love him in the way he feels most loved through words of affirmation; my hardest love language to express. Isn’t it fascinating how God matches us with someone that needs the very thing that we don’t know how to give? It’s not called sharpening and sanctification for no reason. It’s a struggle for me. I’m growing and getting better. It’s not as bad as it used to be but it’s not as good as it could be. He has other love languages just as I do but this is his primary one. One word of affirmation and his world lights up and he can survive on that for days. But why is it such a struggle for me? I’m still trying to figure it out but I think selfishness has a part to play in it.
Our love language is our fuel through life, a lot of people are living life with an empty tank.
In the book, we learned the expression “love tank”. This love tank measures the level of love you feel you are receiving from your partner through your love language. When my husband cooks me an amazing meal, my love tank fills up, meaning he is tapping into my love language. When I tell him how great of a husband he is and how much I appreciate him as a provider for our home, his love tank starts to fill up as well. It helps a lot when you communicate in terms you both understand. When one of us says that our love tank is empty, we automatically know that it’s because we aren’t speaking in the love language the other needs the most. This book helped us a lot and I know it’s helped so many couples. I am so thankful that we read this prior to getting married.
Love languages are both a strength and a weakness to have. I think understanding your love language is so helpful to us women because we tend to have a hard time expressing ourselves sometimes. It can be a weakness because when you are not loved in the way you need to be, you are a wreck and it can ruin so many things. People will always fail us. No one is perfect. I won’t perfect my husband’s love language and neither will he mine. I know I fail him more times than I succeed. This is where God comes in.
God tells us not to look to anyone but to Him. He never fails, never disappoints, He is able to fill a multitude of love languages. Our Father is enough. He is God. He is love.
That’s the beauty of all these love languages, they all point us to God. They represent different facets of God being love.
Words of affirmation shows us that there is a God who speaks life into our lives, a God who strengthens us with His words. A God who by speaking one word in a moment can turn our life around and fill us with so much love that our tank overflows.
Acts of service shows us a God who came down to this earth and laid down His life as a sacrifice for our sins. In one single act of service He redeemed us and loved us like no one ever has. In that single act of service, He showed us what true love is. When our spouse, our friend, our family members fail us, we remember that the source of our love is not found in them or what they can do, but it’s found in God.
Quality time shows us that we long for undivided attention that can only be found in a relationship with Jesus-Christ. Quality time shows us that God is a God of fellowship, He wants to fellowship with His people, His children. Is it any surprise that God is triune? That He is in constant fellowship within Himself? The Godhead is always having constant quality time within itself and He desires to have that with us. When you feel alone, when you feel that you’re not getting the attention you need or deserve, go to God, spend time with Him. You will quickly realize that it’s what you’ve been craving all along.
God is a giver, he gives life, he gave his Son for our sins. He gave us his Holy Spirit and His Holy Spirit showered us with gifts. We can receive an endless amount of gifts and even if receiving gifts is our primary love language, no amount of gifts can satisfy us apart from the gift of salvation freely given through Jesus-Christ.
In light of these truths, what must we do?
We are made in the image of God which is why our love languages reflect His personality and who He is. No one on this earth can fully satisfy our need for love. Our love tank can be filled for a little while but eventually it gets depleted. Only God can fill our tank constantly. When people fail us, we should look to God. Our satisfaction can only be found in Him. Don’t put the weight of your needs and wants on your spouse or in the hope of having a spouse one day. These things are all but momentary satisfactions, the Lord satisfies us for all eternity. Let’s look to Him.