Sunday, January 27, 2008

"I Love You"

This was the final message in Pastor Mark's series, "The World's Most Powerful Phrases" today in church. Did you know that everyone has a primary love language? This is the thing that speaks most into their life. According to Dr. Gary Chapman there are 5 categories of primary love languages:

1. Words of Affirmation (my number 1 or 2 love language)
2. Quality Time (Tammy's number 1 or 2 love language)
3. Receiving Gifts (on neither of our lists)
4. Acts of Service (high in Tammy's list as well)
5. Physical Touch (both my and Tammy's other number 1 or 2 love language)

Now, let me explain each just a bit. Words of affirmation is pretty self-explanatory, but essentially means that you are noticing things about someone else and affirming them. It's saying to them, "I believe in you."

Quality time, while appearing simple on the surface, requires that one give undivided attention to the person whom this speaks most highly to. This is something that I struggle with... I listen, but I don't hear. There is no multi-tasking when it comes to quality time, it is simply leaning into the other person and really hearing what they or their heart is saying to you.

Receiving gifts is just that simple. Some people feel valued by receiving gifts. The neat thing is, it doesn't have to be elaborate or expensive, just meaningful. It shows to the person that this is the evidence of your love for them.

Acts of service is pretty simplistic as well in that it is just that, doing something for someone. Even if it is against your nature (like cleaning the bathroom, doing the dishes, or doing the laundry), you do it for the other person non-begrudgingly (is that a word... any English majors out there?) as a display of love for someone.

Ahh, and last, but certainly not least, physical touch. I would have to think that this would be relatively high on most of the guys' lists of love languages, but here's the deal guys... it isn't just about sex. It's being emotionally connected through touch. It's physical displays of affection like a loving kiss on your wife's forehead, rubbing her shoulders as she's standing at the kitchen sink, holding her hand on a walk, kissing the nap of her neck, caressing her back, or stroking her hair. I would think if you are physically tender with your wife, and this speaks to her love language, that the more intimate l'amour may be around the corner as well. Nudge, nudge.

Pastor Mark pointed out that "the language of the listener is the only language that matters" in our relationships with people. You have to set aside the thoughts of your own primary love languages and "speak" the language that is most meaningful to the other person, even when it is not in your nature to do so.

He also said that people need to hear the words, "I love you." Your husband, wife, kids, family, and friends need to hear this from you. I have to honestly say, and I think my family would agree, that I am very good about this. Where I may stumble however, is in the second aspect of saying I love you in affirming it with my actions.

I don't always, ok I fail miserably and often, hear what Tammy or the girls are saying to me because I have my mind on a thousand other things at the time, or I don't spend the time that they would want to spend with me because I am too busy serving other interests or people. Shame on me. I have gotten better over the years, but I still have to work on loving through my actions and not just through my words. Which brings up a great verse from the Bible in 1 John 3:18 which says, "Dear children, let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions." Or, my favorite version of this verse from another Bible translation, which states the verse this way, "Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth."

Finally Pastor Mark concluded the message by reiterating that everyone close to us, spouse, children, family, dear friends, has a primary love language. It's our duty in loving them properly to find it and speak it to them. I've been blessed to discover what my wife and kids' primary love languages are, I just need to do a better job of speaking it to them.

Thanks for the great messages on "The World's Most Powerful Phrases" series these past several weeks, Pastor Mark. They certainly have spoken into my life.

An awesome resource for today's message, and one that Tammy and I both read together, is the book "The Five Love Languages", by Gary Chapman, PhD. It will work wonders in your relationships.


Jennifer said...

yet another, beautifully written, encouraging entry. Thank you Rick!! I'm embarrassed to admit...I'm not sure what Mike's love language is so I'm guessing I'm not speaking it very often. :( I think we'll talk more about this tonight. hey, it's a sign! my word verification below is "dooit"! as in, do it!

Rick said...

Hmm... more than a coincidence I would think, Jennifer. ;-)

Thanks for the very kind words on the post. I have gotten a lot out of this series our pastor has done and just felt compelled to share them cause I think they (the messages) have value to anyone's life, Christian or not.

Mar said...


What an inspiring post! I'll be driving up the B&N Friday to check for that book. He also wrote one about children's five love languages that I'd like to look at as well.

Thanks for posting this and helping open my eyes just that little bit more. :)

Rick said...

Sure thing, Mar. I'm just plagerizing or summarizing our pastor's message here (and the book) anyway. No biggy. Great stuff for relationships though. The kids love languages book I think would be great as well. I've always been told that kids' primary way to spell love is TIME.

Unfortunately, I was not the man I am now when my girls were little and, I squandered probably some of the best times I could have had with them in their formative years by purposely being "busy" in other areas of my life and trying to "stay away" from the home. Tammy essentially raised them on her own for their first years. I am extremely sorry for having been that way back then and know that I can't get that time back. It's truly shameful.

Everyday is a new day though now, with new opportunities to speak into the lives of my girls and, I will NEVER squander those opportunities again. :-)

The Five Love Languages book is a very easy read and is great for any couple at any stage in their relationship to go through together. Just reading it together will bring you closer together. ;-)