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What is Love?-Part 3: Love and its Languages

**We must also consider how to encourage each other to show love and to do good things." -Hebrews 10:24


So far in the series, the definitions and importance of "love," have been discussed. The question now is: “How do we express these different forms of love?” And that relates to the 5 love languages. Yes, just as we may speak one or more languages fluently, we must operate in love fluently. So, there are 5 love languages:

  1. Words of Affirmation

  2. Physical Touch

  3. Receiving Gifts

  4. Quality Time

  5. Acts of Service


The reason why these different love languages need to be considered is because of what Paul says in Philippians 2:4, “Don’t be concerned only about your own interests, but also be concerned about the interests of others.” (GW)

The way one person gives and receives love may be different than another; and we must respect that.


 

Words of Affirmation:

  • As far as how believers are to interact with each other:

Romans 12:10 says, “Be devoted to each other like a loving family. Excel in showing respect for each other.” (GW)


Definition of "Affirm": offer (someone) emotional support or encouragement:


A person whose love language is Words of Affirmation likes their love to be expressed with words; either theirs to someone else and/or vice versa.


A person who likes words of affirmation may like:

  • writing long text messages (instead of a 3 word response) to their questions.

  • you complimenting them or actually telling them that you're "proud" of them.

  • they may want you to show that you love them by actually telling them: "I love you."

A person whose love language is Words of Affirmation more than likely expresses their love by doing these same things for you!

 

Words of Affirmation in Friendships-

As far as words of affirmation in friendship should go, Ephesians 4:29 says: “Don’t say anything that would hurt [another person]. Instead, speak only what is good so that you can give help wherever it is needed. That way, what you say will help those who hear you."


We are meant to build up other people with our words, not put them down. If what we say isn't going to help, but is going to harm them, then we shouldn't say it. Our words hold power (Proverbs 18:21), and so we must be careful in how we use our words to build someone else up; with gentleness and respect.

 

Limitations to Words of Affirmation-

When it comes to any of these love languages, but this one in particular, you have to be careful how it shape your relationships, and life. Although words of affirmation are great, only relying on them for a sense of validation, can become a problem.

  • For example, if I know that one of my top love languages is “words of affirmation,” then when it comes to my friendships, I may settle for friends that only tell me what I’m doing right. When in reality, what would be most helpful is having friends that are going to tell me what I can improve upon as well.

Think about it. If you only like to hear how great you are, that can easily turn into pride or lack of self-esteem when at a certain time, someone doesn’t acknowledge your abilities.


Don’t get me wrong, even God affirms us, but even in our moments of (falling short) and doing something that doesn’t please Him, He rebukes(helpfully criticizes) us as a way to improve ourselves and our relationship with Him. Once He does that, then He affirms us.

 

Physical Touch:

  • If someone's love language is physical touch, then that person may give/receive love by being close to you. For example, they may always resort to giving you a hug first rather than a handshake or wave.

Biblical Examples:

Paul writes that the love that Christ produces in us, is the love we have to choose to express to each other. A Biblical example of Physical Touch is how the family of believers can greet each other is with a “holy kiss.” (2 Corinthians 13:12, 1 Thessalonians 5:26, Romans 16:16, and 1 Corinthians 16:20)


A Christian's Limitations to Physical Touch-

Physical Touch is great, within the right context, but you have to also be aware that it needs to have its limitations. If you're a person whose love language is Physical touch, you may struggle with being alone. So, in situations where you are alone, you may depend most on a physical presence of someone. When we find ourselves in these cases, our need to have community is highlighted, which is good! But the best community that we will always have is the presence of God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit. Sometimes, our struggle is not that we need a person by our side for every decision that we make, but rather that we just need to depend on God, who can satisfy all of our desires; even our deepest desire to have companionship.


In a friendship, the use of too much physical touch can cross boundaries and bring confusion to a relationship that was only meant to be platonic.


In a more romantic context, if you've struggled with sexual sin in the past, and your love language is physical touch, you need to make sure that you set boundaries for the type of people you surround yourself with. Make sure that you don't put yourself in situations where those boundaries are being compromised, causing you to fall into that sin again.

(1 Corinthians 15:33, Colossians 3:5, 1 Timothy 4:12, 1 Timothy 5:22, 1 Thessalonians 4:3, Matthew 18:8)


 

side note: **If you've struggle with sexual sin, even while being alone, you need to rely on God for strength and endurance! Push through your temptations by relying on the truth that comes from the Word of God!**

 

As Christians, we MUST protect our purity and the purity of others!! Our bodies belong to the LORD, so don't use your physical abilities to corrupt the good that God intends for you to enjoy. As representations of Christ, we cannot be confusing. We cannot be the people giving mixed signals! Our actions and our intentions need to be clear!


And just to clarify, expressing love through physical touch isn't bad, we just need to be mindful of how we do it! Certain boundaries need to be set in every relationship!!

 

Giving/Receiving Gifts:

  • Someone with a love language of gift giving, may feel that your love is real for them, by receiving gifts from you. They then may show that their love for you is genuine by giving you gifts as well. If that person's love language is giving/receiving gifts, then that's more than likely a way they're going to contribute love into that relationship. And this can go for friendships, family relationships, and even romantic relationships.


  • The best example of giving gifts of course comes from God, as He gave His Son Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins! Eternal life with Jesus is also a gift from God as well! (John 3:16, 1 John 4:9) After all, God is the best gift giver! (James 1:17)

 

Acts of Service:

  • 1 John 3:18-“Dear children, we must show love through actions that are sincere, not through empty words.”

Serving other people is the primary way we can show them the love of Christ. It may also be the primary way people recognize they are being shown love.


So, someone that enjoys doing Acts of Service as a love language, values making sure their actions match their words. They value someone taking the initiative to serve them in the way that they can best meet their needs.


  • A Biblical example of an act of service within a friendship, can be seen between David and Jonathan. David had much love and loyalty for his good friend Jonathan. So, Jonathan made a pledge of “mutual loyalty” to David. (1 Samuel 18:4).

  • Another Biblical example of an act of service, is praying for our enemies (Luke 6:35). Through this act of service, we can express God's love to other people. Sometimes, the best thing we can do for another person in a certain situation, is to just pray for them. A lot times, that’s the farthest we can go on someone else’ behalf. God can work in all kinds of limitless ways that we can’t! Prayer is that act of service that is needed for every relationship!

 

Quality Time

If a person’s love language is quality time, they like to equate feeling loved, or loving others by spending time with them. Some may say that some things are a waste of time, but choosing to spend more time with someone, will develop your relationship with them overall!

 

Quality time between Christians-

Quality time between believers is fellowshipping together! That could be over specifically Bible-related interests, or just to hang out and enjoy each other’s company.

 

A person whose top love language is “quality time,” may value spending time with a person the most, over the hugs, gifts, words, and acts of service. They equate being loved and appreciated, by someone choosing to spend time with them even though they could use their time to do anything else.

 

Maybe you try making a list of the love languages that correspond to you the most. Try listing them from the most important to the least. Maybe you only have some of the love languages, or maybe you have a combination. This is good to note, so that you can then apply them to your relationships, and so that others can apply them to you! Knowing these five love languages can affect the way you express love and receive it; as they can vary from person to person.




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