About a hundred women gathered for the yearly women’s retreat. Our church is pretty big so at times it can feel a little overwhelming to connect, especially for a newcomer. And there were a lot of newcomers this particular year. There were also a lot of veteran women including myself, who had been the “master of ceremonies” of many women’s retreats. The retreat opened like most retreats with the leaders welcoming the ladies, answering practical questions, and asking God to lead and guide us. Then came the ice breakers. You know, the games that resemble bridal shower games that help everyone get to know each other? It is that awkward moment of breaking down walls and going out of your comfort zone to reach out to someone you have never met. I am an extrovert so although it has a twinge of strangeness for me, I can’t imagine what it feels like to an introvert. This year it would be a little different. We were given a Love Language Test and were asked to interview someone we have never met with the Love Language questions. Once the interview was over and the primary love language was determined, the women wrote their love language on their name tag and that was it.
Something happened that weekend to newcomers and veterans alike. Because the love language was right on the name tag, we started approaching each other differently. The ones that had “physical touch” on their name tag received more hugs. The one that had “quality time” on their tag received more eye contact and a relaxed listening ear. The one who had “acts of service” on their name tag received an unasked clearing of dishes or making of a bed. The one who had “receiving gifts” on their name tag found little trinkets on her chair and at her table. The one who had “words of affirmation” on their name tag received heart felt words of love and value, written and spoken. Long time friends, mothers and daughters said to one another, “I didn’t know that was your love language…had I’d known…I would have…” Newcomers felt valued because they were known and the walls of isolation began to melt.
Wouldn’t it be great if everyone wore their love language on their shirts or coats? Can you imagine if the world leaders did the same? Can you see the United States President walking into a conference room to speak with the leader of China and exchanging their love languages? What about the telemarketer? Can you imagine if you picked up the phone after being interrupted during dinner and the recording stated, the telemarketer that you are about to speak with has the love language of quality time? What about our children? How differently would we speak to them if their love language of “physical touch” was stamped on their forehead? How about our husbands? How would we approach them if “words of affirmation” was advertised on their shirt? The list of examples goes on and on.
We tend to love each other the way we feel loved. The wife who has the love language of “receiving gifts” GIVES her husband special treats in his lunch box or GIVES her husband a new shirt and can’t understand why she is not seeing her husband’s love tank filled. Frustration ensues as she wrongly comes to the conclusion, “He is emotionally detached and is incapable of loving feelings.” This same husband who has the love language of “words of affirmation” TELLS his wife,” I love you…I’m proud of you…thank you for your hard work around the house.” He can’t understand why his wife’s love tank is not gushing. His frustration mounts as he wrongly concludes;” I can never be enough for her.” The next step is a slippery slope. Both husband and wife will come to the conclusion that they are unloved by their spouse and then their world is colored by this untruth.
Jesus commanded all of us, to… “love one another even as I have loved you.” The phrase “even as I have loved you” is such a high calling and challenges my Christian walk. He knows me intimately and uniquely shows His love to me through the day. The depth of His love for me overwhelms me; His sacrifice on the cross, his intimate knowledge of me and his provision of my needs just for starters. But it is not enough to know His love for us. Jesus wants our love towards each other to be the “proof” or the “the fruit” of our relationship with Him.
“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35
Perhaps we can walk deeper in this area if we can take the time to speak each other’s language. It is a wonderful beginning of understanding how our loved ones feel loved!
I have done the quiz with my children from time to time over the years. I write the findings in my journal and tailor my acts of love to their needs. One Thanksgiving holiday, I put out a stack of “Love Language” quizzes for my teenage children, nieces and nephews to take. It became a wonderful afternoon of discussing how we all felt loved. My nephew even called his girlfriend and completed the quiz over the phone!
We all have a deep need to be loved and valued.
This week: Take the Love Language Quiz on line- make some name tags for the whole and wear them all week!The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
From Our House to Yours
P.S. “Physical Touch” is stamped on my forehead!
If you meet me, there is a good chance you are going to get a hug!
If you wear your “Love Language” name tag, I might show my love to you differently.