Wednesday, 18 March 2009

He loves me, he loves me not; Understanding our love languages

I just finished reading The Five Love Languages by Dr Gary Chapman. It was really an interesting read. I'd started it before but didn't finish it for some reason. It comes highly recommended because the principles it contains can be applied to all relationships and not just those of a romantic nature. I'm beginning to realise just how important this preparation, learning and growing together thing is so important in our relationship. I and Mr O are different not only in gender and background which is usually enough for some Oscar winning performances from us both but also in our love languages.

From reflecting on what I read in the book, I've come to realise my primary love language is quality time. I think I also respond very well to acts of service and words of affirmation but quality time rates very highly. I now realise that a lot of award winning drama we had at the beginning of our relationship stemmed from the fact that we were not so aware of what was appreciated as a loving gesture by the other person. I couldn't understand why Mr O would claim to love me and yet not want to spend quality time with me. By quality time I don't mean sitting somewhere while Mr O is watching the telly and I'm daydreaming (although this is how it is sometimes) but quality time where I'm laughing at his jokes or vice versa, sharing things we don't know about each other, praying together or debating about our different points of view about a particular issue. So people spending quality time with me and I with them really speaks love to me because for me time is so precious, even more than money and for you to choose to spend some of it on me really speaks volumes!

Mr O is a gift and acts of service giver. From the small to the great, he can give gifts to raise the dead. That is what he speaks, that is what he knows. So what do we do? I like gifts but because of some issues from my childhood I'd always seen a gift as an "I am sorry" gesture as opposed to an "I love you" . So while I would accept them, it just didn't seem to cut it. Later, I would feel guilty for not really appreciating what he brought to the table. I thank God for God and the Holy Spirit, believe me the Heavenly Father is the most important force for any relationship to succeed. God began to teach me about love 1st Corinthians 13 style. I'm not there yet, not even close but by His grace I know we are getting better.

From reading the book I have learnt that while it is important to learn to speak your partner's, sister's, brothers, colleague's e.t.c love language even though it is something that at first might seem foreign to you, remember love involves sacrifice i.e it might not be comfortable, it is also important as recipients of love to see the heart from which the language flows and see it for what it is presented for. Yes, I like quality time but the shirt Mr O bought and put in 'my' locker tells me that he loves me and was thinking about me at the time. Yesterday on our way back from the counselling class (so much fun!!) he gave me a packet of crisps, I don't like crisps but I ate it like it was the best thing since sliced bread. He really is very thoughtful because he saved it for me because I get so hungry after the class.

I'm trying to take the revelation into my other relationships, especially with my family. I'm trying to recognise what their love languages are and give/receive accordingly. Love is love, whether one is loving a husband (i admit this must sometimes need a special grace from on high), a friend, a sister or an employee. It requires great emotional strength. I' m learning to ask God for the grace and strength to always do right by those He has brought into my life. It is well. I'm enjoying walking and growing in love.


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