Love is central to everything in life. It is the essence which drives and gives expression to all that exist and from the Grail Message; we recognise that it is a Part of the Creator, the Almighty Father.
In the lecture Ascent we are told:
“You should give to your neighbour with your being, your nature! Not necessarily with money and goods. For then those without means would be excluded from the possibility of giving. And in this being, in this “giving yourself” in the relation with your neighbour, in the consideration and respect you voluntarily offer himlies the “love” of which Jesus speaks;”
Today however, I want to direct our gaze to how we as human beings express love to one another.
We need to understand that different people like to be loved in different ways and through different means. What excites you and is meaningful to you may not be meaningful to others. Having this understanding will not only help you to define your own unique qualities but it will also help you learn how to love and approach people who are special to you in a way that produces more intimate relationships.
In recent times it has been discovered that people have unique ways by which emotional love can be expressed to them. And this is what has come to be described as love language.
What this means is that everyone has a love language. Knowing and learning how to speak the love language of those around you will help you relate more effectively with them.
The problem is that by nature we tend to speak our own love language. That is, we express love to others in a language that would make us feel loved. But if it is not his or her primary love language, it will not mean to them what it could mean to us.
It is rare for a husband and wife to share the same love language and so most wives for example tend to love their husband the way they want to be loved, leaving their husband emotional thank empty. The husband will in turn love his wife the way he wants to be loved thinking the wife will feel loved. And that is how the problem of communication starts between two people who could have experience the joy of togetherness.
There are five basic love language man has come to know. They are;
• Words of Affirmation
• Quality Time
• Receiving of Gift
• Act of service
• Physical touch.
These five love languages apply in all human relationships.
This insight is helping very many people build lasting relationships in the area of marriage counselling, healing broken and dysfunctional relationships, understanding and improving team work within corporate organisation and delivering effective customer services andalso in the home where the parents and children live together.
Research have also shown that many adults who have been unsuccessful in their vocational ambitions do so not because they lack the skill to perform their job, but because they have never learned how to express appreciation to those who work with them and for them. As a result, relationships become strained and productivity is lowered.
And so learning to speak love and appreciation in a language the other person can receive is the key to enhancing all human relationships.
Words of Affirmation
From our childhood, we all have been greatly influenced by the words we have heard through the years.
People whose love language is words of affirmation need to hear you tell them how much you love and appreciate the person they are if they are ever going to feel loved by you. They are in constant need of soft, kind and encouraging words in order to feel a heightened sense of perception and security around people.
You can do all sorts of positive things to these individuals like take them to TFC, give them an expensive gift item, spend long hours in their presence and on and on it goes but if you do not verbalise your affection and commitment, they won’t feel loved.
Children whose love language is words of affirmation needs lots of positive verbalization on the part of parents to help bring out the best in such kids. Lots of children have taken to bad gangs, negative peer groups because of the critical nature of the parents. And so, when you notice your kid wants to be around you and let you know how he or she feels or want to hear you speak or comment on whatever they may be doing, that child is telling you which of the love language to speak to him or her.
The objective is not talking in empty praise which can be destructive at the long run. I am speaking of meaningful encouragement, noticing a trait in the child or spouse or friend and saying that is a trait to hold on to and build upon.
Generally speaking, women tend to express this love language than men especially in this part of the world. Ladies like to be affirmed verbally. They tend to pull away from dating partners who do not give affirmation. Lack of verbal affirmation is interpreted as lack of love. Men should learn how to express how they feel more often than usual.
All languages have dialects and this is also true for love language.
This simply means words of affirmation can be express in a number of ways. Some dialects are:
• Words of encouragement. The word encourage means “to inspire courage”. We all have issues, areas in which we feel insecure. How often do you get to encourage people around you? What is your response when people come to youwith their issues?
• Words of praise. This is another dialect and it has to do with recognising someone’s accomplishment. To a lesser or greater degree, all of us are achievers. We set ourselves goals to accomplish things and when we do we are proud of our productivity. Think of what will happen in the world if all of us started praising each other for accomplishments rather than pointing out what was wrong. The world will be a better place for all of us.
• Another dialect of words of affirmation is kind words. This has to do not only with what we say but the manner we say it. Sometimes our words are saying something, but our tone is saying another. And so we are sending out a double message. People tend to interpret our messages based on our tone of voice, not the words we use.For those whose dialect is kind words, the manner in which we speak to them is extremely important and not just the words we use to address them.
If your love language is verbal and you’re single, find a man or a woman who knows how to communicate verbally. If you’re married to a person whose love language is verbal, you simply have to develop the skills of conversation; that’s the only way your spouse will feel loved.
Receiving of Gift
A gift is a tangible object that says “I was thinking of you. I wanted you to have this. I love you.”
Every known culture that has come to earth has shown and associated gift giving to be an expression of love. The giving of gift is one of the fundamental universal languages of love.
It should be noted that a gift by its very nature is not payment for services rendered. Also a gift is not a gift when it is given to smooth ruffled feathers.
A gift is a gift only when given as a genuine expression of love, not as an effort to cover over past failures.
What really is a gift?
A gift is a visual symbol of love.
For some people, receiving gifts is their primary love language. It is what makes them feel loved most deeply.
The gift can be any size, shape, colour or price. It may be purchased, found or made. To the individual whose primary love language is receiving gifts, the cost of the gift will matter little. Gifts need not be expensive.
Develop the language of Gift Giving.
Of all the love languages, this is the most easiest to learn. In speaking this particular language effectively, the following can be bore in mind.
• Learn the person’s interest.
Listen for clues and pick up on their interest or the interest of their children. Listen in between the words.
• Be sensitive to the nature of some gifts.
• Gift and money
If you are to become an effective gift giver, you may have to change your attitude about money.(Differentiating between spenders and savers)
And so, if you are married to someone whose love language is receiving gifts, you need to get creative, within your budget at finding gifts.
Finally, anything can be a gift and the dialects for this love language is only limited be the power of your own imagination. If you study the people close to you, you will discover what dialect best speaks to them.
This love language requires that you spend qualitative period with those who belong to this language. It means spending time with these individuals and engaging them in whatever they love to do.
Children who have this love language want you at their games or whatever is it that is important to them. They want to look up in the stands and see you there. If they are singing at the concert, they do not care if you can make out their voices. Their love thank fills up when they catch sight of your familiar face as they look out into the audience.
If your spouse or kids have quality time as their love language, you must learn to make adjustment to your time schedule. If you don’t spend quality time with a person who has this love language, they won’t feel loved. And if this persists, they will eventually flow away from you and find someone who wants to spend time with her or him.
Bear in mind that meaningful time doesn’t happen by accident; you have to choose it. You have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone and make the moment a worthwhile experience for the other person.
Here are some few things you can do while engaging in quality time with a person.
1. Maintain eye contact when your spouse is talking to you.
2. Do not do something else while talking to your spouse.
3. Listen for feelings.
4. Observe body language
5. Refuse to interrupt.
The central aspect of quality time is togetherness. By togetherness I do not mean proximity rather focused attention. It means giving someone your undivided attention, connecting with them.
And this does not mean we must spend our moments gazing into each other’s eyes. But doing things we both find enjoyable.
Dialects of quality time are among other things are:
This is quality conversation. For example, if I am sharing my love for you by means of quality time and we are going to spend that time in conversation, it means I will focus on drawing you out, listening sympathetically to what you have to say. I will ask questions in a manner that will communicate genuine desire to understand your thoughts, feelings and desires.
• …and talking.
Some people have problems speaking up or expressing how they feel or what they want.
It’s often said a closed mouth is a sealed destiny. If we don’t tell how we feel, people won’t know what we are going through.
• Quality activities.
Quality activities may include anything in which one or both you have an interest. Here the emphasis is not on what you are doing but why you are doing it. The purpose is to experience something together.
This is achieved the moment you realise that…he cares about me; he was willing to do something for me that I enjoy, and he did it with a positive attitude. That is love, and for some people, it is love’s loudest voice.
ACTS OF SERVICE
A fundamental love language is the act of service. One of the beautiful demonstrations of this love language is the washing of the feet of the Disciples by The Lord Jesus himself.
Act of service is a way of expressing a sense of responsibility for the well-being of others because helping others is universally accepted as an expression of love.
People who have this love language feel most loved when they are assisted with every day activities and it need not be something big or most tasking. It could be helping a friend fix the plumbing, changing the oil in the car or the generator, helping out in the kitchen while your wife is making dinner, assisting your kids with a school project or homework etc.
Act of service do not require highly technical skills.
Life is filled with opportunities to express love by act of service. A good example is those of us who come around to clean the centre every Saturday or go to Grailland for cleaning. Those people who carry out special duties before or doing an Hour. Imagine what an Hour will look like if this wonderful people aren’t there.
For some people this love language comes easy. They grew up in homes where they were taught “action speaks louder than words.” To these people, they feel deeply that love means to serve. And so, they are ever ready to give a helping hand.
For some others, it does not come naturally. However, it is still a love language worth acquiring.
When we are told: “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” This love language helps us to understand this saying.
Act of services is an expression of giving. And we give not only with our money but with our entire being in service of love to another.
Touch is very important and it is one of the things that makes us human and to a great extent different from animals.
The body is made for touching. Of the five senses, touching, unlike the other four, is not limited to one localised area of the body.
They are receptors located throughout the body. When these receptors are touch or pressed, nerves carry impulses to the brain. The brain interprets these impulses, and we perceive that the thing that touched us is warm or cold, hard or soft. It causes pain or pleasure. We may also interpret it has a loving or hostile touch.
Some parts of the body are more sensitive than others. This is due to the fact that the tiny tactile receptors are not evenly spread over the body. They are arranged in clusters.
Physical touch can make or break a relationship. It can communicate hate or love. If a person’s primary love language is physical touch, your touches will speak more louder than the words “I hate you” or “I love you”. Withhold touches and you will isolate and raise doubts about your love to them.
A tender hug communicates love to any child, but it shouts love to the child whose primary love language is physical touch. The same is true of adults. A simple handshake communicates acceptance and agreement between to people. It shows openness and social closeness to an individual.
Whatever there is of you resides in your body. To touch your body is to touch you. This is why when someone withdraws from your body, the distance themselves emotionally from you.
Bear in mind however that a touch of love may take many forms. All touches are not created equal. Through practice, you will have to learn from the person whom you are touching what he or she perceives as a loving touch.
Kinds of Touches
Appropriate and inappropriate: there are appropriate and inappropriate ways to touch members of the opposite sex in every society and culture. In western culture for example, sexual harassment and physical abuse ate deemed inappropriate.
Implicit and explicit: explicit touches demand your full attention like rubbing the body (back or foot). Touches like these, takes more time and concentration.
Implicit touches require little time but much thought especially if physical touch is not your love language and you did not grow up in a “touching family”. Implicit touches come in different ways. Touching a family member as you walk through the room is an example, sitting close to someone while watching TV, putting your hand on someone’s shoulder while trying to give them something are all forms of implicit touch.
For some people learning to speak this love language doesn’t come easy.
My suggestion is practice makes perfect. Learn by doing it. Start with simple thing like a handshake. The good think about the five love languages is that they can be learnt and understood if we choose to know them.
Love is just not a word or how you feel… its true significance is seen in deeds. In your everyday actions to everybody you meet.
The five love language helps you to express love to those you meet in a very effective way that meet their needs.