How Do You Express Love?

Kentucky author and minister Bob Russell told a story about one Valentine’s Day that he decided to something “extraordinarily romantic.”

As Bob passed by a flower shop he saw a promotion for a special Valentine’s Day package for $85. So, he purchased the beautiful bouquet of roses along with a “mushy card” that expressed his love for his wife, Judy.

Bob placed the roses and card on the kitchen counter and waited in the next room for Judy to return home from grocery shopping.

When she arrived, he “anticipated an enthusiastic reaction.” Instead all he heard was Judy putting away the groceries. Finally, when she walked into the room, she gave Bob a “quick kiss and casually said, ‘Thanks for the roses. That was sweet of you.'”

Bob admitted his disappointment and said he was hoping for a little more enthusiasm.

However, upon further reflection, he realized that Judy’s love language was not so much gifts, but physical touch. He said, “I should have warmly embraced her, cupped her pretty face in my two hands, kissed her, and whispered, “Happy Valentine’s Day!” She would have melted. Plus, it would have been much less expensive!”

Bob’s reference reminded me of a book we read several years ago by Gary Chapman entitled, “The Five Love Languages–How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.” If you haven’t read it, I recommend it.

Simply summarized Chapman opines there are 5 Love Languages that every person possesses.

#1 Words of Affirmation

Some people thrive on kind, encouraging words of appreciation and praise. Mark Twain once quipped, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” Of course, everyone has a deep need to feel appreciated, but some may feel that need more than others. In the great love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13, Paul wrote, “love is kind.” Kind words build up our spouse, show we care, and recognize their positive qualities.

#2 Quality Time.

This involves undivided attention. Really being there. Chapman calls it “Togetherness that has to do with focused attention.” It’s not just being in the same room watching TV together. It involves quality conversation. Really listening. Making eye-contact. And understanding your mate’s thoughts, feelings and concerns.

#3 Receiving Gifts.

“If your spouse’s primary love language is receiving gifts, you can become a proficient gift giver,” Chapman wrote. “In fact, it is one of the easiest love languages to learn.”

Gifts don’t have to be expensive, but they need to reflect thought and demonstrate a sincere desire to please your mate. Sometimes the gift may simply be the “gift of self, or “the gift of presence.” The physical presence of being there when your spouse needs you.

#4 Acts of Service

For many wives, the daily acts of service by their husbands speaks volumes about their love. Helping around the house. Vacuuming. Putting dirty clothes in the hamper. Giving children their baths. Mowing the lawn. There are countless “little things,” every day that add up to a lot. The Bible exhorts, “through love serve one another” (Gal. 5:13). What better place to apply this principle than in our homes?

#5 Physical Touch

“Physical touch can make or break a relationship. It can communicate love or hate,” Chapman writes.

Research has shown that infants need to be held, hugged and kissed for a healthy emotional development. Actually, we never outgrow the need for touch. In marriage, Chapman reminds us that “holding hands, kissing, embracing and sexual intercourse are all ways of communicating emotional love to one’s spouse.”

The Bible teaches this need from the Song of Solomon, to the Proverbs to Paul’s teaching about the marital relationship in 1 Corinthians 7:1-5.

On this Valentine’s Day, when love is in the air, it might be well to think about your spouse’s primary love language. And what you can do to meet their needs.

To husbands, Peter penned, “Live with your wives in a understanding way” (1 Pet. 5:7).

Finally, remember this. Love is a choice. And we each can choose to express our love today.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


1 Comment

Filed under Love

One response to “How Do You Express Love?

  1. A thoughtful post. Your conclusion reminded me of another book that I recommended to couples when I was an Army Chaplain – Love Is a Choice by Hemfelt, Minirth and Meier. Pray hard and love well, my brother


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