I love Valentine’s season! There’s nothing like the month of the red heart, the 28 days of Love! I am a hopeless romantic. I love a chance to tell those I love how special they are. And today, it’s the perfect time to dwell on something that’s been on my mind. Most of us are at least vaguely familiar with the Five Love Languages, a study by Christian author, Gary Chapman. A few years ago, my husband and I had a chance to listen to him at a wonderful couple’s retreat. I remember thinking how much I would love it if he were an elder at my church, but soon I wanted him to be a favorite uncle or father figure to me! He is so wise and easy to listen to. One morning at our hotel, we had the privilege of bumping into him at the breakfast buffet and shared a table. I resisted throwing down our lives and letting him analyze all of our troubles. HaHa! He was very humble and kind, and I love his teachings. But I want to turn those love languages around a little today.
We live in a society of selfies and ‘me first.’ As our quarantine raged on (once we were through buying out all the toilet paper) we found fun games on Facebook – what are the first three colors you see? Then you are passionate and beautiful… what animal would you be? How would you look as a banana? – we’re just kind of a ‘me’ generation. And as we look at those love languages, our main focus is on ‘what is MY love language and how can you better serve me by using it?’ Sometimes we even struggle to think about our significant other’s love language or try to convince them that they must not have taken the test correctly. Am I right?
Marriage is not easy. Relationships of any kind are not always easy. But when we decide to receive affirmation from our spouse only if they’ve given it our ‘special way,’ we will miss out – a lot. When one person needs physical touch and the other has an imaginary bubble that can’t be infiltrated! When I want hubby to sit with me, but he cleans my kitchen instead. He never brings you roses, but he takes care of your car. You’d like a love note, but he wasn’t so good in English. She forgets your anniversary but loves to make your favorite dessert. We don’t have to stop working on our marriage, but for now, receive the things your spouse is doing as an “I love you.” It will make you both happier.
Song of Solomon is a story about love, but I have to say that some of his words are a conundrum to me. The bride is telling her friends and her groom how much she loves him. She compares him to her favorite perfume or to a stag that can leap over mountains. What man wouldn’t like that? But then he starts describing her…compares her to one of Pharaoh’s mares (just not quite the same as the stag analogy). Then he tells her that her hair is like a flock of goats and her teeth like sheep after a bath. Let’s add that to temples that look like half of a pomegranate, a navel the size of a goblet on a waist that looks like a mound of wheat! Apparently, they both like words of affirmation, but I hope she was open-minded about his descriptions. Sometimes we have to be!
We have to learn to receive love the way others give love. When my hubby washes my car and puts gas in it, I like to ‘smell the roses.’ Go ahead and study those love languages but receive love from your spouse the way they can give it. Receive their love language as they receive yours. That will make you so much happier than finding out how you would look as a banana. Life is short. Smell those roses no matter what they look like.