“He doesn’t listen to me,” “She just doesn’t understand me,” or “I don’t feel heard,” are a just a few common arguments that can be heard at one point or another in our daily lives. However, the root of these phrases is the same: somewhere along the way, there is lack of communication (or miscommunication) between the parties involved.
That begs the question: What is communication?
According to Merriam-Webster, there are a few definitions depending on the context (circumstances surrounding its usage). To simply the various definitions, we can view communication as “the process of sharing or exchanging information between individuals through spoken or written means such as through the usage of actions, symbols, signs, behaviors, etc.” Now, that’s a pretty extensive definition especially since I could have simplified it to say, “communication is sharing information between two or more individuals.”
So why did I give such a lengthy definition?
The answer to that is simple — communication is important. Communication is commonly associated with spoken or written information; however, there are other ways that we are able to communicate with one another. For example, we can communicate through methods such as body language, or even through the “Five Love Languages.”
According to Dr. Gary Chapman’s 1995 work, the Five Love Languages are defined as gift-giving, quality time, physical touch, words of affirmation, and acts of service. Below is a brief explanation of these love languages, but I would recommend that you read Dr. Chapman’s book on your own for a full understanding of what each language entails.
Gift-giving is, as its name implies – a language that reinforces the feeling of love through the thoughtful expression of love through a tangible item (aka a gift).
Quality Time is an expression of love where you give your family member, friend, or spouse your undivided attention (and they reciprocate it whether its their language or not, they decide to give you their time as you give them yours).
Physical Touch is not just kissing and sex, it includes a host of psychological effects from infants to the elderly. In short, physical touch helps close the distance between individuals creating a sort of social rapport between them.
Words of Affirmation is the principal verbal form of communication within the five love languages by Chapman. Meaning, when you speak to your loved ones, you should encourage them and inspire them to continually improve. This is why your children always ask you, “Did you see me do that really cool thing?” The University of Arizona Global Campus even mentions, “Using affirmative words like “love," “peace," and “loving-kindness,” improve our brain functions-- resulting in increased cognitive reasoning and strengthened frontal lobes.” In short meaning, we feel more motivated and encouraged.
Acts of Service is the only language on this list that does not require you to seek verbal or physical communication with the one you are communicating with. Acts of Service is described as “doing something for your spouse that you know they would like for you to do” (Chapman, 2009). Dr. Rosser-Majors goes as far to say, “True leaders serve others before serving themselves. This level of unselfish service inspires people, as well as the communities and families they impact, to be greater, to go beyond, to aspire.”
All of you Bible Scholars are already flipping through the pages of your physical or digital Bible thinking, I know what comes next: Matthew 20:28. Which says, “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” If this is what you thought, I would say that you are partially correct, but there’s more to it.
Now, I know that the Five Love Languages are primarily used for marriage counseling and such (now, there is a version for singles too), but it is integral in understanding and effectively communicating— not only with your brothers and sisters in Christ, but also your children, and anyone else that you come across. Believe it or not, these five languages have been shown to each of us who have received Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
I know you saw the title, and opened up this blog post because you found the concept interesting; so the last thing I want is for you to get lost somewhere along this journey (which is why I took the first part of this to set up our foundation for this concept going forward). This may be a lengthy discussion, and only you know how long you can go without losing focus, so read this at your own pace. I will do my best to make it plain in the next few parts, by breaking down of how each of us can love God, as we learn to love communication by learning to love language.
It is my sincere hope that you will continue this journey with me in the next installment as we delve into Loving God.