Not everyone receives or gives love in the same way, and if we don't understand ourselves or each other, it is very easy for us and those we are trying to love to feel unloved and uncared for through a simple lack of understanding.
It's like we all have a "Love Tank", much like a petrol tank in a car. Our lives run best when our "Love Tank" is filled and constantly being topped up. The alternative is to allow our tanks to run empty and dry and eventually burn out and stop.
Even the best relationships take work to make them stay vibrant and whole. If we neglect or take them for granted, it doesn't take long for people to feel depleted and neglected and we can make the mistake of supposing we don't need to consistently tell, show or express our love for those around us.
Jesus has wired us to love and be loved which is why He wants us to live the love life. Our spouse, partner, children, friends, and those we meet daily, benefit hugely from seeing and having our love and care for them demonstrated and expressed in a relevant way to them.
It's helpful to understand how we feel loved so we can communicate that to others, and to listen, and learn others' love language. In our family, our children are all different, and what causes one child's "love tank" to be filled up doesn't' necessarily fill another's. Likewise, my husband is the complete opposite of me, and it takes effort and ingenuity to give love that can be received.
Once you understand people's love language, it becomes easier to fill their love tanks and to live a love life where people feel seen and heard by you.
Here are the five love languages to help you give and receive love more effectively and honestly.
1. Words of Affirmation
"If this is your love language, you feel most cared for when people are open and expressive in telling you how wonderful they think you are, how much they appreciate you, etc.
2. Acts of Service
"It's when people offer to watch the kids so you can go to the gym or relieve you of some other task to help you. If this gets your heart going, then this is your love language.
"This love language is just as it sounds. A warm hug, a kiss, touch, and intimacy make you feel most loved when this is your love language."
4. Quality Time
"This love language is about being together, fully present and engaged in the activity at hand, no matter how trivial."
"When people take the time to give you a gift, making you feel appreciated."
It takes effort and motivation to live a love life, but when we do we allow God's love to guide our lives.
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this, all people will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)
Today check out how full your love tank is. If it feels empty, ask God to fill it, and then communicate how you feel to those close to you. Sometimes people don't know that what they presume is expressing love isn't working for you. Then take the time to watch and listen, to fill others' "love tanks" too.
Jesus promises that when we take up the love life, we will find the ultimate life.
"Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it." (Matthew 10:39)
"If I could speak all the languages of earth and angels but didn't love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, understood all of God's secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and had such faith that I could move mountains but didn't love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;[a], but if I didn't love others, I would have gained nothing.
"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud, or rude. It does not demand its way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance."
"Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love" (1 Corinthians 13:1-7;13).
Prayer: Lord, please give me the wisdom to understand how I feel loved and how to best express my love to those around me. But most of all would you help me to understand how much you love me. In Jesus name Amen