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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

deep(er) thoughts - the languages of love

Some days I have more deep thoughts than others... and a full weekend prompted reflection on a number of things.

The weekend (incl. Monday): confirmation retreat, Valentine's Day guest sermon on "The Five Love Languages," and a presbytery meeting.

Here are the thoughts on love languages - briefly and in a bloggy nutshell.

Love Languages

If you haven't read the book, you should. The five love languages are words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, quality time, and physical touch. My #1 is words of affirmation - but you have to realize that they have to be genuine, not flattery. If anyone is tuned in to the difference between the two, it is someone for whom that is their #1 language. I have three daughters - two of them LOVE to snuggle with me. One does it for physical contact; the other as a form of quality time. How do I know? When they fight for snuggle time, one says, "That's my place; don't get in it." The other says, "It's my turn for daddy time." As Spock (Mr., not Dr.) would say, "Fascinating."

More technical observation: it has occurred to me that the five languages correspond somewhat to Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences, simplified or re-packaged as the VARK model of learning styles: visual, auditory, reading, kinesthetic. And neither is unrelated to Jack Haberer's Godviews book, which posits that people view/understand God in a number of different ways. None of these correlations takes away from the value of the models; rather, I think the overlap helps validate the need to understand that people process differently, whether it be love, information, or faith in God.

And here's the most important takeaway: while it is of great personal value to learn what your own "language" or learning style is, it is of even greater value in terms of loving/serving/reaching others to recognize that not everyone speaks your language. A truly missional (which is to say Christ-like) love learns to say "I love you" in the others' language.

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