Words and Image by Jennifer Trovato
I remember coming across The 5 Love Languages and doing the little online test with my husband. We laughed at how totally different we are, but it helped us to be a little more intentional about how we work on our relationship. Its so easy to go along and not really put time or effort into actually showing love to our spouse, but once you do, it changes the level of joy in your home. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, "encourage one another and build each other up." Building into each other and investing time and energy into showing your love pleases the Lord. How much more so when we invest in understanding the ways the other significant people in our lives express and receive their love, namely, our children?
The 5 Love Languages (coined by Author Gary Chapman) are often referenced with couples or relationships as a way of identifying how you personally most express and receive love. The five languages include: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time and physical
touch. I had only ever really thought about them in the context of my husband or close friends but was recently encouraged to think about them in reference to my children. I’ve noticed that my oldest son is very different from my daughter and that they both have different relationships with me, but I hadn’t really put it in terms of how they receive or show their love. After looking at the love languages, I immediately see how my son thrives on receiving words of affirmation and seems to love doing acts of service. My daughter loves spending quality time. Knowing these little pieces of them helps me to know what to hone in on when I’m feeling a little off with
them and it also helps remind me of their love for me, especially on those days when I take everything they do a little too personally. While of course this isn’t all encapsulating of who they are or how they act, it is really helpful to notice and study these things in our kids so we can love
them better. With my son, I try to actively compliment or encourage him whenever I can, even in tiny little things. With my daughter, I make sure that time I spend playing with her is on the ground and in character! Putting that effort into showing them love specifically in the way they
seem to thrive reminds me of the always active and overwhelmingly powerful love of God in my own life.
Scripture calls us to study and continue to learn the word so that we may better know God. We study and pray and read and speak the word so that our relationship with God might become more rich and full and loving. God has given us children as a blessing “a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward” (Psalm 127:3). These little people have been put in our charge to be guided and fed and loved on and disciplined and enjoyed. Believe it or not, they will one day be fully potty trained, car driving, working, family of their own adults! We have a big responsibility on our hands in raising them, but we also have an amazing opportunity to get
to know these amazing people in a way that really gets to their hearts. In the same way that we study and learn about God in order to love him better, we need to study and learn about our children in order to love and serve them in a way that loves and thanks the Lord as well.