What is love to you? I dare say the answers would surprise all of us. Why? We think differently, value separate ideas and live in unique ‘worlds,’ so it makes sense that what causes one person to feel loved may not even bring a smile to another person’s face. It’s interesting to think about, isn’t it?
I love the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. You’ve probably read it or at least hear of it. His theory is that each of us respond best to one or more of these five types of love languages–words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. And if you are high-maintenance (not that I am–don’t ask my husband) you may respond to all of the above.
Obviously, we know that men and women are usually on opposite poles with this topic. I guess this is why we have so much miscommunication. We try so hard to love each other the way we feel loved.
One of my love languages is words of affirmation. I like to hear a “Thanks,” or a “I know you worked hard to…” when I’ve accomplished something. I guess it just makes me feel loved to know someone appreciates what I’m doing or how hard I’m working.
When Chad and I were first married, I began loving Chad in this love language. “You did a great job with the quarter-round molding on the floor.” or “That’s a great paint job.” He finally looked at me with a face of embarrassment and whispered, “I don’t need you to be a cheerleader. You’re embarrassing me.” What I saw as love was actually embarrassing him.
I found out that his love language was/is acts of service–remembering to pick up the dry cleaning, making his favorite meal, etc. In my mind, whether I completed these tasks or not was not a big deal, but I found out that they were things he valued and made him feel loved.
Children have different love languages, too.
Carson’s favorite thing to do with his dad is work out in the garage. Any time he writes in Chad’s birthday card or writes him a little note he’ll mention something about how he loves to do jobs with him in the garage. He views this time as love. I’m not sure if it’s the acts of service or the quality time, but working with Dad is the ‘love of his life.’
So, this brings me to the picture at the top of this post. This was a drawing that a friend of mine sent me a picture of. Her grand daughter had it in her ‘special things.’ Carson drew this when he was in kindergarten. It just cracked me up. It is a perfect illustration of Carson’s love language. Love to him is working side by side on a traffic light high above the road in a cherry picker. What could be more romantic?
The funny thing is that I remember seeing the drawing that Addie had given Carson in return. I wish I could find it, but we couldn’t. I remember it clearly, though, because of the sharp contrast between it and Carson’s. Addie’s was full of colorful rainbows joining frilly red and pink hearts. She had written, “I Love You, Carson” in curly cue, fancy letters.
I began to think these two were on to something. Oh, how much simpler life could be, if we would be as direct with each other as Carson and Addie. “Listen, Pal, you need to love me with frills, rainbows and hearts. Got it?”
But of course, God knows we need balance. We need a help-meet, a partner. I guess it’s good to remember that love isn’t always frills, rainbows and hearts. Like Carson’s drawing, sometimes love is work-truck tough. It’s hard work, but the work is so much sweeter working together, side-by-side.
“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow…” (Ecc. 4:9 & 10)