The Five Love Languages proposes that we all feel loved in different ways, whether by Touch, Gifts, Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation or Quality Time.
I always go back and forth about which love language I most like to receive.
Maybe my love language is Words Of Affirmation.
But sometimes even the most loving words mean absolutely nothing to me. And so I would think, “well, maybe Gifts is my love language…”
But some gifts don’t make me feel that loved. The gifts have to be thoughtful, creative, and/or sacrificial for them to really make me feel amazingly loved.
Maybe Acts Of Service…. But no, I already know that’s not my love language because I hate other people doing things for me. I’m too controlling.
So that leaves Touch. But that doesn’t make sense because I’m the worst hugger ever and I’m so awkward.
So what the heck is my love language??????
I thought about instances when I’ve felt the most loved in the past couple weeks, and that’s when I realized they all had something in common. Even though each instance fell into a different love language category, the love within that category was very quality love:
Last Wednesday, I was having a rough day. My Wednesdays are crazy; I’m in class from 8:30 to 5 and then have a meeting from 5-6, then usually dinner with someone from 6-7:15, and then have Cru from 7:30 to 9. Last Wednesday, I rolled up to Cru late, frazzled, confused, feeling down and overwhelmed, and questioning whether I should have even come. Within ten seconds of walking in the door, my friend Edwin turned around, noticed me, and said, “Hope! You look beautiful!”
It would have been one thing if Edwin had said this on a day when I was feeling beautiful (which, by the way, is rare for girls, but for the sake of the argument, let’s go with it.) But it was another thing entirely for him to say this when I felt at my lowest. It wasn’t a casual, considerate, offhanded compliment. It was unexpected, reassuring, lingered in my heart, and reminded me that I would be okay.
Words of affirmation are about more than being observant and offering compliments. They’re about the unexpected compliments, the words you receive when you needed them most, the words that linger in your heart and remind you that you will be okay, the words that are so much more reassuring than all of your self-talk.
Edwin loved me through words of affirmation, through the QUALITY of his words. QUALITY Words Of Affirmation is my love language.
Last weekend, I was sitting next to my friend Jack, and he casually asked if I had done the reading for Public Policy. Within seconds, I burst into tears. Not like a subtle welling of the eyes; we’re talking a full-blown meltdown. No, I hadn’t done the reading. I was behind. I didn’t have time. I was exhausted. Jack just grabs me and pulls me in for a huge hug and doesn’t let go. He hugs me for a solid five minutes, just telling me over and over again that it’s going to be okay. I mean he’s hugging me so tightly that I can barely breathe. And by the time he lets go and I gasp for air, I feel perfectly okay again. My problems are now gone and are instead soaked all over his shirt.
This is touch. QUALITY touch. Quality Touch is my love language.
Sunday night I was up late studying for a Stats quiz, when I got a text from my friend Ashley. Without my request, she sent me her entire online flashcards and study guide for the same quiz. “Thought this might help you get a bit more sleep tonight. Good luck on the quiz!” she wrote.
This is Acts of Service. QUALITY acts of service. Quality Acts of Service is my love language.
… I could keep going, but the point is that I identify with every love language.
And that’s because it’s not about the category.
It’s about the quality of the love within that category.
We don’t feel loved by the type of love. We feel loved by the quality of the love.
I’m done trying to figure out my love language, trying to tell other people my love language, trying to assess other people’s love language.
I’m done just giving you a cliche compliment, just giving you a hug in passing, just giving you a cookie I don’t need.
Instead, I’m telling you that you are thoughtful, caring, joyful, and brighten my day. I’m sitting with you, rubbing your back, and not letting go until you smile. I’m waiting in the 15-minute line at Vondy between my 8:30 and my 10:05 to buy you your favorite kind of cookie, because I know you need one and because I know you skipped breakfast, again.
I’m focusing on giving quality love to quality people.