The Truth Behind Love Languages

I love the concept of love languages, and immensely enjoyed Dr. Gary Chapman’s book on the matter: The Five Love Languages. Ever since I first read this book, I’ve tried to consider which language someone is speaking when dealing with them – especially in my closest relationships.

The truth is, though, that love languages can be messy. Take this recent interaction, for example. I stayed out late one night, drinking tea and catching up with a precious friend of mine. It was literally the middle of the night when I got home.

My husband started with, “You were out too late.” I tried to not respond too harshly to that statement – he’s not the controlling type, so I didn’t think he was trying to come off like I had done something wrong, but I waited for more info. “You will be too tired tomorrow,” this statement was my first clue that there was definitely a deeper message than just what time it was. He knows I get very little sleep between the two babies and work, and he tries very hard to protect my rest. “I can’t sleep without you here at home with me,” was the statement that sunk in deep.

I waited for a moment, before quietly saying, “That’s the closest you’ve ever come to saying you missed me.” He hugged me close – one of those sweet hugs that I can never get  enough of. No more words were even necessary, I got the message right, he missed me and worried about me.

This interaction could have gone so much differently – if I had reacted to the first statement like he was trying to restrict my freedom, control my actions, or boss me around, we would most likely have had an argument. It’s easy to react to the first words out of someone’s mouth, but if we are slow to speak, slow to anger, we can often get to the bottom of an “issue” before it is truly an issue.

Honestly, I don’t know which love language my husband speaks for sure. But I try to filter his words and actions with the knowledge that he does love me, and looks out for me, which in turn makes me feel less defensive when we do have a big issue to face. Things don’t always go right, and it’s not something I’ve mastered, that’s for sure, but it is something I work on daily.

This last week I learned that if food is a love language, that’s the one my dad speaks. He loves to feed people, and when it’s an occasion that he’s deemed special, he likes to make sure that it’s the best meal it can be, for what it is. He reminded me to cook corned beef for longer than I did while visiting, so that it’s not tough. He made sure I started the 16 hour trek home with a warm breakfast. As I shared that breakfast with him, I thought back over my life, and specifically that last ten years or so, and all of the visits back and forth. Food is by far how my dad communicates that he cares.

I am adding to my prayers that God would help me accurately identify the love languages of my kids, and my closest family members and friends, so that I can love them in a way they understand, and receive their love fully.

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Then and Now

A few years ago, I got an interesting job. In a matter of months I went from bartender to office manager at a country club in the Middle of Nowhere, Oklahoma. It was never an easy job, but it was at times a fun job. Many stressful things were thrown at me while I was there, and they were usually thrown at top speed. Sometimes, that place was just plain nuts.

I learned something new every day to be able to do my job, to be able to help my staff with their jobs, and to keep the place functioning. We were running with a skeleton crew – a golf course, pro shop, restaurant, office, weddings, etc. There were never enough hours in the day. In fact, there were many occasions where I would pick my kids up from day care, only to go back to work and work until we closed for the night.

Sun up, to sun down, repeat the next day.

The hours, the style of work, the go-go-go nature of things at the country club were right up my alley. The challenges, the things I was forced to learn to get the job done, all of it. I would get so wound up with a new challenge that I could hardly sleep until I conquered the problem. I also thought it was just a paycheck. I could only see my right then. I had no idea what my future held (we never really do though, do we?) and I believed that God was providing the groceries, the trip to see my parents, and a few other freedoms, for a single mom of two boys.

I had no idea.

What I know now is, God was teaching me. He was teaching me to solve problems, to sleep the night before, to take a deep breath. To go-go-go when it’s time to, and to slow down when I need to. He was teaching me how to use Quickbooks, how to handle irate customers, how to collect past due accounts, how to fight and not give up. He was teaching me how to order supplies, plan ahead, handle last minute emergencies, and answer the phone while searching the internet for parts, pieces, or how-to videos.

God was teaching me how to run a business, so that later, I could help my husband fulfill his dreams – a husband I didn’t know I’d have. A man I hadn’t met. But God was preparing me.

And here I thought He was just providing a paycheck…

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God is God

I have written and re-written this post in my head a hundred times, because I want to make sure it comes out right. I’m finally putting it on the page.

God is God. God is Sovereign and His ways are far superior to ours. And I think it is incredibly important that we ground our faith in Him and His supremacy, not in what He does or doesn’t do, what we want Him to do, or when He fulfills our wishes.

Sure, God helped David slay a giant.

He sent Jesus to reconcile us.

He loves us, and wants His best for us.

But we have seriously distorted what His best is. We want to define His best based on what we want, or think we need. But that’s not really how it’s supposed to be.

Maybe I have a scarcity mindset, but when I think of all of the stories of victory in the bible, I am always sharply reminded of Job. Job walked through a miserable time – he lost his health, wealth, and family. He was in utter ruins. And as he walked through that, he remembered that God is God. He didn’t know or understand why he had to walk through that and while not nearly to that degree of severity, many of the things I face, I don’t know why I’m facing them. Now, I know God didn’t do those things to Job, but He did allow those things to happen. I often think about the fact that the bible has several places that reference purity by fire (trial) like gold or silver are refined.

Oh my soul…how many times I’ve melted in the fire and come out on the other side having given up on God. Be patient with me Lord, please.

I do know that God is God. I am His, made in His image. He chose to create me, and breathe life into me, and that amazes me every day. He has blessed me with many good gifts. I’ve walked through times where I wasn’t getting what I wanted, I wasn’t where I wanted, things weren’t happening where I wanted, but through it all, God is God.

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