When reading about the love languages one will undoubtedly encounter the statement that we often give and receive love in the same way, or in the same language if you will. Is this true for you? In what way or ways do you most easily receive love? In what ways do you show love to your spouse, children, friends, and most importantly God?
Honestly, we should try to love Him (and others) in all ways, but, at least for me, some of the ways come more naturally than others. As with so many things, I look to the saints as examples for loving our Lord in each of these unique ways.
Quality Time: One of my favorite ways to spend quality time with our Lord is in adoration. Having a specific time set aside on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis to go and sit in His presence, to be with Him, with no distractions (at least no external distractions). I look to St. Therese of Lisieux and think of the sweet and seemingly simple way we loved being in His presence. To come with a pure, child-like love. As she said “Heaven for me is hidden in a little Host where Jesus, my Spouse, is veiled for love. I go to that Divine Furnace to draw out life, and there my Sweet Savior listens to me night and day”.
Words of Affirmation: Singing the divine praises, showing gratitude for all He has given us, speaking the names of God with reverence. St. Paul was particularly good at this. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to listen to him preach. Was he one of the most motivational speakers of all time? Though St. Paul had a gift for speaking to the crowds, we can give these words of affirmation to our Lord by simply speaking them in our hearts.
Physical Touch: Receiving the Eucharist. Knowing that you are holding the Body of Christ on your tongue or in your hand. Let that sink in for a minute. If you don’t already know it, read the story of Blessed Imelda Lambertini. There is also a really good Glory Story about this for the kids.
Gifts and Acts of Service: “whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me”(Matt 25:40). I combined these two because I believe they overlap heavily. The gifts we give to those in need are often coupled with an act of service. The stories of St. John Paul II give a good example of these gifts and acts of service, as does the life of St. Teresa of Calcutta. Perhaps they spoke the same language? There are so many ways to give gifts and perform acts of service. If this is a language that doesn’t come naturally to you (it doesn’t for me), you can always start with the corporal works of mercy.
Understanding my love language and the language of my loved ones has helped me know where I need focus as well as better understand when someone is showing me love, in their own way.