Five Love Languages (Part 2) - Learning To Speak Your Spouse's Love LanguageSubmitted by Pastor Chad Wagner on Sunday, March 26, 2017.
Watch the video of this sermon on YouTube: Five Love Languages (Part 2). For a master copy of the outline and the other sermons in the series, click here: Five Love Languages. To listen to or watch the previous sermon in the series, click here: Part 1 Five Love Languages I. Learning to speak your spouse's love language 1. The importance of learning your spouses primary love language. A. "Being sincere is not enough. We must be willing to learn our spouse's primary love language if we are to be effective communicators of love." (Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages, p. 15) B. It's important to learn your spouse's primary love language and to learn how to speak it because it is likely different than yours. C. If you just assume that your spouse speaks the same love language as you do, you may think that you are showing them love, but they don't feel like they are being loved. II. The in-love experience only lasts a short time. 1. "Little by little, the illusion of intimacy evaporates, and the individual desires, emotions, thoughts, and behavior patterns assert themselves. They are two individuals. Their minds have not melded together, and their emotions mingled only briefly in the ocean of love. Now the waves of reality begin to separate them. They fall out of love, and at that point either they withdraw, separate, divorce, and set off in search of a new in-love experience, or they begin the hard work of learning to love each other without the euphoria of the in-love obsession." (Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages, p. 32) 2. "Research seems to indicate that there is a third and better alternative (to a life of misery, or divorce): We can recognize the in-love experience for what it was -- a temporary emotional high -- and now pursue "real love" with our spouse. That kind of love is emotional in nature but not obsessional. It is a love that unites reason and emotion. It involves an act of the will and requires discipline, and it recognizes the need for personal growth. Our most basic emotional need is not to fall in love but to be genuinely loved by another, to know a love that grows out of reason and choice, not instinct. I need to be loved by someone who chooses to love me, who sees in me something worth loving. That kind of love requires effort and discipline. It is the choice to expend energy in an effort to benefit the other person, knowing that if his or her life is enriched by your effort, you too will find a sense of satisfaction -- the satisfaction of having genuinely loved another. It does not require the euphoria of the in-love experience. In fact, true love cannot begin until the in-love experience has run its course." (Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages, p. 32-33) 3. "During the in-love stage, we felt all of those emotions. It was heavenly while it lasted. Our mistake was in thinking it would last forever. But that obsession was not meant to last forever. In the textbook of marriage, it is but the introduction. The heart of the book is rational, volitional love. That is the kind of love to which the sages have always called us. It is intentional." (Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages, p. 33) 4. CS Lewis put it well. "Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. There are many things below it, but there are also things above it. You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling. Now no feeling can be relied on to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all. Knowledge can last, principles can last, habits can last but feelings come and go. And in fact, whatever people say, the state called ‘being in love’ usually does not last. If the old fairy-tale ending ‘They lived happily ever after’ is taken to mean ‘They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married,’ then it says what probably never was nor ever would be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships? But, of course, ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense — love as distinct from ‘being in love’ — is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be ‘in love’ with someone else. ‘Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it." (CS Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 108-109) 5. Ammon's love (lust) for his sister was short lived after he "loved" her (2Sa 13:1-2, 14-15). III. Love is a choice, not just a feeling. 1. "Love is the attitude that says, "I am married to you, and I choose to look out for your interests." Then the one who chooses to love will find appropriate ways to express that decision." (Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages, p. 34) 2. "...love is something you do for someone else, not something you do for yourself." (Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages, p. 139-140) 3. "Love is not a always a feeling; it's a commitment." (Mark Applebee) IV. An overview of the five love languages 1. Words of Affirmation - This language uses words to affirm other people. A. "Verbal compliments, or words of appreciation, are powerful communicators of love." (Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages, p. 37) B. The following types of words are words of affirmation: i. Encouraging words a. "You look great in that outfit." b. "You look very pretty/handsome today." c. "You are such a hard worker." d. "I'm so blessed to have a husband/wife like you." ii. Positive words a. "This meal was excellent." b. "Thanks for mowing the grass." c. "You are so good with the kids." iii. Kind words a. "I love you." b. "You are very special to me." c. "I don't know what I would do without you." iv. Forgiving words a. "Love doesn't keep a score of wrongs. Love doesn't bring up past failures. None of us is perfect. In marriage we do not always do the best or right thing. We have sometimes done and said hurtful things to our spouses. We cannot erase the past. We can only confess it and agree that it was wrong. We can ask for forgiveness and try to act differently in the future. Having confessed my failure and asked forgiveness, I can do nothing more to mitigate the hurt it may have caused my spouse. When I have been wronged by my spouse and she has painfully confessed it and requested forgiveness, I have the option of justice or forgiveness. If I choose justice and seek to pay her back or make her pay for her wrongdoing, I am making myself the judge and she the felon. Intimacy becomes impossible. If, however, I choose to forgive, intimacy can be restored. Forgiveness is the way of love. "I am amazed by how many individuals mess up every new day with yesterday. They insist on bringing into today the failures of yesterday and in so doing, they pollute a potentially wonderful day." (Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages, p. 44) b. "Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a commitment. It is a choice to show mercy, not to hold the offense up against the offender. Forgiveness is an expression of love." (Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages, p. 44) c. Forgiveness is a great act of love (Eph 1:7 c/w Rev 1:5). v. Humble words a. Asking for something instead of demanding it is a way of showing love. b. Remember, love vaunteth not itself and is not puffed up (1Co 13:4). C. Some pointers if your spouse's primary love language is words of affirmation. i. Remember that words are important. ii. Make sure to give your spouse a sincere compliment every day. iii. Write a love letter to your spouse. iv. Leave them little notes around the house or in the car. v. Compliment your spouse in the presence of their parents or friends. vi. Look for your spouse's strengths, and tell them how much you appreciate those qualities in them. vii. Tell your children how great their mother or father is, both in their presence and when they aren't around. 2. Quality Time - This language is all about giving the other person your undivided attention. A. "By "quality time," I mean giving someone your undivided attention. I don't mean sitting on the couch watching television together." (Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages, p. 55) B. Focused attention i. "Some husbands and wives think they are spending time together when, in reality, they are only living in close proximity. They are in the same house at the same time, but they are not together. A wife who is texting while her husband tries to talk to her is not giving him quality time, because he does not have her full attention." (Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages, p. 59) ii. This is becoming a major problem in our world today. iii. "It's something everyone suspected, but now it's official: The under-30 crowd is addicted to their cell phones. Those are the findings of a new survey, which showed that as millennials spend more time engaged on social media platforms, it's causing them to be less social in real life. The study, conducted by Flashgap, a photo-sharing application with more than 150,000 users, found that 87 percent of millennials admitted to missing out on a conversation because they were distracted by their phone." (Social media making millennials less social: Study, www.cnbc.com, 10-17-2015) C. Quality conversation i. "Words of affirmation focus on what we are saying, whereas quality conversation focuses on what we are hearing." (Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages, p. 60-61) a. Women like to be listened to and understood. b. Men like to listen, assess the problem, and offer a solution. c. Men, sometimes your wife just needs you to listen to her problem and show her that you understand and care. d. "Unsolicited advice is useless." - Carol Paul e. This is generally true, but a wise man or woman will welcome good unsolicited advice from a wise person (Pro 9:9). ii. Practical tips for quality conversation a. Maintain eye contact when your spouse is talking. b. Don't do anything else when you are listening to your spouse. c. Listen for feelings. Confirm the feelings you think you hear. d. Observe body language. e. Do NOT interrupt. iii. Learn to talk a. "Quality conversation requires not only sympathetic listening but also self-revelation." (Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages, p. 64) b. Many men have difficulty expressing their feelings. c. Opening oneself up to another person and revealing deep personal feelings is an act of love which requires trust. iv. Quality activities a. Doing activities with your spouse that they love is an act of love. b. It's worth it to do an activity with your spouse that you don't particularly enjoy - but they do - because it shows that you love them. c. "One of the by-products of quality activities is that they provide a memory bank from which to draw in the years ahead." (Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages, p. 69) 3. Gifts - For some people, what makes them feel most loved is to receive a gift. i. Having Receiving Gifts as one's primary love language doesn't necessarily mean that the person is covetous, anymore than it means that a person who feels loved by Words of Affirmation has a low self-esteem, or a person who feels loved by Quality Time is needy and insecure. These are just different ways in which different people feel loved. ii. Gifts don't necessarily have to be expensive. a. Gifts could be flowers, candy, bringing home a pizza for dinner, or souvenirs from a vacation. b. Gifts could also be something hand-made. iii. Some people prefer practical gifts. iv. What if gift-giving doesn't come naturally to you? a. Make yourself a recurring reminder to buy your spouse something. b. Have someone who is good at buying gifts go with you to help you find something. 4. Acts of Service - For these people, actions speak louder than words. A. "Such actions as cooking a meal, setting a table, washing dishes, vacuuming, cleaning a commode, changing a baby's diaper, dusting the bookcase, keeping the car in operating condition, paying the bills, trimming the shrubs, walking the dog, changing the cat's litter box, and dealing with landlords and insurance companies are all acts of service. They require thought, planning, time, effort, and energy. If done with a positive spirit, they are indeed expressions of love." (Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages, p. 69) B. If you are married to someone whose primary love language is Acts of Service, they may have fell in love with you when you were dating because you did things for them. If that's the case, don't slack off after you're married. C. "...what we do for each other before marriage is no indication of what we will do after marriage. Before marriage, we are carried along by the force of the in-love obsession. After marriage, we revert to being the people we were before we "fell in love."" (Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages, p. 99) D. If your spouse's primary love language is Acts of Service, try the following: i. Make a list of things that your spouse has asked you to do over the past few weeks and do one per week as an act of love. ii. Ask your spouse for a list of ten things that he or she would really like you do in the next month, ask them to prioritize them for you, and then do them as an act of love. iii. Take note of things that your spouse nags you to do and do them. iv. If you have more money than time, then hire someone else to do some things around the house that need done. 5. Physical Touch - To this person, nothing speaks more deeply than appropriate touch. A. Physical touch is vital for human beings' wellbeing. i. "Numerous research projects in the area of child development have reached that conclusion: Babies who are held, hugged, and kissed develop a healthier emotional life than those who are left for long periods of time without physical contact." (Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages, p. 109) B. How to touch i. "In marriage, the touch of love may take many forms. Since touch receptors are located throughout the body, lovingly touching your spouse almost anywhere can be an expression of love. That does not mean that all touches are created equal. Some will bring more pleasure to your spouse than others. Your best instructor is your spouse, of course. After all, she is the one you are seeking to love. She knows best what she perceives as a loving touch. Don't insist on touching her in your way in your time. Learn to speak her love dialect. Your spouse may find some touches uncomfortable or irritating. To insist on continuing those touches is to communicate the opposite of love. It is saying that you are not sensitive to her needs and that you care little about her perceptions of what is pleasant. Don't make the mistake of believing that the touch that brings pleasure to you will also bring pleasure to her." (Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages, p. 109) ii. "If your spouse's primary love language is physical touch, nothing is more important than holding her as she cries." (Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages, p. 113) C. Some tips if your spouse's primary love language is physical touch (from The Five Love Languages, p. 120) i. As you walk from the car to go shopping, reach out and hold your spouse's hand. ii. While eating together, let your knee or foot drift over and touch your spouse. iii. While your spouse is seated, walk up behind her and give her a shoulder massage. iv. When you sit together in church, when the minister calls for prayer, reach over and hold your spouse's hand. v. When family or friends are visiting, touch your spouse in their presence. Putting your arm around him as you stand talking, or simply placing your hand on her shoulder says, "Even with all these people in our house, I still see you." vi. When your spouse arrives at home, meet him or her one step earlier than usual and give your mate a big welcome home. The point is to vary the routine and enhance even a small "touching experience." V. Discovering your primary love language. 1. Three ways to discover your primary love language (from The Five Love Languages, p. 128) A. What does your spouse do or fail to do that hurts you most deeply? The opposite of what hurts you most is probably your love language. B. What have you most often requested of your spouse? The thing you have most often requested is likely the thing that would make you feel most loved. C. In what way do you regularly express love to your spouse? Your method of expressing love may be an indication that that would also make you feel loved. 2. Pay attention to your spouse's complaints to figure out what his/her love language is. A. "The complaints of your spouse are the most powerful indicators of the primary love language." (Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages, p. 175) B. "My spouse's criticisms about my behavior provide me with the clearest clue to her primary love language. People tend to criticize their spouses most loudly in the area where they themselves have the deepest emotional need. Their criticism is an ineffective way of pleading for love." (Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages, p. 100) 3. If you are a man, don't assume that physical touch is your primary love language because you like sex. A. Men have a physical need for sexual release which makes some of them conclude that physical touch is their love language. B. A man should ask himself, if my sexual needs were met would other non-sexual touches make me feel loved? C. Figure out what your secondary love language is and then ask yourself, if my sexual needs were met and my spouse did not speak my secondary love language to me, would I still feel loved? If not, then what you thought was your secondary love language may actually be your primary. D. Answering these questions should help a man figure out if physical touch is his primary love language. 4. You can take the love language test which will help you to determine your primary love language at http://www.5lovelanguages.com.