I wish I could say I am bilingual or more. Unfortunately, I only speak English, and I fight daily the temptation of allowing Southern slang to intertwine with the English language. I did take French in high school, graduated with the highest GPA in the class, and still remember very little. In life, everyone speaks at least one language with some speaking more than one.
Such is the case with something called love languages. Each of us had a dominant love language with some sprinkles of others. Dr. Gary Chapman wrote “The Five Love Languages” several years ago. The older I get, the more I realize how much these love languages play into more than just the romantic relationship. They affect our daily dealings with people.
If you are unfamiliar with these five love languages, they are acts of service, gift-giving, physical touch, quality time, and words of affirmation. If you don’t know yours, click here to take the quiz and find out. This link will lead you to the quiz that best suits you.
Initially, I was going to go into my love language journey, but I sense that I should help you with yours. Do you have a difficult relationship in your life? Maybe it’s your spouse. Maybe it’s a co-worker or boss. Maybe it’s a friend. I have discovered that these love languages can help in every area of life.
As I counsel pastors, I frequently hear about difficult people in their church. I ask, “Do you know that person’s love language?” Sometimes they do. If it’s words of affirmation, I ask the pastor how often they affirm that person with their words. The answer is often, “I don’t.” I normally say, “Try it. You might be surprised when you see a change.”
I know that we can’t always speak someone’s love language. If it’s physical touch and you’re dealing with someone of the opposite sex, good boundaries will let you know to skip out on that one. A pat on the back, a hand shake, or a 👊 can go a long way from guy to guy where ladies are more prone to hug each other. Acts of service can be done in good reason. Gifts…well, use some discretion and err on the side of caution. Sometimes, pastors need to give a staff member some quality time. People skills can make or break your ministry or job performance. Know those you deal with on a regular basis. How you interact makes a difference.
Whatever language you speak, make sure you speak it under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Godly communication is key. Handle people with care and watch your effectiveness increase. You won’t regret it.