“I may speak in different languages, whether human or even of angels. But if I don’t have love, I am only a noisy bell or a ringing cymbal.” (ERV)
Some people are fluent in multiple languages. I greatly admire them, because I am not. Still, the most important “language” to be fluent in is love. Without love, we are all just a bunch of noise. Pastor and counselor Gary Chapman has written several books on what he calls the five love languages. His premise is that people express and receive love in 5 essential ways: words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, acts of service, and gifts. Learning to express love in your mate’s primary “love language” can be of great benefit to your relationship. Lest you think, however, that this just applies to your marriage, he has applied the concepts to the parenting of children and teens and also has a special version of his book just for men. All this is to say that I truly believe that we can learn to love others better. Just like someone can learn a spoken language, we can learn to express love more effectively. With practice, we can learn to speak the language of love, communicating love to others as God desires for us. But it doesn’t happen overnight, and it may take ongoing effort.
Practicing the Language of Love
I made it through Spanish 4 in high school, but my Spanish isn’t very good today. OK, it’s embarrassingly bad. Why? Because I haven’t kept practicing it. Sadly, I’ve lost most of my skills. I should have kept up with it. Similarly, when it comes to speaking the language of love, we have to keep practicing it. Maybe that’s why the Scripture tells us to “love one another” over and over again. God forbid I get rusty at loving my wife or my children. Yet God wants me to be known for my love—of everyone (John 13:34-35). So, I better keep practicing. I want to become and stay fluent in the language of love.
For more help, read 1 Corinthians 13 and check out Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages.