Does anyone remember the DC Talk song, “Luv is a verb”? The chorus of the song is this:
Words come easy but don’t mean much
When the words they’re sayin’ we can’t put trust in
We’re talkin’ ’bout love in a different light
And if we all learn to love it would be just right
Words Plus Action!
It is easy to tell someone that you love them, but it becomes meaningful when you put actions behind the words. The old saying, “actions speak louder than words” really is true.
As my teenage daughters get older, dating and marriage become more and more a topic of discussion. As they start to prepare themselves for the next season of life, what are the key truths I want them to learn about love? I think one of the main ones is that love is not only a feeling but something you do. If there is no action to back up the words or if the actions are contradicting the words, I want them to question if it is really love.
Love Isn’t Easy
As I was reading the love chapter (1 Corinthians 13:1-7) I have been pausing on the two truths that love keeps no record of wrong and love does not give up. Why are these two listed with the characteristics of love? The world gives us this false picture of love that it is wonderful and exciting, and like a Hallmark movie…endearing and full of heartwarming moments. It may have one minor misunderstanding (about midway through the hour), but with one conversation it can be all fixed and life will return to the fairytale. The world also gives the message that if it is hard or you just aren’t feeling it, you should move on because you deserve better.
But is either one a fair representation of what love is really like? I think God was gracious in letting us in on a little secret. Love, true unconditional love, is hard. It will take effort and grit. There will be times when you are wronged and you will have to make the choice to forgive and forget. There will be times when you feel like giving up and walking out. In those moments you will need to walk in faith, keep your hope in God’s promises and not give up. It is in those moments that love shines brightly and connects you to the other person in ways you can only imagine.
Love God, Love Others
Love is a beautiful thing. It is a gift from God that He wants us to experience. First He wants us to fully experience His love for us. He gave the ultimate gift of His son to demonstrate how much He loves us. He is constantly pursuing us and drawing us in. God is also inviting us to respond to His love. He wants us to love Him back unconditionally and then love others with the same kind of love. Remember what the two greatest commandments are: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:28-34).
Each one of us needs love. But how we hear, see and experience love is quite different. In Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages® book he explains that there are 5 different love languages. They are words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. While everyone needs all 5, most people will have one or two primary categories that speak love louder than the others.
A Month of Love
Now that we have passed Valentine’s Day, let’s take the rest of the month to ponder what love really looks like. Think about how you are loving those in your inner circle. What are you doing well? What could you do better? Let’s take the time to invest in those who are close to our heart. Let’s ask the question, how do they hear and experience love? Ask them. Then spend the rest of the month learning what that actually means.
First Step to Loving Well
One of the best things we have done in our marriage is take the 5 Love Language Quiz. Once we got our results we took the time to talk through them together. Acts of Service is one of my top love languages, but what does that actually mean? If I am able to give Nathan practical ideas on how he can serve me it is a win-win for both of us. I feel loved and he is spending his time, energy and resources on things that actually matter. Nathan’s top is physical touch. While intimacy in the bedroom is important, it is also valuable for me to learn what other ways I can fill his tank throughout the day. It is valuable to know what their love language is but it is more important to know how to express it.
When we take the time to express love, we fill each other’s bucket. Then when the times come when we have to choose to keep no record or push through and not give up, we have some love in reserve to carry us through.
Check out this Marriage Conversations printable to aid in your 5 Love Languages® discussion:
Once you have talked this through with your spouse, we encourage you to take your children through the kid’s quiz too. Learning how to express their love language is vital to their ability to have healthy relationships in the future.
Practice Makes Progress
Let Valentine’s Day be the starting point to a lifelong commitment to learning to love well!