April 21, 2016

Beauty Begins: Six Ways We Connect

by Kerry Shook and Jordan Alpha

“Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it.  Love makes up for practically anything.” 1 Peter 4:8 (MSG)

The struggle to connect lies in our understanding of love – how we receive it and how we give it.  We tend to give love in the selfish way we need it rather than how others need it.  In an effort to connect, we find our relationship disconnecting and we wonder why.  To really connect it’s vital to know each other’s love language.  What communicates love to you may not be the same language that communicates love to someone else.  Imagine trying to speak to someone that didn’t understand English?  No wonder couples struggle to connect.  If you want to really connect on a deeper, more intimate level with the people you love find out what communicates love to them.  Here’s a list of ways people feel loved that could be a catalyst for connecting with those you love.

  • Time

Some people feel loved the most when you spend uninterrupted time with them.  It may or may not even involve an activity or even talking.  Theologians refer to this as the theology of presence.  Your presence in the lives of others communicates love to them.  It raises their sense of value and worth regardless of whether it does anything for you or not.  In Romans 12:15 the bible tells us to “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” Even when there are no words to say, your presence and time communicates love. It’s a powerful way to connect.

  • Words

While time alone may communicate love with some, others need words.  Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death….” When you speak are you communicating life or death?  Do your words build up or tear down?  If your love language is words, then you need to hear that you are loved.  Loving actions and time alone won’t communicate the deepest longing of your heart to hear the words, “I love you.” “You are beautiful.”  “I appreciate what you do for me.”

  • Touch

Jesus communicated love to lepers through touch.  Although He didn’t have to touch anyone to heal them it’s fascinating how often He would reach out to touch the untouchables.  Imagine living all your life without a human touch, a hug or loving embrace.  While it might not be the top love language for some, there is something powerful about human touch, a father’s loving hand on your shoulder, a mother’s tender kiss on your cheek or a child’s loving embrace that communicates love in a way nothing else does. The motive for such a touch is the need of the person receiving it, not giving it.  This kind of loving touch has no ulterior motive but to say you are loved.

  • Acts

While time, words and touch communicate love to many, others aren’t convinced until you show it with acts that demonstrate love.  Small acts of kindness can make a world of difference in connecting with those who speak this love language!  When you complete that project your wife has mentioned without delay or debate, it says “I love you!” to her in a way you could never say verbally.  If you’ve ever felt loved by someone’s act of kindness in your life, you get it.  What acts of kindness could you do that would communicate love for someone?  It may be the secret to that deeper connection you’re struggling to make.

  • Opportunities

One other way that communicates love is when you risk letting others fail by giving them opportunities to do what you might otherwise do yourself.  When they feel challenged with a task they didn’t think they could do and know that you have confidence in them, it says, “You are loved. You can do this. I believe in you!”

None of us will really know the best way to connect with others until we ask them.  Couples can spend a lifetime conflicted, trying to connect and giving up when all that may be needed is to simply ask, “Which of these ways best says I love you?”  Another way to discern their love language if they can’t tell you is to consider the ways in which they have been trying to tell you they love you.  If it’s through acts of service but you need words, then respond with acts of service and you’ll be speaking their love language.

Jesus’ love speaks every language.  He connects with us at our deepest level and longing.  Consider for a moment how He communicates His love to you and thank Him.