“Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.”
1 John 3:18 (NAB)
Jesus reminded everyone to back their words up with deeds, because deeds really do count in the end. According to the many books based on the theory known as “Love languages,” everyone has their own language used to express and receive love. The theory of love languages is to help understand how we interpret the ways that love translates into deeds. It applies to all relationships, and is not limited to marriage. There are a total of five love languages, but each person has an inclination toward one or two. The books and seminars help determine which love language we most commonly use and identify with. The five love languages are:
Words of affirmation
Acts of service
Giving and receiving gifts
Spending quality time together
Jesus understands and relates to all the love languages. If you’ve ever been or currently are a caregiver for your loved one, you are expressing physical touch and acts of service every day. It’s a natural result of caregiving. Quality time and words of affirmation could be added by choice. I regret not giving more words of affirmation to my husband during the time of his illness. Taking care of a sick person requires so many acts of service, it’s easy to forget to give words of affirmation. At least he received quality time through all the visits from friends and family, which meant a lot, being the social person that he was. When I cared for my ninety two year old mother in the last year of her life, she loved music, so I played music from her era, which she enjoyed. One day I spontaneously started dancing to her music, and she just lit up with joy and clapped. That was a quality moment for her. It wasn’t about how I danced, but that she could see my joy. She used to worry that she was a burden to me, but seeing me dance made her feel loved through that quality moment. Deeds of love can be unconventional ones, and are more often spontaneous and not planned. Acts of service are expressions of love, which can be done for an elderly or lonely person. Physical touch can be a hug or just a touch on the shoulder, which relates to those who speak that love language. Giving a small gift is a token of kindness, love and friendship for others. For some people, words of affirmation are a treasure when spoken in the right moment. The two doctors I worked with came to my late husband’s wake, even though they never knew my husband. Just seeing them there meant everything to me, because I knew they were there for me. One other doctor who I worked with couldn’t make it to the wake, but he later showed up at my front door with a blueberry pie in his hands. He heard from someone that I liked blueberry pie, and it was his way of expressing his kindness by giving a token gift, and I will never forget it. Who knows what deeds of love we have already done for someone which will always be remembered with gratitude. Every day is another opportunity to speak someone’s love language and offer a deed of love that resonates with them and will stay in their heart forever.