on love languages*…

I was talking with a friend of mine yesterday about some things and she brought up something i hadn’t thought about for a while. love languages. she was talking to me about a certain aspect of her relationship and how she enjoys it because it speaks to her primary love language.

which, of course, got me to thinking about mine.

and something someone once said to me. we were talking about me pretty much just how awesome i am, and even though i’d heard it all before from this particular person, i wanted to hear it again. it wouldn’t have bothered me to hear even the exact same words as before. to which they replied “that’s YOUR guilty pleasure. you’ll never get tired of hearing it.”

you’re right. i will never tire of hearing it. i will never tire of hearing the wonderful things people have to say about me. because THAT is my love language. words of affirmation. a good compliment will sustain me for days while a hurtful word will tear me to pieces for weeks. i was once in a relationship where i was constantly told how how amazing i would be once i was “healed” and not depressed anymore. where i was criticized for who i was because he didn’t think i should be that way. where i was accused of cheating so much that i finally cracked and did. where i was told that he wasn’t sure if i’d ever be good enough for him. words are incredibly powerful to me.

is it any surprise, then, how good i am with words? does it come as a surprise the mastery i have of the english language? that i can pound out a blog post in a few minutes, with no editing, no proofing and it’s almost epic? it is any wonder?

i once took the time to really figure out the love languages of those around me and tried my best to speak them as much as possible. it was amazing the impact it had on my relationships. even now, i almost unconsciously do it. i’m constantly trying to figure them out, trying to be aware of what people want and need to hear or see or touch or feel to be loved. it certainly takes the focus off myself and i find that when most people are feeling filled, they automatically tell me, which fuels right back into mine.

so you’re right, i’ll never tire of hearing. i’ll never get tired of compliments. but i’ll also never be as destroyed as i am by a careless, hurtful word.

how about you? what’s YOUR primary love language?

———————

*The Five Love Languages (Gary Chapman) http://www.fivelovelanguages.com/

Words of Affirmation
Mark Twain once said “I can live for two months on a good compliment.”  Verbal appreciation speaks powerfully to persons whose primary Love Language is “Words of Affirmation.”  Simple statements, such as, “You look great in that suit,” or “You must be the best baker in the world! I love your oatmeal cookies,” are sometimes all a person needs to hear to feel loved.

Aside from verbal compliments, another way to communicate through “Words of Affirmation” is to offer encouragement.  Here are some examples: reinforcing a difficult decision; calling attention to progress made on a current project; acknowledging a person’s unique perspective on an important topic. If a loved one listens for “Words of Affirmation,” offering encouragement will help him or her to overcome insecurities and develop greater confidence.

Quality Time
Quality time is more than mere proximity. It’s about focusing all your energy on your mate. A husband watching sports while talking to his wife is NOT quality time. Unless all of your attention is focused on your mate, even an intimate dinner for two can come and go without a minute of quality time being shared.

Quality conversation is very important in a healthy relationship. It involves sharing experiences, thoughts, feelings and desires in a friendly, uninterrupted context. A good mate will not only listen, but offer advice and respond to assure their mate they are truly listening. Many mates don’t expect you to solve their problems. They need a sympathetic listener.

An important aspect of quality conversation is self-revelation. In order for you to communicate with your mate, you must also be in tune with your inner emotions. It is only when you understand your emotions and inner feelings will you then be able to share quality conversation, and quality time with your mate.

Quality activities are a very important part of quality time. Many mates feel most loved when they spend physical time together, doing activities that they love to do. Spending time together will bring a couple closer, and, in the years to come, will fill up a memory bank that you can reminisce about in the future.
Whether it’s sitting on the couch and having a brief conversation or playing together in a tennis league, quality time is a love language that is shared by many. Setting aside focused time with your mate will ensure a happy relationship.

Receiving Gifts
Some mates respond well to visual symbols of love. If you speak this love language, you are more likely to treasure any gift as an expression of love and devotion. People who speak this love language often feel that a lack of gifts represents a lack of love from their mate. Luckily, this love language is one of the easiest to learn.

If you want to become an effective gift giver, many mates will have to learn to change their attitude about money. If you are naturally a spender, you will have no trouble buying gifts for your mate. However, a person who is used to investing and saving their money may have a tough time adjusting to the concept of spending money as an expression of love. These people must understand that you are investing the money not in gifts, but in deepening your relationship with your mate.

The gift of self is an important symbol of love. Sometimes all your mate desires is for someone to be there for them, going through the same trials and experiencing the same things. Your body can become a very powerful physical symbol of love.

These gifts need not to come every day, or even every week. They don’t even need to cost a lot of money. Free, frequent, expensive, or rare, if your mate relates to the language of receiving gifts, any visible sign of your love will leave them feeling happy and secure in your relationship.

Acts of Service
Sometimes simple chores around the house can be an undeniable expression of love. Even simple things like laundry and taking out the trash require some form of planning, time, effort, and energy. Just as Jesus demonstrated when he washed the feet of his disciples, doing humble chores can be a very powerful expression of love and devotion to your mate.

Very often, both pairs in a couple will speak to the Acts of Service Language. However, it is very important to understand what acts of service your mate most appreciates. Even though couples are helping each other around the house, couples will still fight because the are unknowingly communicating with each other in two different dialects. For example, a wife may spend her day washing the cars and walking the dog, but if her husband feels that laundry and dishes are a superior necessity, he may feel unloved, despite the fact that his wife did many other chores throughout the day. It is important to learn your mate’s dialect and work hard to understand what acts of service will show your love.

It is important to do these acts of service out of love and not obligation. A mate who does chores and helps out around the house out of guilt or fear will inevitably not be speaking a language of love, but a language of resentment. It’s important to perform these acts out of the kindness of your heart.

Demonstrating the acts of service can mean stepping out of the stereotypes. Acts of service require both mates to humble themselves into doing some chores and services that aren’t usually expected from their gender. However, these little sacrifices will mean the world to your mate, and will ensure a happy relationship.

Physical Touch
Many mates feel the most loved when they receive physical contact from their partner. For a mate who speaks this love language loudly, physical touch can make or break the relationship.

Sexual intercourse makes many mates feel secure and loved in a marriage. However, it is only one dialect of physical touch. Many parts of the body are extremely sensitive to stimulation. It is important to discover how your partner not only physically responds but also psychologically responds to these touches.

It is important to learn how your mate speaks the physical touch language. Some touches are irritating and uncomfortable for your mate. Take the time to learn the touches your mate likes. They can be big acts, such as back massages or lovemaking, or little acts such as touches on the cheek or a hand on the shoulder. It’s important to learn how your mate responds to touch. That is how you will make the most of this love language.

All marriages will experience crisis. In these cases, physical touch is very important. In a crisis situation, a hug can communicate an immense amount of love for that person. A person whose primary love language is physical touch would much rather have you hold them and be silent than offer any advice.

It is important to remember that this love language is different for everyone. What type of touch makes you feel secure is not necessarily what will make your partner happy. It is important to learn each other’s dialects. That way you can make the most of your hugging, kissing, and other physical contacts.

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it’s a Psalm 86 kinda day…

Psalm 86

A prayer of David.

1 Hear, O LORD, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.

2 Guard my life, for I am devoted to you.
You are my God; save your servant
who trusts in you.

3 Have mercy on me, O Lord,
for I call to you all day long.

4 Bring joy to your servant,
for to you, O Lord,
I lift up my soul.

5 You are forgiving and good, O Lord,
abounding in love to all who call to you.

6 Hear my prayer, O LORD;
listen to my cry for mercy.

7 In the day of my trouble I will call to you,
for you will answer me.

8 Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord;
no deeds can compare with yours.

9 All the nations you have made
will come and worship before you, O Lord;
they will bring glory to your name.

10 For you are great and do marvelous deeds;
you alone are God.

11 Teach me your way, O LORD,
and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.

12 I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart;
I will glorify your name forever.

13 For great is your love toward me;
you have delivered me from the depths of the grave.

14 The arrogant are attacking me, O God;
a band of ruthless men seeks my life—
men without regard for you.

15 But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.

16 Turn to me and have mercy on me;
grant your strength to your servant
and save the son of your maidservant.

17 Give me a sign of your goodness,
that my enemies may see it and be put to shame,
for you, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

ever had one of those days where you simply feel emotionally steamrolled? like the day before, everything is fine, nay, even grand. perfect. and then three glasses of wine with dinner later, you can feel all those emotions you’ve been trying to ignore working their way to the surface and then they explode up to the surface and you have no idea what just hit you. and you try to stuff them back down because you’re hanging out with your boyfriend whom you completely adore and you’re supposed to be having fun but these emotions, these feelings, these hurts are just crushing down on your body, weighing down your heart and mind and you just can’t quite stick your head above the surface to breathe.

and then he wants to talk about it. because he cares. because he loves you. because he can see that there’s something going on inside your head and he wants to know. because he wants to know every last thing about you. because he loves you. because he’s not scared of loving you. even though you’re still afraid. even though you still have nagging doubts. and he even wants you to share those. he wants you to talk with no filter, everything that’s going on inside your head. all the painful thoughts. all the strange emotions. all the crazy feelings. even though these thoughts, these emotions, these feelings are contradicting everything you’ve said earlier in the day.

do you ever feel like you’re two different people? like the person you were earlier in the day and the person you are now are two different people just sharing the same body? and you are aware that the other exists, but you have no idea how to relate to them. you can’t even fathom that they were feeling what they were feeling. you have no emotional connection with that other person. and you think about that and you say it out loud and you simply feel crazy. like, should be admitted crazy. and then you try to get away. because you can’t handle being this close to him as you’re saying terrible things and he won’t let you go. he won’t let you get up. he won’t let you run away from him. and he makes you look at him but you almost can’t. because you’re so ashamed of the way you feel. and when you finally do look at him, you see why you didn’t want to look in the first place. because you see that he’s hurt. but you also just see love. painfully unconditional love. and you wonder how he could love you like that because you can’t feel your own for him right now. you wonder if yours even exists. you wonder if you even feel the same way about him or if you’re just pretending. because, in that moment, you simply have no idea. you honestly can’t remember if you feel the same way. you can remember that you say that you love him but you can’t remember actually feeling it. you can’t remember the completely content feeling that you have when you’re around him. you can’t feel how much he calms you when he’s around. you can’t feel anything.

have you ever let your insecurities and hurts get the best of you? have you ever let someone rock you to your core? have you ever let someone completely break you? and watched them walk away while you lay on the floor, paralyzed in pain? have you ever tried to hide those in the deepest corner of your heart hoping that they’d never come out? have you ever looked into the eyes of the man who loves you, for everything you are, and admitted that? and watched the anger in his eyes? the anger that someone hurt the woman he loves like that.

have you ever admitted the darkest corners of your heart to him? the things that you don’t say to anyone else? the things that really WOULD get you admitted? the scary things. the things that maybe no one else knows exists still. your very own personal demons. have you ever had the fear that they’ll decide it’s too much? that they can’t handle being with you? have you ever hidden your dark side with so much intensity that even you forgot it was there for a while?

have you ever been more afraid that he’ll stay than that he’ll leave? that he’ll keep loving you just how you are and not how you might be in a few months? that he’s honestly telling the truth when he says those things? have you ever felt completely safe and completely terrified all the same time? have you ever needed someone to be strong for you because your strength finally ran out?

have you ever known that it’s just right? that everything that happened was meant to happen precisely how it happened?

do you believe that God created one person just for you? someone whose experiences makes them completely perfect for you and how you are? and someone for whom your experiences makes you completely perfect?

17 Give me a sign of your goodness,
that my enemies may see it and be put to shame,
for you, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

And who knows but that you have come for such a time as this?*

“Suddenly” (yeah, go check it out)

She feels lost in her own life
Treading water just to keep from slipping under
And she wonders if she’s where she’s supposed to be
Tired of trying to do it right
Her dreams are just too far away to see how steps she’s making might be taking her to who she’ll be

And suddenly it isn’t what it used to be
And after all this time it worked out just fine
And suddenly i am where i’m supposed to be
And after all the tears, i was supposed to be here

She feels locked in her own life
Scared of what she might lose
If she moves away from who she was
And she’s afraid of being free
There’s a way she knows is right
And she can’t feel the things she knows and so each step she’s taking
Is a step of faith towards who she’ll be

And suddenly it isn’t what it used to be
And after all this time it worked out just fine
And suddenly i am where i’m supposed to be
And after all the tears, i was supposed to be here

And here where the night is darkest black
She feels the fear
And the light is farthest back
And through her tears
She can see the dawn
Its coming skies will clear
And the light will find her where she’s always been

And suddenly it isn’t what it used to be
And after all this time it worked out just fine
And suddenly i am where i’m supposed to be
And after all the tears, i was supposed to be here

if you’ve been around my blog for a while, you’ll remember that i used this song in a different post. with a different idea though. a different train of thought.

for those of you who HAVEN’T read every post in my blog, let me catch you up just a little bit. i graduated in December with my WHOLE. LIFE. in order. i was in (what i thought, what i needed to believe was) an awesome relationship with a boy i loved with every last piece of my heart. i was waiting to get married to him. i was walking into a full-time job that would bide the waiting time. i was getting involved in my new church. a lot. i was reading through the old testament, which actually, is pretty interesting as long as you skip the law books (the first 5, yeah they’re pretty dry). life was great.

and then January came. and my relationship ended. and i didn’t get that job. or any other job. so i was heartbroken and unemployed. which spiraled me right back down into depression and self-medication. i bottled up all the rage and anger i felt at said boy until i couldn’t handle it anymore and i lashed out. at him. about him. i alternated between being numb and being in so much pain i couldn’t breathe.

it was pretty painful to watch, pretty painful to be a part of. those who HAVE been around will testify to those thoughts. those feelings. the difficulty of it all.

She feels lost in her own life
Treading water just to keep from slipping under
And she wonders if she’s where she’s supposed to be
Tired of trying to do it right
Her dreams are just too far away to see how steps she’s making might be taking her to who she’ll be

that’s where i was at that time. i couldn’t possibly see where life was going, how this was necessary that i go through this pain and anguish and suffering. what GOOD could POSSIBLY come from all of this. i had no idea. i didn’t want anyone to know that my relationship had ended. it was too painful for me to be able to talk about.

side note/nerd moment IF you’ve read twilight, which i have, you remember in whichever book it was (i think 3, the one that alternated between bella and jacob) and all bella could do was wrap her arms around herself to try to keep from breaking apart? remember that? yeah. that’s how i felt too. i hear ya, bella.

every day was a struggle to make it to the end of the day. but in February, i found a job. and it pretty much paid the bills and whatnot. it wasn’t the greatest job and my attitude, quite frankly, about the job wasn’t the greatest either. we had some rocky spots.

She feels locked in her own life
Scared of what she might lose
If she moves away from who she was
And she’s afraid of being free
There’s a way she knows is right
And she can’t feel the things she knows and so each step she’s taking
Is a step of faith towards who she’ll be

so then my life became like that. i clung desperately to things in my past. i clung to the idea that things would be resolved between ex and i. and slowly, i realized that i had nothing there. i shut out everyone else. i felt so alone. and finally, i reached out to God. because it was all i had. i had responsibilities with church and they saved me. slowly, very slowly, i surrendered myself. i got involved in a recovery group. and i worked through a lot of stuff. i surrendered thoughts. feelings. habits. and eventually my life. i took the broken little pieces of my life and handed them over to God. i didn’t see how any sense could be made of the mess that was my life. i only knew that if anyone could do it, it would be God.

and that has made all the difference.

there were some people that i had to forgive and whose forgiveness i had to ask. talk about terrifying. but i knew i needed to do it. i needed to let go of those fears, those feelings.

And suddenly it isn’t what it used to be
And after all this time it worked out just fine
And suddenly i am where i’m supposed to be
And after all the tears, i was supposed to be here

and now, as i look back, i see why all those things had to happen. i had to let go of my life. i was claiming to be a Christian, but not really living it. maybe on the outside, but not the inside. and i can see how God loves me too much to let me do that. and how each step i’ve taken has created who i am. the strength that’s in me. the compassion i have. everything about me is better now.

and after all the tears, i was supposed to be here.

i was supposed to be here, at this place, at this time. for greater purposes than i could have ever imagined. how could i have known in December that this massive heartbreak was preparing me for someone i would meet in august? how could i have known that the steps of faith i’ve taken since January were preparing me to help someone else find their way back to God? how could i have known that i would witness the greatest decision anyone could ever make in October? how could i have known that it would be the person that i loved with my whole heart? more than i ever thought possible. how could i have known that my temperament that was created through all this heartache and sorrow and pain would be precisely the temperament that he needed? how could i have known?

people have always told me that it’s the tiny things that make relationship. all the little decisions along the way that make you the perfect person for someone else. if i’d never met my friend R. and she hadn’t known how to say J’s last name. and if J and i hadn’t gotten to know each other through church and a Life Group. and if he didn’t play hockey. and if he hadn’t been so adamant about me meeting someone. and if i hadn’t gone to that party. and if his friend hadn’t asked for my number that night. and if i had run away when i was scared. and if i had let my past color my future so much that i couldn’t live it. if God hadn’t orchestrated everything perfectly, and if i hadn’t listened, i wouldn’t be where i am. i wouldn’t be the person i am. i wouldn’t be perfectly content in my life having no control over it. if i hadn’t let God take the driver’s seat. where would we be?

where would YOU be if God wasn’t guiding your life?

*“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14, NIV)