I’m not what you would call a “lovey-duvy” person. While I do have affections and emotions, I am not one to express them in an overt way. I will express how I feel in environments and to people I feel safe with in ways I feel comfortable. Over the years I’ve learned to accept the embrace of others, though most of the time I would prefer to remain untouched.
I’m stingy with my physical contact, my emotional sharing, and my words of affection, particularly the words “I love you”. In Christian culture specifically, my resistance to uttering those words is seen as something negative. I know people who throw around these words will-nilly, which always makes me wonder about their sincerity. But I have to remember that people express themselves differently and that’s okay.
What’s your love language?
If you don’t know yours, I encourage you to take the test here.
There are 5 love languages and we all have these to a certain degree. Some people are very strong in one area and very weak in another, while others are more balanced.
In case you haven’t yet surmised, my top language is not words of affirmation. In fact, that is by far my lowest. I hate people touching me and still, words of affirmation is lower on the list. My list goes like this:
Acts of Service
Words of Affirmation
What are yours?
It took me many years to realize and accept that I had love languages. I would joke with friends that my heart was indeed an icebox and love was not capable of living there. Or someone would randomly bring up love languages (you know you’re working in a church when that happens) and I would say something like “well, I’m mute” or “I’m language-less” because I legitimately thought that I was.
For years I believed that love was a romantic emotion associated with grand gestures and sweeping declarations, all of which I find particularly distasteful. I’m so thankful that’s not what love is. Love is quieter than that, it’s simpler than that, which means that anyone can do it. Love isn’t a fairytale that Hollywood made up to entice us into buying chocolate and flowers. Love is a decision. Love is sacrifice. Love is giving. Love is a King being born in an inauspicious stable. Love is having compassion for someone who’s hurting. Love is giving someone food to eat or water to drink. Love is laying your life down for someone else.
Whether you’re lovey-duvey or not, whether you love rom-com’s or hate them, whether you feel loved or not, let me tell you this: you are loved. There is a God who loves you and a community that loves you.
If you are a Christian, I encourage you to learn your love language and the love language of others and love them well. Love them indiscriminately. Love them when they’re unloveable. Love them when you don’t want to. Love them well because God loves them. There’s a reason why so many songs and books and movies and plays are written about love; when true love, the God kind of love, enters the scene, lives begin to dramatically change.