Everyone seems to be talking about the 5 Love Languages these days, so I decided to investigate this new phenomenon. I searched for the online test, took it, and talked about it with my friends at Catholic Campus Ministry. What I learned is that "The 5 Love Languages" was a book written by Gary Chapman that was published in 1995. I found the well-organized website that explains the book and has other resources related to the topic of love languages. The overall claim is that understanding your love languages will help you improve your relationships with others and make those connections stronger.
It is important to understand how your friends, family, and boyfriend/girlfriend like to give and receive affection. I think this is a wonderful resource not as an "end all be all" test. How we care for others changes over time, and no love language is better than another. Please keep those two facts in mind.
This topic got me thinking about the Author of Love (God) and His gift to us (His Son, Jesus) and all the gifts that come from believing in Him. This topic got me thinking about how Jesus would feel about this test, and what his results would be if he took it.
Jesus embodies every single love language and it is amazing.
I am going to give a brief description of every love language, and then give some examples of how Jesus shows love in these ways. Please understand I could source the whole New Testament, but I had to pick a couple of examples for each topic. Feel free to find more examples for yourself.
Jesus and The 5 Love Languages
Words of Affirmation - this language uses words to affirm other people.
Jesus loves his Father, God, deeply. He teaches his followers how to pray to God by teaching them the "Our Father" prayer during the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:9-13). This whole prayer is full of words of affirmation for God, and it shows how Jesus likes to give this action to someone he loves deeply.
Jesus also liked to receive words of affirmation. When he asked his twelve disciples who people thought he (Jesus) was, Jesus blesses Peter's correct answer - that Jesus is truly the Son of the Living God.
"Jesus said to him in reply, 'Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father" (Matthew 16:17). (more on this later)
Acts of Service - for these people, actions speak louder than words.
Jesus was busy during his ministry on Earth. For three years, he never stopped serving others. It all started by helping the newlyweds in Cana have a wonderful party. You see, the newlywed couple had run out of wine, and Jesus' first miracle was turning the water into wine, per his mother's suggestion (John 2:1-12).
Jesus calls his followers to serve others too. Faith and works cannot be separated, or the faith is not complete and the works are dead without faith (James 2:14-26).
"For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead" (James 2:26)."
The good news is Jesus tells his followers how to serve others. He calls us to feed the hungry, help the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, visit the ill and those in prison, and more (in Matthew 25:31-46). It is pretty clear that when Jesus talks about giving corporal works of mercy, and the verses about spiritual works of mercy too, that Jesus doesn't consider us his followers if we do not help each other. (For information on spiritual works of mercy, click this link.
Receiving Gifts - for some people, what makes them feel most loved is to receive a gift.
Jesus gives so many gifts to his followers. The biggest one is the gift of the Holy Spirit, which helps give gifts of wisdom, fortitude, faith, and more to help us be more like Christ. Jesus also gives his first followers the ability to understand his parables, the teachings of the prophets, and to receive the sacraments.
Let's go back to the moment when Simon Peter saw Jesus for who Jesus was - the Son of God. Right after Jesus blessed his correct answer, Jesus gave Simon Peter a special gift. Jesus entrusted Simon Peter with taking care of the church Jesus founded.
Jesus entrusted Simon Peter with the church Jesus sacrificed his life for on the cross. This was a no haphazardly given gift. If Jesus paid his whole life for the church, giving it to Peter meant Jesus trusted Peter with what mattered most to Jesus.
"And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 16:18-19).
Quality Time - this language is all about giving the other person your undivided attention.
Jesus gave God his undivided attention in so many ways, but this one is my favorite. He rises early in the morning to talk to his Father, even after the long nights of service. Read Mark 1:32-39. Jesus also loved hanging out with anyone who would welcome him into their house for food. There are so many examples of this, it just warms my little heart. If Jesus were here right now, I would want him over for dinner, even if all I had was chicken flavored Ramen Noodles (cuz I'm a broke college student)... and Jesus would love that, I'm sure, just because I made it.
Physical Touch - to this person, nothing speaks more deeply than appropriate touch.
Jesus' touch restores life and spirit to others, and he gave his followers the ability to lay hands on the sick and do the same (with help from the Holy Spirit). Below are some wonderful examples:
~The hemorrhaging woman touches Jesus and is healed, and Jesus lays his hands on the little girl and raises her from the dead (Mark 5:21-43).
~Jesus cures someone from blindness and deafness by applying clay (by spitting on the dirt) into the person's eyes and ears (John 9:1-12).
~Jesus blesses the children (children weren't looked to very kindly in that region and time period, so embracing and blessing the children was a radical thing to do). Read Mark 10:13-16.
In general, Jesus not only embodies the love languages in fullness, but tells us to love fully too. Jesus commands the following:
"You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments" (Matthew 22:34-40).
Listen to Jesus. Follow his example. Love God first (because He is the Author of True Love), and then love yourself so you can love others.
Read the following article for more reasons to love yourself first.