Thursday, February 01, 2018

Love’s Powerful Languages by Eleanor Shepherd

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                    I am convinced that love is the greatest force in the world. It transforms our lives, when we wield it effectively. 
With February comes Valentine’s day, when we express our love to those we cherish.

                  The love I refer to is much more than the warm fuzzy Hallmark feeling we sometimes conjure up when we speak of love.  It is also greater than the physical expression we call love. This brings pleasure and satisfaction, but is only a part of the larger relationship encompassed in the word love. 

                  In our limited understanding of love, we often mistake a part for the whole. Perhaps the sandbox is an appropriate metaphor for this.  My granddaughters love playing in the large sandbox in their front yard.  If, however for them the sandbox was on a par with an expansive sandy beach, we would assume they had never had the opportunity to visit the seaside and experience a real beach. 

When we think that some aspect of love, like the warm fuzzies or the physical expression of love is the whole picture we narrow our understanding to sandbox thinking. It may be that we feel we have never known what it is to experience the beautiful intimacy of a love relationship where soul is linked with soul in total self-giving and mutual reception of acceptance. We know the part is not the whole, yet we hold on to an ideal of a love of this kind and through various means we discover some aspects of it.

                  One of these is learning to speak the love language of someone we love. This concept has been developed by Gary Chapman, who has a passion for people and for helping them form lasting relationships.

                  You may well be familiar with the five different love languages Chapman has identified.  In using the language that best communicates love to the person we love, the level of intimacy increases because we are filling what Chapman calls their love tank. With a low or empty love tank, it is difficult to nurture a relationship.
Not only is the knowledge and use of our partner’s love language useful in our intimate relationships, the principles apply in many other situations as well. When we want to have healthy relationships with other people, we will be most successful in developing these by learning the ways to communicate positive regard to them in the language they understand. From this kind of relationship possibilities comes my conviction that love is the greatest power in the world.  

                  Do I have evidence that the love language makes a difference in relationships?  I do. I discovered that the love language that most fills my love tank is words of affirmation. That is why I have kept every card and letter that my husband has ever given or sent me from the beginning of our relationship. His words of affirmation fill my love tank and open my heart to him.

                  By the same token, I have come to understand why he has constantly been doing things to try and make my life easier from the beginning of our relationship.  He is not trying to score Brownie points. He is showing me his love language – gifts of service.  Now, I realize that he knows that I love him, when I offer my gifts of service to him.

                  Putting into practice what we are learning about the love language of each other is drawing us closer to one another, because we are expressing our love in a way that clearly communicates love to each other. What a gift this is! Not only is it impacting our lives, it is also created a spill over of love from our filled love tanks into the lives of those around us.  We can see in this the power of love to transform our world. I recommend learning the love language of your Valentine this year.

Word Guild Award
Word Guild Award


Peter Black said...

Well, Eleanor, it sounds like you Shepherds are quite the love-birds (smile), and now we know why: you 'speak' the same 'love language'! True. And seriously, thank you for sharing these valuable insights from Gary Chapman's wisdom and from your experience. ~~+~~

Ed Hird+ said...

Well done, Eleanor. Gary Chapman's book is such an inspiration.



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