If I were to ask how you express love to others, is there something that comes to mind right away? We hear a lot of talk about love languages. Supposedly, that’s how we express our love to others in meaningful ways. And how we want others to express love to us. I haven’t read love language books, but here’s what I know: 1) we often express love without words; 2) experiences in the past can affect how we express and receive love now.
Expressing love to others can be hard. And sometimes it’s even harder to receive love.
So here’s a pop quiz (don’t worry it won’t be graded). How would you answer these questions:
1. How have you expressed love to others in the past?
2. How do you express it now?
3. How do you want others to express love to you?
For me, it depends on who the “other” is.
For family and friends, my way of showing love in the past was buying gifts. I sought unique and expensive gifts, sometimes spending so much on gifts when travelling that I didn’t have money left to buy souvenirs for myself. This wasn’t a great way of showing love. Rarely did others appreciate how much time or money I spent, so I was often disappointed. Now, I try to say “I love you” more often. And even though I used to dread the huggy types, I’m a hugger. Sometimes it’s hard, though, to feel connected when we’re separated by thousands of miles.
Expressing love to a boyfriend/husband is different. In the past, I desperately desired to be loved (stemming from feeling abandoned at age 13 when my father died). I tried to show love every way possible. I’d say it. I was very affectionate and overly intimate. I did special things like notes, trips and other surprises. I lavished them with gifts. I went overboard to show how much I wanted them. When I think about all the money and tears I’ve wasted through the years on boyfriends, it’s sickening. What an amazing difference it is now to have a love relationship based on just that: love.
The moral of the story: You can’t buy love, for any price.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that no one on this earth can fully satisfy our deep desire to be loved. Not family. Not friends. Not a boyfriend or husband. There’s no prince charming who’ll “complete” us or whisk us away to “happily ever after”.
He doesn’t exist.
Does that mean that hope of true love doesn’t exist? No. True love is still alive and well in the world. But we have to check our perspective. It’s important to understand how we show our love and make sure it’s in a way that our special “others” can receive. We also need to understand how we best receive love and communicate this to the special people in our life.
Love is dependent on love. We first have to be willing to give our love before we can truly receive theirs.
And more than anything, we need to understand that no one is responsible for our happiness or filling our empty places. The truth is that all of us are made whole by God alone. He completes us. Regardless of our circumstances, true joy in life and “ever after” in eternity come only through an intimate love relationship with Jesus Christ.
If love is missing in your life, turn to God and ask Him to fill your emptiness and longing. He will know how. He will satisfy your desire for love if you’re willing to open up to Him.
God is love. May this be the love we give and receive.
“Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” Psalm 90:14
May I pray?
Father God, so many of us have been disappointed in the past when we tried to show our love and it wasn’t received by the other person. Many of us have been wounded in relationships. We’ve spent years desiring and pursuing true love and intimacy, hoping someone would cherish us for who we are. Lord, thank You that You love us for who we are. Thank You that You have a fullness of love ready to pour into us, if only we’ll accept it. Please help us to feel Your love today. Wrap Your arms around us. Allow us to understand what it means to be made whole in You. Encourage us to pursue You, that we may know Your love in a way we never thought possible. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Q4U: What is one of the most meaningful ways that someone special can show their love to you?