Every bride-to-be says the same thing about her wedding.
“I just want it to be simple and elegant.”
No bride ever says of her wedding, “I just hope the whole thing turns out complicated and kind of trashy.” Well, maybe one of the girls on Jersey Shore but you get my point.
Every man says the same thing about marriage.
“My love languages are physical touch and words of affirmation.”
The term love language was coined by Gary Chapman in his book The Five Love Languages. The basic point of the book is that people communicate love in different ways and in order for a marriage to work a couple has to know how best to express love, or in Chapman’s words, speak one another’s love language. Those five love languages are words of affirmation, physical touch, receiving gifts, quality time and acts of service.
Most men don’t need to bother with reading the book to figure out what their love language is. They can go without getting gifts, being served and quality time as long as their wives rub all over them while telling them how studly they are. And if the wife could somehow manage to at the same time throw in the sixth love language, chicken wings, the marriage will really take off.
While Chapman makes some good points, we must be on the alert. If we’re not careful we may find that our real love language is having our ego stroked. It’s very important for my wife to know what I like but I also have to remember that while I am a part of the marriage and my feelings do matter, there is more to marriage than having my needs met.
The ultimate goal of marriage is to serve as a demonstration of the gospel. The gospel reminds me that Christ loved me and died for me while I was still a sinner. To put it another way, Jesus showed his love for me even when I didn’t care anything about speaking his love language (Romans 5:6-11).
What if we became less concerned with whether or not our marriage partner was speaking our love language? What if instead, we made it our priority to speak the language of the cross and meet our significant other where they are with sacrificial, Christ-like love? Maybe then Christian marriages would begin to look less like the rest of the world and more like the perfect picture of love that Jesus gave us on Calvary where he died for his bride.