Love Languages and the Crucifixion
If you haven’t ever read Dr. Gary Chapman’s book, “The Five Love Languages,” you should. A bestseller (over 10 million copies!), the research Dr. Chapman conducted on the five love languages has radically changed relationships all over the world. In the book, Dr. Chapman explains that every person has a love language that they speak – one that best fills their love tank to the brim. The five main ways are: quality time, physical touch, acts of service, words of affirmation, and gift giving. When Joseph (now my husband) and I were just getting to know each other, we took the quiz and talked about our results on a date one night. His love language was quality time, and mine was physical touch. Throughout our dating relationship, and now our marriage, Joseph and I work regularly to speak each other’s love languages and continue to get to know each other.
But even greater than the love that Joseph and I share for each other by speaking each other’s love languages is the way that God loves us uniquely. If there is anyone who speaks all five love languages fluently, it’s God. Scripture is full of words of affirmation. He gave us His only son, the ultimate gift. He opens the gates to Heaven, an act of service, with Christ’s death on the cross. He reaches out to touch us physically through the Eucharist. He is always present in the host in an adoration chapel, waiting to love you through quality time.
God’s love is tailored to the human soul, and His love is radically specific to the desires of our heart. For God, whose very essence is love, it makes sense that the cross has the ability to include every human’s love language. Christ’s death on the cross is an all-encompassing love affair between God and His children. If you know your love language, check out how Christ’s love on the cross is specifically designed for your heart and love tank. Don’t know your love language? You can take a short quiz online for free to find out what your love language is.
Dr. Chapman describes this love language as a love of “being together, fully present, and engaging in the activity at hand, no matter how trivial.” If this is your love language, nothing says ‘I love you’ like full and undivided attention.
During the crucifixion, Christ gives us the ultimate gift of quality time. He would rather die on a cross than risk not spending eternity with you. Additionally, the Crucifixion opens up an incredible potential for quality time with Christ, since the crucifixion is not bound by the human concept of time. Christ died for every sin that was and would be, so his crucifixion exists out of time. This means that even today, Christ’s crucifixion is still present, and our interaction with Him and with sin have potential to add weight to the cross.
If you want to encounter Christ through the love language of quality time, try spending time with Him in Eucharistic adoration. He is always present in the consecrated hosts. Throughout life, you’ll yearn for interaction with your significant other, friends, and family members. But they’re not always accessible. Yet Christ is always there, waiting for quality time with you.
“A person whose primary love language is physical touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy,” Dr. Chapman writes in his book. “Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands and thoughtful touches can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial.”
Through the priest, Christ offers His body in the Mass daily throughout the world. Christopher West speaks about this when he talks about his wife’s father, who he never met. He tells the story “At Mass the day after his wedding, having just consummated his marriage the night before, he was in tears after receiving the Eucharist. When his new bride inquired, he said, ‘For the first time in my life, I understood the meaning of Christ’s words, ‘This is my body given for you.’” Christ gives us His very body – not holding any part of Himself back. His sacrificial love is a free, total, faithful and fruitful gift for His bride, the Church.
If your love language is physical touch, delve into the liturgy of the Mass. Catholicism is a religion of “smells and bells” as a priest friend of mine once said. Most importantly, receive Christ in the Eucharist while in the state of grace. By consuming Christ’s body and blood, He can be physically present with you.
Acts of Service
Dr. Chapman explained how to love those whose love language involves acts of service. He wrote, “Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on someone whose love language is acts of service will speak volumes. The words he or she most wants to hear: ‘Let me do that for you.'”
Christ hung on the cross for over three hours, His breath ragged, His body desperately yearning for relief. He hung on that cross for you – the ultimate act of service, especially in comparison to our human attempts at acts of selfless love. Christ’s death on the cross was not for your temporary good, nor was it for His own benefit. His death was the most selfless act of service that has ever existed. Christ was not tainted by the presence of sin, yet He took upon Himself the weight of your sins so that He could love you eternally.
If you’re looking to love Christ through acts of service, spend time volunteering. By spending time serving those here on earth, you’ll be loving Christ, too. In Matthew 25:40 He tells us just that, saying “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Words of Affirmation
“Actions don’t always speak louder than words,” Dr. Chapman writes. “If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words ‘I love you’ are important – hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirit skyward.”
Despite the incredible amount of pain that Christ experienced on the cross, He uttered words of affirmation for us. “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” “Behold your mother.” He loves the soul of the thief beside him, assuring him that he will be with God in paradise.
If you’re wanting to hear God speak words of affirmation to your soul, go to the sacrament of confession. The most beautiful words of affirmation that a human being can hear are those in the confessional: “God the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of Your Son, you have reconciled the world to yourself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins. Through the ministry of the Church, may God grant you pardon and peace. And I absolve you of your sins, in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
“Don’t mistake this love language for materialism,” Dr. Chapman explains. “The receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you.”
There are an incredible amount of gifts that Christ gives to you during His time on the cross. While He was dying, He looked down at the foot of the cross and saw John and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Christ gave us His mother, who became a channel through which we can grow closer to the heart of Christ. Matthew 27:50 also tells us that Christ also gave up His spirit. The Son of God, the Second person in the Blessed Trinity, gives the gift of His life so that you can live eternally with Him It’s a gift – it isn’t forced, mandatory, or non-returnable. The beauty of the gifts that Christ pours out on the cross lies in the fact that you have the choice to accept them. Will you?
If you want to give Christ a gift today, give Him your entire heart. Don’t hold back parts of your life that you want to control. Instead, commit to following His will in all aspects of your life.
Chloe Langr is a very short stay-at-home-wife, whose growth has probably been stunted by the inhumane amounts of coffee she regularly consumes. When she is not buried in a growing stack of books, she can be found spending time with her husband, geeking out over Theology of the Body, or podcasting. You can find more about her on her blog "Old Fashioned Girl."