True Love Liberates

“Love is not our only emotional need. Psychologists have observed that among our basic needs are the need for security, self-worth, and significance. … 

“My sense of self-worth is fed by the fact that my spouse loves me. … We reason, If someone loves me, I must have significance. …

“I am significant. Life has meaning. There is a higher purpose. I want to believe it, but I may not feel significant until someone expresses love to me. When my spouse lovingly invests time, energy, and effort in me, I believe that I am significant. Without love, I may spend a lifetime in search of significance, self-worth, and security.

“When I experience love, it influences all of those needs positively. I am now freed to develop my potential. I am more secure in my self-worth and can now turn my efforts outward instead of being obsessed with my own needs. True love always liberates. …

“Love is not the answer to everything, but it creates a climate of security in which we can seek answers to those things that bother us.” —Dr. Gary Chapman

The 5 Love Languages For Him/Her (YouVersion review)

Couples that can learn together can definitely grow together! 

A feature I thoroughly enjoy on YouVersion is shared reading plans. When a plan is shared, no one else sees what plan you are reading, and the comments you write at the end of each day’s readings are only visible to the other people in your group. My wife and I have taken advantage of this to use YouVersion reading plans as a springboard to discuss ways to make our relationship even stronger. 

If you have ever heard anyone talk about his/her “love language,” they are more than likely talking about Dr. Gary Chapman’s outstanding series of books on our five basic love languages—words of affirmation, quality time, gift giving, acts of service, and physical touch. When we can discover and speak someone’s love language to them consistently, it fills that person’s “love tank” and strengthens the relationship. 

YouVersion offers two 5-day reading plans that leverage Dr. Chapman’s insights on our love languages, and support his insights with passages from the Bible. These plans are The 5 Love Languages For Him and The 5 Love Languages For Her. 

I would highly recommend married couples to read these plans together. It’s not necessary for you to have read The 5 Love Languages book in order to glean some very helpful insights that you can immediately apply to your marriage. These reading plans will help you and your spouse to be able to dialogue about both what’s struggling and needs to be fixed, and what’s going right and needs to be amplified. 

Your marriage will benefit from this 10-minute investment you make for just a couple of weeks. 

10 Marriage Tips For Guys

Guys, here’s how to add heat to your marriage (regardless of its current temperature)—

  1. Let the Holy Spirit continue to develop His fruit in you—this is the only way to become a truly exceptional lover.
  2. Pray for your wife, and pray with your wife.
  3. Say “I love you” every day. 
  4. Learn her love language and speak it regularly. 
  5. Hold her hand. 
  6. Compliment her privately—not just for how she looks or what she does, but for who she is. 
  7. Praise her publicly in front of her friends, family, and coworkers.
  8. Find ways to assure her that she is your #1 priority. Every single day.
  9. Take her out on a date that you have planned. 
  10. Repeat steps 1-9.

“The most joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, trustworthy lovers are Spirit-empowered lovers.” —Craig T. Owens

Got any other ideas? Share them in the comments below so we can all benefit from them.

3 Quotes For Uncommen Husbands

Uncommen HusbandsI recently finished a reading plan on YouVersion called Uncommen Husbands. Here are some quotes that I especially appreciated from Brian Goins’ insights.

“Paul indicates there a came a time in his life when he grew out of an immature, boyish love and embraced a more mature, and dare we say, manly love [1 Corinthians 13:11]. If we’re going to love our wives like Christ loved the church, we must let the boy die. And in marriage, that’s far easier said than done. Check out the comparisons below:

  • Boys retaliate quickly when hurt; manly love is patient and kind.
  • Boys require constant affirmation; manly love is not arrogant or rude.
  • Boys stew, stammer, and hold grudges when they don’t get their way; manly love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful.
  • Boys try to win every argument; manly love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
  • Boys have a short fuse; manly love bears all things.
  • Boys write people off when wronged; manly love believes God’s best for the relationship.
  • Boys lose hope after they’re hurt; manly love always hopes for reconciliation regardless of the pain.
  • Boys expect to be served; manly love endures all things.”

“Paul says, ‘cherish’ our bride like we cherish our own bodies. The word means, ‘bring warmth to,’ and from which we derive our words, thermal and thermostat. … When Paul tells us to love our wives as we love our own bodies, he’s encouraging us to cherish their emotional needs in the same way we cherish our own physical needs. If she’s chilly, it’s our job to warm her up. If she’s steaming, then we help lower the mercury. In other words, the call to cherish means we have to engage when we’d rather shrink back.”

“I’m not sure Paul was the most popular men’s retreat speaker. When he spoke, some fell asleep…and then fell out a window (Acts 20:9). He admitted to the church at Corinth his messages were a bit convoluted (1 Corinthians 2:3-5). Even his buddy Peter threw him under the bus for his ivory tower verbiage (2 Peter 3:15-16).

“Then there was his unfortunate use of the word nourish in Ephesians 5:28. I’m pretty sure every guy in the audience cringed a bit when Paul said to husbands, ‘nourish’ your wife. We may think of nutritious foods, but in Paul’s day, the word often referred to nursing moms. Try and get that picture out of your head.

“When my wife used her God-given equipment to nourish our children I don’t ever remember a time when I asked her, ‘Honey, when was the last time you fed the baby?’ and she responded, ‘Oh, I don’t know, it’s been a few days.’ Because instinctively a mom knows her baby’s nourishment has to be consistent, catered to their tastes, and is crucial for their survival. In the same way, Paul calls husbands to nourish their brides. Is your love consistent? I don’t know about you, but I rarely miss a meal. Unless I’m fasting (for a very short time!), about every 4-5 hours I feed the beast. It’s all too common for our wives to go months between meals: a date night, taking a walk, go on an adventure, a simple text saying, ‘are you tired? You should be because you’ve been running through my mind all day long,’ or a well thought out letter. Nourishment must be ongoing. Is your love catered to her tastes? You’re not going to catch me at the all-you-can-eat tofu bar. Unless I’m on the mission field, I generally nourish my body with stuff I like. It’s common to give love the way we want to receive love. But your love language probably doesn’t match hers. Want to know if you are catering to her ‘love’ taste buds, ask this UNCOMMEN question: ‘Honey, do you feel the depth of my love? Not do you know it, but do you feel it? If not, how can I nourish your soul?’ Do you realize your love is crucial to her survival?”

Links & Quotes

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“Because Jesus died in our place, He guaranteed that every good deed prospers in the end. ‘Blessed are you when others revile you. . . . Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven’ (Matthew 5:11-12). Reviled here. Rewarded there.” —John Piper

“‘For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river’ (Jeremiah 17:8). An amazing Hebrew word is used here for ‘planted’—it actually means ‘transplanted.’ Faith uproots the dry, fruitless desert-shrub that is scorched, lonely and ugly and transplants it by the living stream of the waters flowing from Lebanon.” —David Wilkerson

“So long as you are content with the world, and with the prince who governs it, you will go on, on, on, to your own destruction. satan does with men as the sirens are fabled to have done with mariners.” —Charles Spurgeon

Pornographers are so deceived and deceptive. Check out the most common word found in comments on porn websites.

Dave Barringer has some good counsel for couples about “brownie points.”

Daughter of a homosexual parent writes a letter promoting traditional marriage.

Seth Godin has some fabulous insight about getting and giving constructive feedback.

Links & Quotes

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These are links to articles and quotes I found interesting today.

Some thoughts on creativity: 8 Creativity Lessons From A Pixar Animator

Tim Elmore on how to connect with others: Who Do You Connect With When You Teach?

“Thy poor prayer would have no force with Omnipotence if force were needed; but His love, like a spring, rises of itself and overflows for the supply of all thy needs.” —Charles Spurgeon

[VIDEO] Comedy from Ken Davis: Why I Don’t Have A Cat

Insight from Mark Driscoll: 5 Things To Look For In A Good Bible Teacher

“Don’t pray for sermons, let sermons come from your prayers. So, as long as I’m meeting with God, I will always have something to say.” —Chilly Chilton

Michael Hyatt’s excellent advice to leaders: 5 Reasons You Should Smile More As A Leader

Encouragement from Max Lucado: A Passion For The Forgotten

John Stonestreet on the dangers of pornography: The Root Of Sexual Exploitation

Only a little time left to download a free song from U2 and help end AIDS: Fight AIDS With (Red)

“The fundamental issue for any of us is to feel loved. If we feel loved by the significant people in our lives, we are more likely to reach out potential for God and good in the world.” —Dr. Gary Chapman

An interesting study on missionaries and societal success: The Truth About Missionaries

Don’t Stop Now

Today is Valentine’s Day – a day set aside for us to express our love to our sweethearts. Sadly, for many people, other than their birthday this may be the only day that someone is focused on them. lonely-valentine

My encouragement to you… don’t stop today. Don’t let today be the only day those close to you see and hear and experience your love for them.

Don’t let your spouse wonder.
Don’t let your kids guess.
Don’t let your friends hope.

Don’t stop “studying” your loved ones. Learn what love language they speak, and then don’t stop speaking it. (If you haven’t read it already, I highly recommend Dr. Gary Chapman’s great book The Five Love Languages.)

Flowers, candy, cards, and romantic dinners today are a start. Don’t stop now. Keep it going all year long.

5 Love Languages, 7 Days, 1 Couple

Nothing in life stays the same. Nothing. Things are either getting better or deteriorating.

According to the law of entropy, a system will constantly move from order to disorder… unless sufficient energy is used to keep the system in order. More simply put: you and I can’t coast.

  • If you’re married, put energy into finding new ways to cherish your spouse.
  • If you’re a parent, put energy into better parenting skills.
  • If you’re a friend, put energy into deepening that friendship.
  • If you’re an employee, put energy into doing your job better.
  • If you’re a leader, put energy into leading better.

I love this article 5 Love Languages, 7 Days, 1 Couple in WebMD (you can read it here) about a couple skeptical of how Gary Chapman’s book on love languages could improve their marriage. But they decided to try it for one week. They put in the energy, and got something better out. (You can also read my thoughts about Dr. Chapman’s book here.)

Are you willing to invest a week of energy into your marriage, family, job, or friendships? If you will keep applying energy, you will keep improving. And that’s a lot better than deteriorating!

Love Notes

If you have heard about Dr. Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages, then the love language of “words of affirmation” will be familiar to you. This is the primary way that some people both express their love, and want to receive their love. My youngest son definitely has this as one of his primary love languages.

He is at the age now where he has started writing more notes. They are intended as love notes, but they are actually powerful epistles. Short messages with weighty impact —

  • On my homemade Father’s Day card he wrote, “Best Dad in the world. Don’t stop loving.”
  • On my oldest son’s birthday card he challenged him, “Thanks for being my brother, and always remember Christ.”
  • On top of my Christmas present was this encouragement, “I love you Dad. Don’t stop preaching the Word.”

Simple. Profound. Encouraging. I’m challenged to be a better Dad and a better pastor today because of these heartfelt, Holy Spirit-inspired notes.

Full Tank

The other day a friend of mine wrote on Facebook that he was shopping with his daughter. He half-jokingly added, “I think that is her love language!” I say half-jokingly because I think the time with Daddy was speaking volumes to his daughter.

Spending time shopping with Dad was filling her love tank!

Have you ever felt like one of your relationships was in a rut? Or maybe even in a rut with ends in it (also known as a grave!)? Do you ever feel like the other person just doesn’t get you? Have you ever been frustrated that the other person doesn’t understand all that you are doing for him/her?

My guess is that you are speaking different love languages.

Dr. Gary Chapman wrote an amazing book The Five Love Languages. In his book he lays out five “languages” that we use to communicate our love to one another —

  • Words of affirmation
  • Quality time
  • Gifts
  • Acts of service
  • Physical touch

When you and I communicate, we naturally communicate in a way that is most comfortable to us. We communicate in our primary love language. But if the other person in the relationship has a different love language, no matter how much you love them, you are simply not getting through effectively. You are leaving the other person with a near-empty love tank.

I would suggest you start by taking a brief love language assessment to determine YOUR OWN love language first. This is the language you will feel most comfortable using. Second, you need to learn the love languages of OTHERS CLOSE TO YOU so you can change your love dialect.

In the great love chapter the Apostle Paul says this, “When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things” (v. 11, New Living Translation). Our love — and the way we express it to others — should always be growing up. If you are trying to communicate your love to someone special in the same ways (the same “languages”) you’ve always used, there’s a good chance your love is being viewed as childish.

As you mature in your expressions of love — as you speak the other person’s love language — you will begin to fill their love tank. Guess what happens next? Out of a full love tank, the other person is motivated to begin to speak your love language… to fill your tank. It can become so much fun to love with a full tank! Because when the other person’s love tank is full, almost any love language will work for them… wow, what a blast!

By the way, my love language is quality time; Betsy’s is words of affirmation. Our three children are all different: gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. After you take the assessment, please feel free to comment on what your primary love language is, and whether you knew that already or that result was surprising to you.

Love on!

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