1 Corinthians 13

understanding

Love “does not insist on its own way” (1 Corinthians 13:5), and has an understanding of others. Gary Chapman, the author of The 5 Love Languages, poses the idea that there are 5 ways in which we show others love: acts of service, physical touch, quality time, words of affirmation, and gifts.

Acts of service are actions taken to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on another person, and the kindness of this gesture speaks volumes. I know during hectic weeks like midterm and final exam weeks, laundry can pile up and dirty dishes begin filling the sink. Who has time to do anything when every minute should be devoted to studying? Small things like grabbing him a (large) cup of coffee on the way to study together makes a world of difference.

I originally scoffed at physical touch, until I realized it wasn’t a sexual touch. Physical touch is a warm hug after a long day, a back massage when your muscles are full of knots, or holding hands while walking to classes. Having that physical contact is reassuring and creates a sense of security.

Quality time is as simple as being present with him. When he tells me a story, I place my phone back in my bag and give him my full attention. The technology is put aside, and the homework or chores are placed on hold for a moment. Quality time and quality conversations are essential in this form of love.

Words of affirmation Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important – hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten. Kind, encouraging, and positive words are truly life-giving.

Gifts are the visual representation of love. The receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort, not necessarily the gift itself. The gift shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you.

Before we decided to take the quiz together, we had each been loving each other the way we wanted to be loved. I learned that the way I show and receive love are through physical touch and words of affirmation. When I asked my boyfriend to take the test, he learned that the way he shows and receives love is through quality time and words of affirmation. While I respond well to a hug after a long day, he needs my undivided attention while he tells me about his day. Love is not insisting on its own way; we find compromises to show love to each other. I’ve learned to be more alert to his needs to quality time together, and he always wraps me into a warm hug when he sees me. I’m not insisting on my own way with this; how can I say that the way I love is more right than another way? I’ll show him love the way he receives it best, and he reciprocates that with me.

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