Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Love languages

I am a reader and read as often as I can, which in some seasons of life doesn't amount to as much as I would like.

When we moved to Mechanicsburg 8 years ago, I was quickly made aware that there was one book that had escaped my eyes. In fact, to this day, I think I may be the only McBICer who has not yet read the book that has made us the people we are today.

I believe it was first mentioned in one of our inquisition sessions. The Good Doctor still insists they're called interviews, but I think it's quite obvious that any time a job candidate and spouse are set before various groups of people and interrogated, it's something more than an interview. Anyway, I'm quite certain at least one question came up regarding the 2nd most-quoted book of McBIC; The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Somehow, we passed the test anyway and the Good Doctor was allowed to be on staff.

On our first day, I was eager to meet new people (well, not really, but that's what a good pastor's wife should say). The first person to greet me, let's call him John Doe, came up with a firm handshake. "Hello, nice to meet you. I'm John Doe. What is your top love language?"

"Hi. Nice to meet you, too... Wait, my love language? Well, I speak English primarily. I did study German in high school with the intent of discussing deep topics in Pennsylvania Dutch with my Lancaster County relatives, but that didn't really work out for me. Oh, and I can interpret for the deaf. Look, if you hold your hand like this it means 'I love you' all in one sign. Pretty cool, huh?"

Apparently that wasn't what he had in mind.

A little slow to catch on, I still didn't realize the power of this book until I attended my first Fellowship Group class. The topic of the day was Revelation but it was being discussed in relation to the 5 love languages found in Gary Chapman's book. Again, I was very much out of the loop.

I can now safely say, that eight years later, I have finally caught on. After many series of sermons studying everything from Adam to Balaam's donkey, from Psalms to the early church, and relating each topic to (you guessed it), those preeminent languages, I was finally catching on. In the end, I didn't even need to read the book; it had been summarized and discussed in so many contexts that I can practically quote it verbatim. (Please don't tell the membership committee that I never read the book as it might jeopardize the Good Doctor's good standing to find his wife summarily excommunicated for bending the truth to the elite.)

Somehow, without even opening the book I've been able to become a student of the love languages. Very simply, here's how it works: Each person expresses love to others (and prefers that love to be reciprocated) in one of five ways, quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, or physical touch. Understanding how you love and accept love can help you out of many a quandary with a spouse, a child, a church member, or even an enemy. And by understanding all of this, you can get yourself out of some tight situations.

Take last night for example. On the way home from a King's Strings concert, I was telling the Good Doctor about a situation that had occurred earlier in the day. Shoun, HopeAnne and I were ushering at a local theatre. After ushering a couple to their seats (and thinking to myself that they looked awfully familiar), the couple returned to the lobby to ask if I was a part of The King's Strings. I then was able to connect their faces to the concert where they were in attendance.

My husband then wanted to know if they had said anything else.

"Anything else? Of course not. They just -----" But then it hit me. He wasn't just asking this question to find out what they had said. He was obviously fishing for one of those love language responses. So, I took a moment to think it through. The Good Doctor's primary love language is physical touch which, it would then follow, is last on my list. I quickly threw out a possible response in this love language because 1. The Good Doctor was driving 2. The kids were in the back seat, and the other back seat, and the other back seat, and.... and 3. I just think that's grotesque. Second on his list of primary love languages is words of affirmation. Aha! That one I can do. So I reformulated my thoughts.

"Anything else? Yes, actually there was more; I'm so glad you reminded me. Yes, she said that she could tell that my husband was an awesome man. His gentleness as a father and his commitment as a husband exuded from his personhood as we shared that day. She said that she couldn't imagine that there could be a greater husband or father in all of Mechanicsburg."

Of course he then wanted to know if they had said anything else. Always trying to score more points, I continued.

"Yes, she said that she was amazed by your musical abilities. She could tell that even though you didn't major in music, you must have been a child prodigy. She could tell that of all the musicians in our family, you are most definitely the most talented."

Catching on, he wanted to know if she had said anything else. Why not?

"Yes, indeed. She went on to say how handsome she thought you are. She wondered if you work out on a regular basis because she was pretty certain it was the definition of muscles that she could see under your concert shirt."

Anything else she might have said?

"Yes, she suggested that it would be in my best interests to always mention you in my bio and resume because your popularity would definitely help my cause. Whatever my cause may be."

Anything else?

"I'm sorry, Dear. She had so much more to say but it was time for the show to start and I really could not hold the show any longer for her to sing your praises. But she did give me her number and she said you could call her at any time - day or night...
Could someone please tell me why you are all laughing?"

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