Since 1995, Gary Chapman’s theory of the five love languages has helped bring people together, inspiring attentiveness and clarity when it comes to expressing our feelings. According to Chapman, there are five main love languages and a person will feel the most loved when they are served according to their love language. The five love languages are:
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
In this five-part series, we will take a closer look at how each of these love languages can be used to minister to others in our sphere of influence. Consider this quote from Sydney S. Reynolds, former First Counselor in the Primary General Presidency:
“The Lord … knows who we are and where we are, and He knows who needs our help.”
To truly minister as Jesus Christ would, we need to know those we serve. This can only come through diligent seeking and investment. Our Heavenly Father knows how we need to be cared for, looked after, loved. Learning more about how to utilize someone’s love language can help us receive inspiration on how to minister.
How Do I Find Out Someone’s Love Language?
Before we dive in, here are a few tips on how to discern someone’s love language.
- Ask them! Love languages are popular and there is a good chance they’ve taken the test.
- Encourage them to take the test online.
- Observe how someone serves others. How they serve is most often how they would love to be served.
- Try different ways of serving based on the love languages and see what they respond to.
It is important to remember many love languages overlap; don’t become stressed about trying to force your ideas and inspiration into a certain set of guidelines or examples.
Here is what it means if quality time is your primary love language:
In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there – with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby – makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. Quality time also means sharing quality conversation and quality activities.
Now that we understand a bit more about what quality time can mean to others with this love language, we are going to break down how to use the gift of our time to minister to others.
Scriptural Examples of Quality Time
Jesus Christ always left the ninety and nine to give his time and attention to the one. He wept with Mary and Martha before raising Lazarus from the dead. When he tired and sought to be alone, he instead went to the crowd following after him and fed them through a miracle. He stopped along his way to heal and bless those who needed him.
Think of the counsel of the Lord to missionaries of the Restoration: “It is not needful for this whole company of mine elders to be moving swiftly upon the waters, whilst the inhabitants on either side are perishing in unbelief.”
A Few Rules About Quality Time
Here are a few rules to keep in mind about spending quality time with others.
- Quality is truly more important than quantity. When we think of time, we think of simply giving it. Making room in our schedules. This is important, but don’t overschedule yourself. Focus on improving your communication, listening, and focus.
- Be willing to sacrifice. You shouldn’t try to make someone feel you are a martyr by giving your time to them, but you should try to prioritize them. Choose to give your quality time to a person over something else you’d actually like to do.
- Remove distractions. Try to ensure you won’t have anything pulling you out of the moment. This is especially true of electronic devices.
Using Quality Time to Minister to Others
Time is one of the most precious resources our Heavenly Father has given us. To enhance your ministering efforts by spending quality time with others, try incorporating a few of these ideas.
Learn to ask inspired questions. Asking questions signals you are truly invested in the person you are with. Try not to think about what you’d like to say when they’re done talking and do your best to avoid interrupting.
Plan consistent time with those you minister. When you are finished with one activity or meeting, try planning another one. Setting up regular “appointments” will give you both something to look forward to. It will also help the person know you are prioritizing them in your life and wanting to spend time with them.
Remember the little moments. While blocking out time to spend together is key to this love language, taking time throughout your day to engage with someone is also important. Send a text. Sincerely ask how someone is when they arrive or wish them well as they depart. Use social media to let them know you are using time in your busy schedule to think about them.
Here are some practical ideas of how to spend meaningful time together with those you minister to:
- Attend a class or learn a new skill with someone centered on something THEY love.
- Go for a walk. In fact, do anything that gets you out into nature and away from the distractions of technology, a huge killer of quality time.
- When you have a free minute, call someone on the phone and ask if you can just talk.
- Invite them over to do something you were going to do anyway. Ask them to come over and keep you company while you do household chores, get work done, or cook.
Is your love language spending quality time with others? Let us know your ideas on how to minister. Check back next week for the next installment in this series.