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Published on November 7th, 2013 | by Nathaniel

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Love Languages: Men Don’t Have Them… Do We?

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If you’re guy and you’re reading this… the words, alone, make you kinda sorta cringe, don’t they? They sound like some kind of hokey-pokey, unnecessary touchy-feely, invented by a $300/hour-charging licensed clinical psychologist, right? How men of faith and your average Carl’s Jr. Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger bloke perceive the phrase “love language” might differ, but (if you’re a dude) honestly- when was the last time you lovingly tapped your best guy friend’s shoulder, while spending quality time together, helping him do his laundry and said, “I love you…,” not “I love you man”? And yes, there is a difference. 

It’s just not socially acceptable for men to be loving, unless it’s in a Braveheart, “I’m going to avenge the death of my one true love,” type of way. I think we’d rather just rather pretend to be some spineless life-form of a droid, roaming the earth, watching football, eating Chipotle, and scratching places that shouldn’t be publically mentioned.

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My theory? I think as little tykes, we have this overtly public need to give and receive love. It’s cute when Little Johnny nestles next to his mommy’s shoulder… but when Big Johnny does it… I think there’s a process of social conditioning that takes place after a guy reaches a certain age; it no longer becomes acceptable to express love unless it’s “lovingly” demolishing an entire civilian city with Megatron. And this all functions to make us believe that we as men don’t have that same “expressive-love-gene” that our female counterparts do.

For a while, I believed the same thing. But when I dug a little deeper and learned about love languages, I realized that when it comes to communicating love, I just communicate in a different dialect. Just because it’s not an overtly sappy romance novel doesn’t mean it’s not there. I had to do a process of elimination to really uncover how I give and receive love… I’m not too sure where or when I’m going to meet my future wife… but she should probably read this:

Physical Touch… I picture all of my 6 ft. 2, 190lb frame being coddled like some kind of snuggle bear. No offense to the guys who communicate love with physical touch but I barely like the breeze of the wind- let alone someone love-bugging up my back.

Quality-Time… I’m kind of notorious for multi-tasking. My type- A- personality sometimes makes me susceptible to the need to get things done so quality-time isn’t always on the top of my mind. And my apologies to those who love me because many a time during our conversations I’ve purposely pulled out my phone because the intensity of our eye contact nauseates my brain waves. Or I expend my efforts thinking how I can end or get out of an actual phone conversation… I’m a BIG texter. I think I’ve come to value relationships and spending time together as I’ve experienced different seasons in my life. But this is one I’m definitely still working on.

Words of Affirmation… I thought I was a words of affirmation kind of guy until I met a real word-affirmer and encountered some turbulence reciprocating their feel-goodness. Despite considering myself a wordsmith and having a deep desire to encourage, I find that I have to really enter a conscious realm to use my words to encourage in conversation- I can do it and find joy in it but it definitely takes some effort.

Acts of Service & Gifts… These two forms of communicating love say it without actually saying it. And through relationships and experiences, I’ve realized I would rather not say “love-words,” but show them. I had to reflect back on my childhood to really uncover this. Without putting much thought into it, I would lay out my mom’s clothes to change into after she got home from work. I would help my mom or dad cook, just because. And as soon as I was old enough to buy Christmas gifts, I made sure every single person in my family had one either before or on Christmas. And I never really forget family members’ birthdays because I see them as an opportunity to gift.

Fellas, don’t let anyone tell you that don’t communicate love. Maybe it just takes a different form. What’s your love language?

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