January 25th, 2021

People and pets love it

By Submitted Article on June 27, 2020.

Faith, love, hope

Second of three parts

Jacob M. Van Zyl

Babies of mammals and birds receive much loving care until their independence. Species growing up without this care do not show it later in life.

Many species enjoy mutual grooming, especially primates. We can call it gentle touch. For the same reason, we enjoy hugging, kissing, stroking, spooning and so on until husband and wife become one.

Not all touching shows love. Groping is a sign of lust and may come from friend or stranger. Gentle touch is only welcomed where there is already a love relationship.

Showing love by repetitive touching only may become a nuisance. Using various love languages enriches relationships. Affirming words, quality time, respect, service and gifts are alternative ways to show love to someone.

Men are known for shying away from “I love you” toward wife and kids. Men usually defend themselves with the excuse, “You know I love you; why do I have to repeat it often.” They need it, that’s why, especially when they face problems.

Affirming words can be given in many ways: I like your hairstyle/dress; this meal was delicious; thanks for creating a home for our family; you are a good wife and mother; I like your perfume; it is good to be home with you; I look forward to coming home and being with you.

Sharing quality time can take many forms. Doing something together that both enjoy is OK, like eating out, cycling, walking, gardening, and watching favourite programs or family photos. However, the activity may distract attention from the loved one. So, we should also include quality time when we can focus on each other.

Working hard every day to earn income, tidying the house, preparing food, buying clothes, planning weekends and vacations, and keeping the family going and happy are forms of gifts and services rendered to loved ones.

The various love languages must be used with an underlying attitude of mutual respect. Couples, parents, children, friends and co-workers should not force unwelcome things on one another. The sting of unpleasant chores may be eased by taking turns to do it.

How do we fare when we apply these love languages to our relationship with God? We are often shy to say to him, “I love you, I thank you, I need you, I want to give or do something for you, I am sorry I failed you, and we receive this meal as a gift from you, our heavenly Father.”

Do we make quality time for being with our Father, Saviour and Comforter? Apart from our petitions, do we read, study and listen to his word? Are we interested in what he has to say? Are our gifts and services generous and from the heart?

Jacob Van Zyl of Lethbridge is a retired counsellor and the author of several faith-based books.

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