Ever use the wrong key to unlock a door? No matter how you wiggle and jiggle it, rattle the knob, or turn the key over, it just won’t open. (I won’t tell you about that time I got caught climbing in the window of my house, because of trying to use the wrong key. He-he…) The new car keys with their automatic locks are even worse. It’s embarrassing to stand in the parking lot at Walmart pushing the unlock button on your key fob to no avail, only to realize you’re standing by the wrong car. Oops.
Hearts are the same way. Each heart has its own set of keys that unlock its capacity to receive love. Use the wrong key, nothing happens.
The book “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman outlines five different “languages” with which we communicate our love for others: words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, physical touch, and gifts. Depending on your upbringing and your personality, you’re probably more fluent in one love language than any of the others.
Maybe we should use a different analogy. Let’s think of the languages today as keys. Certain keys — a hug (physical touch), or a compliment (words of affirmation) — might make you feel loved and appreciated, while someone who wants to be in your presence for hours at a time (quality time) just makes you feel irritable, used, or manipulated.
Now put yourself in your husband’s position. I suppose I am assuming most of are women. But then. this blog is called Ministry Momma, afterall. Anyhow, back to your husband…or your spouse. Choose the word that works for you.
You love them. You want them to know it. So you yank out your favorite key…but they don’t respond at all like you thought they would. Instead of being delighted by the expensive gift you bought, they are upset about the frivolous waste of money. Instead of glowing over the fact you cleaned out the attic or did some other task for them, they mutter ‘thanks’ and go on about their day. Rejected, your little heart key clatters to the ground with a metallic clunk.
It’s relatively easy to identify our own keys. It’s a little more challenging to recognize someone else’s keys, and learning to use an unfamiliar key can feel awkward and strange, but God, who is love, is the skeleton key — the one that can unlock any lock.
If you’re struggling to demonstrate love to someone in a way he or she can receive, ask the Lord to show you which key to use to unlock his or her heart. The reward will be well worth the effort!