The only love language

There is only one love language.

You heard me right.  Despite all of the books, articles, experts, etc. out there promoting some other number (usually five), there has been, is now, and will always be only one love language.

I know this is a rather bold claim.  To be perfectly honest, I have read all of "The 5 Love Languages" [amazon 080241270X inline] and do agree with many of the principles and ideas it contains.  However, I still maintain that, when all is said and done, there is only one love language:

Charity, "the pure love of Christ" (Moroni 7:47)

All of the other love languages that are out there are only partial representations of charity.  They serve their purpose by helping us to better understand human interactions, individual natures, and so on.  There is certainly value in that.  However, underlying and providing the motivation behind all of them is charity.

Much has been said about charity and much more could certainly be said about it.  I will focus on charity as a love language and especially how it applies to marriage.

As a wedding DJ, I have often heard recitations of some or all of 1 Corinthians 13 during ceremonies.  In all cases, no matter which translation of The Bible is used or which verses are quoted, the words have been offered as advice to both bride and groom (individually and as a couple) as well as all those in attendance.  The advice is quite clear: charity is essential to a successful marriage.  After all, "charity never faileth" (1 Corinthians 13:8).

Unfortunately, far too many do not take this advice to heart.  President Dieter F. Uchtdorf had this to say:

"Over the years, I have performed the sealing ordinance for many hopeful and loving couples. I have never met anyone who, as they looked at each other across the altar, thought they would end up divorced or heartbroken.

"Unfortunately, some do.

"Somehow, as the days multiply and the color of romantic love changes, there are some who slowly stop thinking of each other’s happiness and start noticing the little faults. In such an environment, some are enticed by the tragic conclusion that their spouse isn’t smart enough, fun enough, or young enough. And somehow they get the idea that this gives them justification to start looking elsewhere.

"Brethren, if this comes close to describing you at all, I warn you that you are on a road that leads to broken marriages, broken homes, and broken hearts. I plead with you to stop now, turn around, and come back to the safe path of integrity and loyalty to covenants. And, of course, the same principles apply for our dear sisters." (Uchtdorf, Dieter F. "In Praise of Those Who Save." April 2016 General Conference.)

He lamented the attitude of many in today's societies that view marriage as "disposable."  By contrast, he acknowledged that "strong marriage and family relationships ... require constant, intentional work."  He clearly noted that "there are no perfect familes" and that "There is not one solution that covers every situation. ... However, there is one thing that is right in every case."  And what is that one thing?  Charity.

President Uchtdorf went into detail contrasting charity with its polar opposite: pride.  In doing so, he made a direct parallel with 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 that I believe is very instructive.

suffereth longshort-tempered
envieth notenvious
vaunteth not itself, is not puffed upexaggerates its own strength
doth not behave itself unseemlyignores the virtues of others
seeketh not her ownselfish
not easily provokedeasily provoked
thinketh no evilassumes evil intent where there is none
rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truthhides its own weaknesses behind clever excuses
beareth all thingscynical
believeth all thingspessimistic
hopeth all thingsangry
endureth all thingsimpatient

If that contrast wasn't clear enough, he ends the comparison by saying, "Indeed, if charity is the pure love of Christ, then pride is the defining characteristic of Satan."

So take a look at that comparison for a moment.  Which side better describes you?  More specifically, which side better describes you in your relationships with others (especially your spouse)?  Do you show charity or pride towards others in your relationships?  Which relationships do you think have the best chances to strengthen over time and which will weaken?  Most people I have observed (including myself) choose to show more charity towards some and more pride towards others.

Returning to the idea of love languages, since charity is the only love language, that would make pride the opposite (a hate language?).  What language are you using to communicate with others?  What language would others say you are using communicate with them?  Keep in mind that communication includes both speaking and listening.

Let's now consider the "other" love languages for a moment.

If "words of affirmation" are spoken, there is praise, verbal expression of affection, and so on that is almost certainly going to be appreciated, at least a little.  However, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal." (1 Corinthians 13:1)  Words--even words intended to show love--are of little to no value without charity backing them up.

Many enjoy "quality time" and "acts of service" on their behalf even if it isn't their primary or secondary love language.  However, "And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing." (1 Corinthians 13:2)  In other words, it does not matter what you can do for someone or how much quality time you can spend with them if charity is not motivating your actions.

Some prefer "receiving gifts" (especially when they are meaningful in some way) or "physical touch" (which can range from brief contact to more intimate encounters).  However, "And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." (1 Corinthians 13:3)  That is to say, giving things to others--including your own body--does not amount to love without charity.

If you want to become proficient or fluent in any of the "other" love languages, you must have and show charity towards the other person.  Let charity be your love language no matter how you choose to express it or how you prefer to receive it.

In conclusion, from President Uchtdorf:

"Love in the fabric of the plan of salvation is selfless and seeks the well-being of others. That is the love our Heavenly Father has for us.

"As we emulate the Savior’s love, He will surely bless and prosper our righteous efforts to save our marriages and strengthen our families."