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Married pastors facilitate sessions on 'The Five Love Languages

WORTHINGTON -- As a married couple and co-pastors at Worthington's First Covenant Church, John and Kris Stewart know that communication can be key to a healthy and productive relationship.

The Stewarts discovered some strategies for improving their communication through "The Five Love Languages," developed by Gary Chapman.

"He does marriage enrichment seminars," explained Pastor John Stewart. "They're Christian-based. He comes out of a counseling background in which he's determined there are five categories in the way we communicate love to others and the way we receive love."

The Stewarts will facilitate discussion on "The Five Love Languages" during presentations at 6:30 p.m. Sunday and March 19 at First Covenant Church, 1645 S. Shore Drive.

"My wife and I facilitated it once before," Stewart said. "It's not very long, but it has got some good depth to it. Personally, we found it was very helpful, so that's the reason why we want to share it with others."

Chapman's first book, "The Five Love Languages," was published in 1992 and spent 50 months on the best seller list. The series also includes "The Five Love Languages for Teenagers" and "The Five Love Languages for Children," which also became best sellers, as well as "The Five Love Languages for Singles" and a special men's edition. His most recent work is "A Couple's Guide to a Growing Marriage."

"Throughout all my counseling, I found that truly connecting with a loved one came down to one simple fact: you need to know and speak his or her love language," explains Chapman on the Web site "A love language is the way we express our devotion and commitment, and it can be learned or changed to touch the hearts of our partners."

Chapman has identified the five love languages as: 1. Words of Affirmation; 2. Receiving Gifts; 3. Quality Time; 4. Acts of Service; 5. Physical Touch.

"In our case, one of things that we found out is that in Kris' case, quality time is one of the love languages that to her is very important," shared Stewart. "That helps me to see that quality time with family -- not just immediate family but extended family, too -- while it may not be a primary thing to me, it's important to her, and that shows me where I need to make the extra effort. That's what it boils down to -- strategies, ways to appreciate your spouse's or partner's love language, ways to communicate with them."

Although it is geared primarily toward couples, Stewart said that people who are dating and even singles may benefit from the lessons of "The Five Languages of Love." Each session will run about an hour and a half.

"They're not very long sessions, but it packs a lot into it," Stewart said. "There's a video clip that goes along with it, and a questionnaire that folks fill out, only about 30 questions."

While people are encouraged to attend on both Sundays, Stewart said that they will get something out of it even if they can only be there one night.

"It's pretty simple, yet it's profound," Stewart added. "There's not a lot you have to walk away remembering, but it's a way to help us get some insights. Once we did it ourselves and we facilitated another group, it was almost like an 'ah-hah' moment. That's when it hit us. Most people find it helpful."

Light refreshments will be served, and child care will be available.

Seating is limited, so preregistration is required. Phone the church, 376-5109, by Friday.

Beth Rickers

Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at  

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