Social Media Question #2: “Personality vs Love Languages. Is there a difference between these two? Do they go hand in hand? How important are they? Do they help build better relationships?”
“Afterward it happened that he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.” (Judges 16:4)
The Bible is unclear about the nature of Delilah’s relationship with Samson. It’s evident that he had a wife (Judges 14:3, 10) and he also used a prostitute (16:1); however, upon her introduction, Delilah is given neither designation. Nevertheless, what’s clear is his affection for her. His earlier marriage, although unequally yoked, was authorised by God (14:4). Now, as a widower, Samson chooses to live with a Philistine without explicit instructions from God.
Misplaced affection is avoidable.
Although we don’t know why he loved her, their relationship illustrates the dangers of loving the wrong person. Clearly given his past, one would surmise that it was probably semantic (not biblical) love; in either case, based on Delilah’s actions, it was unrequited. Obviously, the ideal situation for any couple would be to experience mutual, enduring love. Such love requires compatibility and communication.
Personality = The combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual’s distinctive character (Oxford Dictionary)
In 16:5 Delilah commits to betraying Samson; the money at stake is more valuable than the love he has for her. How tragic. Imagine being blindsided by someone you thought you could trust. However, her actions shouldn’t have been that much of a surprise because she was:
- A Philistine (unequally yoked)
- Disloyal (three unsuccessful attempts at ‘weakening’ him)
- Emotionally manipulative (see section below)
All of those reasons should have been red flags. Irrespective of his ‘love’, he had a clear indication of her true colours.
Love can’t compensate for a toxic personality.
The courtship phase is an opportunity for you to understand an individual’s personality. What are they really like? I’m sure Delilah probably told Samson she loved him, but her actions said otherwise. His life needn’t have ended the way it did. Hopefully you won’t encounter someone so callous. However, I would implore you to use your courtship wisely – don’t commit to marriage unless you’re certain that you’re compatible. Yes, people change over time – but if your significant other never changed, could you live with their personality? If their mannerisms and idiosyncrasies irk you now, they definitely will later.
“Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and have not told me where your great strength lies.” (Judges 16:15)
We’ve already established that Samson loves Delilah, and here she attests to it. After three attempts at endangering Samson’s life, Delilah is tired that she hasn’t succeeded in getting her money. The fact that she would use an emotional ploy to get the truth is very manipulative. His reluctance to reveal the source of his strength is perhaps due to the fact he’s never opened up about it. Although she was undeserving of the knowledge, she ought to have been more patient.
Love is easily miscommunicated.
Playing the ‘you don’t love me’ card every time you don’t get your way diminishes everything your significant other has done to prove their love. In this instance, it has more to do with her hidden agenda than anything Samson has neglected to do. However, typically speaking, you might feel unloved because your significant other isn’t speaking your love language. In other words, they’re communicating their love using methods that you don’t find meaningful i.e. the wrong love language.
The are five love languages*: acts of service, quality time, physical touch, receiving gifts, and words of affirmation. Each person has a dominant love language and that is their preferred method of receiving love. Money aside, Delilah doesn’t seem like the type who would have made a consistent effort to speak Samson’s love language. She’s too selfish.
Courting someone you’re compatible with should mean they’re intentional about communicating their love in the way you want to receive it. A successful relationship requires both individuals to be sensitive to each other’s love language. I only found out my love language this week, but being able to articulate how I receive love would have been useful for past relationships. Although it isn’t necessary for couples to have the same love language, it will involve a greater level of thoughtfulness.
Compatibility cultivates effective communication.
Compatibility looks different for each couple e.g. sometimes opposites attract. However, if you’re truly incompatible (i.e personality clash) then that will always be a bigger hurdle than adjusting to each other’s respective love language. If your significant other’s preferred language is lower down on your list, you have to be conscious that you’re not choosing to love them in a way that’s more comfortable/convenient for you. For example, gifts are nice but acts of service mean way more to me. If I were to court someone that was very giving, but they didn’t want to do anything then I would be cautious. He might not enjoy acts of service, but I do. Likewise, I may not naturally gravitate towards his love language, but I need to make it a priority if I want our relationship to grow. Whilst compatible personalities and love languages are important in their own right, both are important for a successful relationship.
*For information on each love language and a quiz to find out your order of preference click here.
- Work on negative traits – singleness is a great time to iron out those parts of your personality that need help.
- Know what you’re looking for – ‘accidental’ relationships only happen when charm or beauty etc distract you from what’s actually important to you. Whereas, bad [intentional] relationships occur when you ignore red flags.
- Find out your love language – if you don’t know how you want to be loved, then how are they supposed to know? Skip the trial and error by working out what you find meaningful.
Be careful whom you entertain and be sure that they are worthy of your transparency. They may look the part, but ascertaining whether your personalities are compatible takes time. Moreover, the right person will love you how you expect (and deserve!) to be loved. Don’t rush it.