I love, love, loved the book I selected for September’s Book Review! So you can only imagine how excited I am to share it with our Under the Oaks readers. I’d love to say I stumbled upon it myself, but I did not. A short time ago one of my oldest, and dearest friends, Elizabeth, brought it up in conversation. She spoke on and on of love languages and how a couple often doesn’t speak the same language. She spoke of her love language and the things that made her feel most loved. Her source, Dr. Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts. Cheesy title, not so cheesy content.
Dr. Gary Chapman originally spoke of the love languages in 1995 with his release of The 5 Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. Chapman, a relationship counselor and a North Carolina-native, is the author of an entire series of books regarding The 5 Love Languages and has traveled the country and even spoke on his own radio station, counseling couples and teaching them the various dialects of the love languages. The five languages: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, or physical touch. The basic gist is that in order to fill our “love tank”, as Chapman likes to refer to it, we have the need to both give and receive all of the love languages on some level, but we really truly have one language that we speak that we respond to the most.
Prior to reading the book I was doing some research and immediately stumbled upon The 5 Love Languages website [click here] where you can take the 30 question quiz to determine what your love language is. You select which role you play in a relationship (man/husband or woman/wife) and answer the questions. The book also includes this same quiz, but I thought it was easier to do online. I took it and wasn’t surprised by the results. I also had my husband take the quiz and wasn’t surprised by his results. In fact, prior to us telling each other what our own results were we guessed each others, and were both spot on. The biggest reveal was in the reading, in the learning how to speak my partner’s language.
Chapman begins the book by discussing the actual state of being “in love” and that the average in-love experience lasts about two years, implying that often times couples complain about what their spouse “used to do” when they were “in love” prior to marriage. When they were in-love their emotional love tanks were always full, and true love is determining if you have the skill to maintain full emotional love tanks. He writes, “true love cannot begin until the in-love experience has run its course.”
“Welcome to the real world of marriage, where hairs are always in the sink and little white spots cover the mirror, where arguments center on which way the toilet paper comes off and whether the lid should be up or down. It is a world where shoes do not walk to the closet and drawers do not close themselves, where coats do not like hangers and socks go AWOL during laundry. In this world, a look can hurt and a word can crush. Intimate lovers can become enemies, and marriage is a battlefield.”
Chapman then jumps right into the five love languages and speaks of the various dialects within each language. He does a wonderful job of providing realistic examples of each language and examples from his line of work (using fictional names of course). For your benefit below is a simple chart showing how to communicate to those speaking a specific language, the actions they appreciate, and the things they do not appreciate.
You’re probably curious as to my language … I speak in “Acts of Service”. When I asked my husband how he knew this was my language, he said “because you are unselfish and you help everyone.” Chapman says that often times you can tell what someone’s language is simply by observing how they show others they love them.
Another benefit from this activity was determining my weakest love language and seeing that it was actually my husband’s love language. It really inspired me to work harder to come out of my box and open myself up to more opportunities in which I can show him that I love him. I also thought about the benefits in knowing your family and friends’ love languages. After reading through examples I thought of various members of my family and what their languages were, thinking of ways in which I could show them more how much I love them.
Just to be clear, in case there was any question as to why I was even interested in learning about love languages, I am in what I consider to be a “happy” marriage. I didn’t read the book to save my failing marriage, quite the opposite in fact. I read it so I could better something that is already good. I always feel I can improve upon the way I show my husband love as well as be more aware of how I show love and why it may not be received the way I want it to.
Since reading this book I have recommended it too married friends, single friends, and friends about to be married. If you can help it, why wouldn’t you want to be more in touch with ways in which to make your partner feel loved? Think about it, when you feel the most loved, aren’t you willing to give more, to love more? Also, if you could be more transparent to your current or future partner regarding the ways in which you feel most loved, what would it hurt? You’d probably encourage them to do the same.
What is your love language? xoxo ‘n lols, crystal