This Valentine’s Day, let’s have a little conversation about love.
Truth be told, I am a classic Libra: I love… love. I am at my best when the world is in balance and all facets of life mingle in perfect harmony. This has always included my relationships. I remember reading “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” in college, when my then- boyfriend and I were experiencing some turbulence in our relationship. The truths that emerged from the pages of that book were gold. I recall photocopying full chapters and leaving them for him to stumble upon, because I knew that he wouldn’t read the book outright. I had diagnosed our issues though; the book had given a name to our ailments. All I needed, was for him to also consume the information and get onboard in curing us from the inside out.
Fast forward twelve years and I have a much better head on my shoulders: I have since realized that people do not change without the will to do so. Instead, I found myself a mate that I am much more compatible with: We are happy. In love. The world continues to rotate in harmony.
However, my husband and I are still two very different people, and relationships are not always easy. I therefore still strive to educate myself on how I can be a better wife, how to communicate more effectively, diffuse conflict, etc. Being a manager of a large team and a spouse to a strong-willed, sometimes stubborn man, this continued research proves to be beneficial for many reasons.
I first heard of Gary Chapman and his book, “The Five Love Languages” while listening to the “Rise Together” Podcast last year. I subscribe to Rachel and Dave Hollis’ station on iTunes and this particular segment piqued my interest. Gary Chapman appeared as a guest speaker on episode 29 (January 17, 2019) to talk about his book and the impact it has made around the world. It is a #1 New York Times Bestseller and has had over 11 million copies sold since its debut in 1992.
The concept? It’s simple. Chapman has conducted over 30 years of “in the field” research while marriage counseling at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and has concluded that in love, individuals speak one of five love languages.
“My academic training is in the area of anthropology. Therefore, I have studied in the area of linguistics, which identifies a number of major language groups: Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, English, Portuguese, Greek, German, French, and so on. Most of us grow up learning the language of our parents and siblings, which becomes our primary language or native tongue. Later we may learn additional languages, but usually with much more effort. These become our secondary languages.” (The Five Love Languages, Page 14)
“In the area of love, it is similar. Your emotional love language and the language of your spouse may be as different as Chinese from English. No matter how hard you try to express love in English, if your spouse only understands Chinese, you will never understand how to love each other.” (The Five Love Languages, Page 14)
He goes on to write that although there could be different dialects within the love languages, there are only five to note: Words Of Affirmation, Acts Of Service, Physical Touch, Gift Giving, & Quality Time.
“Once you identify and learn to speak your spouse’s primary love language, I believe that you will have discovered the key to a long-lasting, loving marriage.” (The Five Love Languages, Page 16)
Each chapter of the book introduces a love language, unveils stories that speak to specific attributes, and then concludes with several open-ended questions. I actually listened to this book on Audible but bought a paper copy at Goodwill (a ninety-nine-cent steal), because I loved the questions so much. It really helped me identify which love languages my husband and I subscribe to, and how to navigate them, practice them, in our own day to day.
For example, my primary love language is words of affirmation, with physical touch coming in at a close second. This does not mean that I want to be in the bedroom all of the time, but love hand holding, public displays of affection, a kiss on the forehead, a warm, heart to heart hug. I love hearing things like, “I’m proud of you,” or “You look beautiful today.” Talk may be cheap, but not for me. 😊 My husband’s love language is quality time, and although that is my next highest score, I do have to be mindful of how he wants to receive that love, and how often. A lot of our “date days” are directly tied to our need for quality time. It can get expensive, so we have had to get creative.
There is a quiz online that helps decipher primary and secondary love languages: It can be found on Gary Chapman’s website. Some people are strongly tied to one language while others are pretty even throughout.
I highly recommend this book and welcome continued education on the subject- Rachel and David Hollis are not the only two chatting about Gary Chapman’s insights. In fact, I just saw “The Five Love Languages, Explained” cross my inbox in Oprah’s newsletter, which claims that experts believe that love language comprehension is the most important thing in a relationship. I will definitely refer to the book often as a refresher, and will also take the quiz periodically in the future to ensure that my current season of life aligns with my love language.
Final Score: 5 I really enjoyed this book and am confident that the concepts Gary Chapman identifies hold truth. It’s a short read or Audible session (200 pages or 4 hours and 46 minutes), the content is easy to understand, and lessons are interwoven with real life situations that Gary encountered while he was a marriage counselor. Its clear to see that understanding love languages can assist with a variety of different instances, is not just applicable to love after marriage. Knowing your best friend’s language, your child’s language, and your own helps create more quality, lasting relationships.
I did read some reviews where people did not appreciate Gary’s assumptions toward marital units- He always spoke about “man and wife” and really closed off any other type of coupling. He also made some dated references about wives in the kitchen, doing chores, or submitting to their husbands. While I did notice that at some point 1. He was speaking to real-life situations and not his own inspired examples, and 2. Although he speaks in a heterosexual context, the lessons behind it are universal. Digging a little deeper promises a wealth of knowledge. Trust me! Take this quiz and see if the results match with your true love language. Single? A parent? A teenager? The same link offers a similar quiz for you as well.
Quiz Link: https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/
BEST FOR: Anyone who is looking to understand themselves, or find love in another.
NOT GOOD FOR: Those pretty set in their ways, unwilling to test out Gary’s hypothesis with an open mind. He does talk about some of those skeptics in the book, and how eventually, they come around and make changes once they feel the effects of it working on them.
IF THIS BOOK/ AUTHOR WAS A HIGH SCHOOL STEREOTYPE OR SUPERLATIVE: “The Five Love Languages” read would be voted, “Most Loveable.”
** Want to see what I’m reading next? Find me on GoodReads and join the 2020 challenge with me! https://www.goodreads.com/addingpunctuation **