Monday, March 27, 2006

Five Love Languages

Read a great book that a friend recommended over the last week or so—The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

I love books like this, where it’s just all practical information rather than psychoanalysis. Chapman doesn’t try to explain *why* we might prefer a particular expression of love, he just says, Here’s what they are, now try it.

The five love languages he describes are:

  • Words of Affirmation: using words that build up
  • Quality Time: giving your undivided attention
  • Receiving Gifts: giving tokens of love, large or small
  • Acts of Service: doing things you know they’d like
  • Physical Touch: loving physical contact and affection

Chapman is saying that in order to ignite feelings of love in a relationship, especially marriage, it’s helpful to find out what your partner’s love language is and strive to speak that language. If you’re telling a spouse all the time how much you love them and how great they are, but Words of Affirmation isn’t their love language, it won’t make them feel loved. If Acts of Service, such as doing the dishes or mowing the lawn, is their love language, you’d do better to start doing those things.

Of course, we probably all like all of these to some degree, but I discovered there is one that particularly resonates with me. And actually, some of the others irritate me if poured on too thick. When I’m “spoken” to in the love language that means the most to me, I feel it differently.

Chapman’s ideas are based not only on his own observations as a marriage counselor, but on his faith. At one point in his own journey when his marriage was going through a rough patch, he turned to his Christian faith. He writes:

Examining the historical accounts of Christ’s birth, life, death, and resurrection, I came to view His death as an expression of love and His resurrection as a profound evidence of His power. I became a true “believer.” I committed my life to Him and have found that He provides the inner spiritual energy to love, even when love is not reciprocated. I would encourage you to make your own investigation of the one whom, as He died, prayed for those who killed Him: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” That is love’s ultimate expression. …

If it were possible, I would hand this book [his own] personally to every married couple in this country and say, “I wrote this for you. I hope it changes your life. And if it does, be sure to give it to someone else.”

To me, Chapman’s book is revealing a deeper way of following the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I’ve always felt it’s simplistic to simply do to others what you’d literally want done for you. To really obey that dictum, you’d need to find out enough about the other person to know what they’d like, which ultimately *is* what you’d want them to do for you.

So now I’m on a mission to find out which of these love languages are the most meaningful to those I love, especially my children. My daughter’s fairly simple, my son’s a bit more complicated. But in the same way God’s love for me has come to me in specific ways that have made me feel especially loved, I’d like my expressions of love to my children to be meaningful to them.

And it’s fun to remember those times when I got it right and filled their “love tanks” (as Chapman calls it) successfully.

What’s your love language?

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 3/27/2006 03:50:00 PM, Blogger Kim said...

this is great Laura - you should post it on the the mothers of men meeting blog!!


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