Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Five Love Languages

Tonight I have been pondering a lot about one of the most helpful books that Leif and I have ever read together. We were blessed to read it right after we got married and we have referred to it throughout our marriage. It is called The Five Love Languages written by Gary Chapman. Rather then trying to convince you that Dr. Gary Chapman has some great advise, I will give you a taste of his great work and let you decide for yourself.

The following is from his website:

"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 understands only “Chinese”, you will never understand how to love each other. . ."

Words of Affirmation
"Mark Twain once said “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” Verbal appreciation speaks powerfully to persons whose primary Love Language is “Words of Affirmation.” Simple statements, such as, “You look great in that suit,” or “You must be the best baker in the world! I love your oatmeal cookies,” are sometimes all a person needs to hear to feel loved. . ."

Quality Time
"Quality time is more than mere proximity. It’s about focusing all your energy on your mate. A husband watching sports while talking to his wife is NOT quality time. Unless all of your attention is focused on your mate, even an intimate dinner for two can come and go without a minute of quality time being shared.
Quality conversation is very important in a healthy relationship. It involves sharing experiences, thoughts, feelings and desires in a friendly, uninterrupted context. A good mate will not only listen, but offer advice and respond to assure their mate they are truly listening. Many mates don’t expect you to solve their problems. They need a sympathetic listener.
An important aspect of quality conversation is self-revelation. In order for you to communicate with your mate, you must also be in tune with your inner emotions. It is only when you understand your emotions and inner feelings will you then be able to share quality conversation, and quality time with your mate. . ."

Receiving Gifts
"Some mates respond well to visual symbols of love. If you speak this love language, you are more likely to treasure any gift as an expression of love and devotion. People who speak this love language often feel that a lack of gifts represents a lack of love from their mate. Luckily, this love language is one of the easiest to learn.
If you want to become an effective gift giver, many mates will have to learn to change their attitude about money. If you are naturally a spender, you will have no trouble buying gifts for your mate. However, a person who is used to investing and saving their money may have a tough time adjusting to the concept of spending money as an expression of love. These people must understand that you are investing the money not in gifts, but in deepening your relationship with your mate. . ."

Acts of Service
"Sometimes simple chores around the house can be an undeniable expression of love. Even simple things like laundry and taking out the trash require some form of planning, time, effort, and energy. Just as Jesus demonstrated when he washed the feet of his disciples, doing humble chores can be a very powerful expression of love and devotion to your mate. . ."

Physical Touch
"Many mates feel the most loved when they receive physical contact from their partner. For a mate who speaks this love language loudly, physical touch can make or break the
relationship. . ."

You can define what your love language is by taking a 30 second quiz on Dr. Chapman's website: He also gives some suggestions on how to apply the love languages in our relationship as well as how to begin the reconstruction of a shaky marriage. Dr. Chapman addresses the following subjects on his website:

Making Marriage Work: It doesn't have to feel like a chore
Getting Started: Six First steps to a new beginning (from newlyweds to empty-nesters)
Conflict Resolution: Finding Hope in Anger's Clothing

The Frequently Asked Questions that are discussed on the website expand on a lot of struggles that we might face at one time or another.

Frequently Asked Questions About Marriage

1. How can I get him to really talk to me? answer
2. When do I address my spouse's irritating habits, and when do I "let it go"? answer
3. How do I nurture a spiritual relationship with my spouse when I don't feel comfortable praying out loud? answer
4. We are both working full time and when I get home, I start dinner but my husband comes in and sits on the couch. How do I encourage him to participate in household chores? answer
5. My spouse is not a believer, but I am. How do I cope with this? answer
6. My spouse professes to be a believer, but I see no fruit in his/her life. What should I do? answer
7. I found out my husband is addicted to pornography. Where do I turn? answer
8. I have tried, but I really don't enjoy sex. I am just doing it to be obedient. What can I do? answer
9. We got married because I was pregnant and now I feel like I have made a big mistake. Can I get a divorce or do I have to stick it out? If so, where do I start? answer
10. How can I get her/him to have sex more often and make sure we both enjoy it? answer
11. After being married one year, I'm not sure I'm "in love" anymore. Where could we have gone wrong? answer
12. I recently got married, but have been on my own for many years. How do we build a life together? How do I submit to my spouse's decisions after making my own decisions for so long? answer
13. My husband is in a position of authority within the church. I feel uncomfortable sharing my struggles with anyone at church and feel so alone. answer
14. My husband/wife is emotionally abusive. My friends are all telling me not to stay. When is it okay to leave? answer

Dr. Chapman also addresses a lot about anger and apology on his website and in his books. I appreciated his book titled Five Love Languages For Children too. I think it will be more beneficial later on down the road!

I really hope that you might find the Five Love Languages to be as helpful to you as it has been for Leif and I.

God Bless!

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