I THOUGHT I KNEW EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS LOVE THING. I would shower my friends and family with good conversation. I would listen to their problems. I would give others my best. Even after my own sister opened up about loneliness and even after a few failed relationships, I still thought I knew what it meant to love. So when I picked up Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, I wasn’t expecting much. Yet, I ended up with a book I devoured in less than 24 hours that completely changed the way I view love.
One of the reasons I had such low expectations for this book is that it is intended for married couples. The author writes, “I dream of a day when the potential of the married couples in this country can be unleashed for the good of humankind, when husbands and wives can live life with full emotional love tanks and reach out to accomplish their potential as individuals and as couples.” Although I am not married (nor am I even on the brink of getting married!), I firmly believe that we were all placed in this world to love others. Therefore the author’s advice on learning how to love in the language that others will understand is beneficial in every relationship.
ONE OF THE MOST PRESSING REVELATIONS is that the book helps clarify how you feel loved (your love language). Chapman finds that our primary love language is most evident in how we love others. For example, if you often give others loads of positive affirmations, chances are that you feel most loved when you receive words of affirmation. If you feel that greetings and farewells should always be accompanied with a bear hug, then your love language is probably physical touch. After stumbling upon these notes, I now realize that good conversations (a dialect of one of the love languages Chapman defines as Quality Time) is the form of love that comes naturally for me. Therefore, when others share good conversations with me–I feel most loved.
However, as Chapman eloquently puts it, “love is something you do for someone else, not something you do for yourself.” The key to loving effectively is to love others in the manner they interpret love–not in the way you do. For example, I could never understand why my mother would always pick up after me. I am years past childhood, and yet she even flew from Washington, D.C. to Atlanta, GA to pack up my entire apartment before I moved abroad. All this time I diagnosed her as a moderate to severe helicopter mom. Now, I see that her love language could actually be called Acts of Service. So she is just showcasing her love when she packs my lunch or washes my car. The challenge for me is to quench my urge to drown her in conversation for hours, and showcase my love with something she would more likely appreciate…like cleaning the bathroom. Note taken Mom.
LOVE IS IN THE MIRACLE MAKING BUSINESS. Chapman holds nothing back when he tells readers that madly in-love romance is not real love. He goes on to detail accounts of couples who fell out of the fleeting “in-love” stage (a stage which research states lasts two years if you’re lucky). These couples went from hating one another to sustaining healthy marriages by simply learning each other’s love language. When we love others in the language they understand, they are more receptive to loving us in the language we understand. When we love others the way they want and need to be loved, they are more secure and better able to step out and achieve their highest potential. When we love effectively we can change lives.
I titled this piece “Five Ways to Transform Your Love Life,” and I only gave you small hints about a few. I’m doing you a favor.
- Read this book to completely learn about all five ways to give and receive love
- Apply it’s principles to every relationship (of course the advice for showcasing love through physical touch won’t necessarily be applicable to your boss so…use discretion)
- Watch your relationships transform
NEW INSIGHT: Take note when someone repeatedly complains about something you do. The opposite of your action is likely the primary manner with which that person interprets love.
“The object of love is not getting something you want but doing something for the well-being of the one you love”
Falling in love doesn’t equal true love
“The in-love experience does not focus on our own growth nor on the growth and development of the other person. Rather, it gives us the sense that we have arrived.”
“We can recognize the in-love experience for what it was—a temporary emotional high—and now pursue “real love.” That kind of love is emotional in nature but not obsessional. Our most basic emotional need is not to fall in love but to be genuinely loved by another, to know a love that grows out of reason and choice, not instinct.”
“I am amazed by how many individuals mess up every new day with yesterday.”
“Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a commitment. It is a choice to show mercy, not to hold the offense up against the offender. Forgiveness is an expression of love.”