Minggu, 20 Februari 2011

The Five Love Languages

J's step-mom, Judye, lent me this book and encouraged me to read it. I'm typically not in to "self help" books and find them to mostly be common sense, but I figured it couldn't hurt, plus I told Judye I'd read it.

I was pleasantly surprise. I actually found it really interesting and pretty helpful. It gave me a new outlook and a new way to observe my relationship. I consider me and J's relationship to be very healthy and happy, but there's always room for improvement and I think what I read in this book will be helpful and good information to keep in the back of my mind. 

Chapman starts off by explaining the difference between falling in love and actual love. Falling in love is that head-in-the-clouds, can't think about anything else, this is all perfect feeling. There is actual research that shows that the "in love" experience lasts for two years or less. Then all of a sudden we start noticing this perfect person's annoying qualities. All of a sudden there's hairs on the sink, and piles of laundry on the floor and the constant gum chewing isn't so cute anymore. Chapman gives three reasons as to why falling in love is not real love. 

The first, falling in love is not "an act of will or a conscious choice." No matter how bad you want to fall in love or how bad you don't, you can't control it. Second, it's not real love because it's effortless. The "in love" state requires very little discipline. The instinctual nature oif the in love experience pushes us to do outlandish and unnatural things....long, expensive phone calls, gifts we can't afford, time spent with each other that maybe should be spent on work or school, etc. Lastly, the one who is "in love" is not interested in fostering the personal growth of the other person. The in love experience rids us of loneliness, we have arrived at the apex of happiness and don't need to grow because together we are perfect.

These theories are a little harsh, but make sense when you think about it....when you're in that giddy early stage of a relationship everything seems perfect. It's impossible to keep that feeling alive forever. Of course, we can still get giddy and be head over heels in love, but we do it with two feet planted on the ground because eventually real life always sets in. There's work and bills and families and suddenly it's not just the two of you giggling in a meadow with butterflies and birds singing you songs. You know what I mean.

Chapman believes that every person has their own Love Language. Just as we all have a first language that we grew up learning and speaking. Many people may be bilingual or know bits and pieces of other languages but every one has their one true first language. The key to a successful relationship is learning your partners language and teaching him/her yours. And, it's not as easy as it sounds because two people's "love languages" could be as different as German and Chinese.

The Five Love Languages (as described @ www.5lovelanguages.com)

1. Words of Affirmation
Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.

2. Quality Time
In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.

3. Receiving Gifts
Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.
4. Acts of Service
Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.
5. Physical Touch
This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.

As I was reading this I was getting kind of irritated, who doesn't want words of encouragement and gifts and alone time and help doing chores and a massage?! But as I read on I realized that there really is more to it than that. There are certain things that you really desire above everything else. And don't worry, if you still can't figure out your love language there's assessments you can take on the website I listed above.

I knew without taking a test that my love language is without a doubt Quality Time with Words of Affirmation in a close second. There is nothing I love more than quality time with Jason. We own a business together so we're together ALL the time, but what really makes me feel loved is when it's just us, spending quality time together with his undivided attention. Even the little things like taking Bailey for a walk, time where it's just us...no work, no phones, computer, TV just us.

I highly recommend this book to everyone, whether you're married, in a relationship or not. This book is helpful in loving your family, friends and children just as much as your significant other. I got through it in less than four hours, so next time you go to the pool grab a copy and start quizzing your man on his Love Language....he'll love it. HAHA!

So, what do you think your love language is?

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