Friends, I’m a self-help book addict and I have no intention of holding back. Today’s post is about what I learned from Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.
Now, on the surface, this is totally NOT a book I would read. Not at all. I don’t actually need relationship advice. My relationship with my husband is great. We’re communicative, we work through differences, and we are both equally committed to keeping our marriage alive for the rest of our lives.
Stop it. This is not a #humblebrag post.
The truth is, I heard about it at a MOPs meeting and couldn’t help myself. I was so curious by the introduction of this concept of love languages, I just had to read the book. MOPs, by the way, stands for Moms of Preschoolers. It’s an international Christian-based moms group that is SO amazing.
Honestly, SO GOOD.
And a quick side note before I lose you on this: I’m not overtly religious. For better or worse, it’s just not part of my identity right now. It was, however, how I was raised. And I like the idea of church, I just haven’t quite found the right fit for me, as an adult, and for our family. This organization fills that need, at least in part. And, to a much larger extent, MOPs connects me with an amazingly insightful, creative, interesting, fun, kind, sweet group of women that are moms and that also happen to be artists and makers, that love to throw an adorable party and make DIY gifts for each other. And that, friend, well I think you know why I might like it. 😉
So I’m a little late to the game with this book. Like, a decade late. Not that it matters, because I wasn’t married 10 years ago and even if I was, I wouldn’t have been able to hear the words of this book the way I can hear them today.
And, again, full disclosure: I didn’t love the tone, or pace, or the style and manner that the author presents his ideas. It kind of feels like he’s talking down to me. As if his readership is 10 year olds with stubborn marital woes.
But if you can get past that piece, the book is absolutely worth it. It’s worth your time. And it’s a quick read at that.
And I’ll be honest, while I was reading this, and for the weeks that followed, I couldn’t help but talk about the insights I learned from reading about love. Again, I’m a huge self-improvement nonfiction book fan, but this was so different, so practical, and so clearly accurate for our life that I couldn’t help but share it … and immediately speculate about the love languages of my friends and family.
Because, after all, even friendships have some level of affection, some version of caring and kindness that allows two people to acknowledge their meaning towards one another. In my friendships, that might mean hosting a dinner playdate, or making a date for the movies.
Each Person Speaks Their Own Love Language
The basic premise of the book is that each person has their own manner of receiving love. These patterns are typically established as children and they vary based on personality.
Each person is unique in this way, and by learning and understanding how to communicate love to your partner, you can not only effectively keep your partnership happy and alive, you can also save yourself the hassle and heartbreak that comes from an unfulfilling marriage.
How this Book has Changed My Life
My husband and I have been together for ten years. TEN. I honestly feel both uncomfortably old and shocked by admitting that. But yes, ten years this past January. My goodness.
And in the ten years that we’ve been together, we’ve had long stretches of time apart due to work travel and voluntary trips. We had to not only keep our relationship alive, but find comfort and security in knowing that we were loved by the other person. And I didn’t realize, until writing this, how much that affected the early parts of our relationship.
Fast forward ten years, and we have two kids with another on the way.
Life has changed for us.
And we have had to adapt.
And so has our communication, our kindness, and our commitment to working through the stuff we’re experiencing both separately and together.
And that’s where knowing each others’ love language, as well as our own, becomes SO super important.
In peaceful times, having some level of certainty, and focus, around showing love for my husband makes things easy. Simple. And efficient.
In times of stress, knowing his love language helps me to be supportive, to help him feel even more secure in our relationship, so we can work through the hard stuff.
In all times, there are moments where we need a little more love. Where our “love tank”, as the author puts it, runs low. And it is those times when we need to feel loved. Knowing your own language, knowing what makes you feel secure and comfortable and loved, helps you identify and advocate for the things that matter on a deeper level. The things that help you find security. The things that help you feel whole, happy, and cared for. The things that make life better
The Five Love Languages
The five love languages are as follows: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. In my next post, I’ll explain each language with some detail so you can work through this concept on your own. Still, if you have a library, request the book. It’s worth it, I promise.