Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Five Love Languages

Bored one night last week, I picked up a copy of The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman from my parents' book shelf. The tag line for this bestseller was "How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to your Mate."

Self-help and psychology-based books always have a way of roping me in.

The Five Love Languages argues that every person "speaks" a primary language of love that often differs from the language of their partner.

  • Quality Time
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch
The key to success is recognizing which of these means the most to your partner, and which one means the most to you.

The book is chock full of other interesting things as well....

"Long-range studies on the 'in love' phenomenon have concluded that the average life span of romantic love is two years."

Brian and I have been dating just shy of two years. 

"When the 'in love' phase ends, we become keenly aware of our partner's flaws. We recognize that many of their traits are irritating. The hurt, anger, harsh words, and criticisms skyrocket."

Our "in love" phase must have been extremely short lived. I recognized that Brian was flawed ages ago. 

My advice: If you and your partner are hoping to speed up this "in love" phase and demolish any semblance of romance, I strongly suggest that one of you be in charge of driving while the other be in charge of using the GPS. 

If you put Brian and I in a car with a TomTom, my GPS incompetence suddenly becomes my biggest flaw. Trying to type in a street name on that keyboard is close to impossible, and when you need to delete a letter and hit "BACK," suddenly your BACK to square one and it's asking you to select a State/Country. Regardless that we may have 100 miles to go before our next turn, suddenly it is of dire urgency to Brian that I enter the address into the TomTom at lightening speed. Brian becomes frustrated at my inabilities and therefore I become infuriated. 
Often when driving, Brian seems to be more angry at me for not knowing when to turn than at the fact that the GPS is saying "In 200 yards, turn right." How am I supposed to know how far 200 yards is?! In my opinion, the GPS is the one of the world's best romance quenchers. 

Other interesting things to note...

"Many people get married because they feel 'in love.' When the feelings fade (which they will), people often begin to harbor resentment towards their spouse and live miserable lives, or they chose a 'better' option: divorce." 

40% of first marriages end in divorce. 
60% of second marriages end in divorce. 
75% of third marriages end in divorce.

The prospect of a happier marriage the second and third time around is not substantial. It's against the odds. 

You may not choose to fall in love, but you must choose to stay in love. 

Love involves "an act of the will and requires discipline." True love is making the choice to expend energy in an effort to benefit the other person. It does not require the euphoria of "love" and, in fact, it does not begin until the "in love" experience has run its course. 

Perhaps there is some truth in the argument that relationships will benefit by learning your partner's love language and trying to speak their language when demonstrating your love towards them. 
Maybe, maybe not. 
But either way, it's a good read and I would recommend this book for anyone. Although, I pretty much just summed the whole thing up.

Personally, I would argue that the high rate of failed marriages has a lot to do with the fact that people often get married with unrealistic expectations. Also, more importantly, society has completely abandoned the biblical standards for what a marriage should look like. 

Maybe I'll write my own book about marriage and relationships.

I swear, you'd think I could solve all the world's problems.
Single-handed.  ;-)

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