Sunday, April 10, 2016

THE LANGUAGE OF LOVE

The eighth path to follow in divorce proofing your marriage is to learn and use one another's love language.  My husband and I were introduced to this concept through Gary Chapman's invaluable book, The Five Love Languages.  He identifies five ways that we express and receive love, and maintains that each of us tends to experience love primarily through one or two of these languages. When husband and wife have different primary love languages (which is often the case), the trouble begins.

The languages Chapman identifies are words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. The book includes an assessment to help husband and wife learn their primary love language, which they can then share with their spouse.  The five love languages are described in the rest of the book along with ways to "speak" them so that your partner's "love tank" can stay filled.  One of the things we discovered is that there are also various "dialects" of these love languages.  My husband's primary love language was quality time.  Mine was receiving gifts, but my secondary language was also quality time. However, his love tank could be filled when he was away on a business trip; we talked on the phone every day he was gone, and those conversations were quality time to him.  However, talking on the phone to him did not fill my love tank at all because he wasn't physically there.  But if we were both at home, and I was working upstairs in my studio, and I heard him downstairs talking on the phone to someone at work, my love tank was being filled. Just knowing he was there nearby helped to fill my love tank.

Our natural tendency is to try to show our love to our spouse in the language we speak, but except in the rare cases where husband and wife have the same love language, we need to learn how to speak the other's love language so that they can truly receive our love. We taught these concepts in weekend retreats that we gave with several other couples, and it was a beautiful experience to see spouses breaking through the "silence" that impacted their relationships before they understood the importance of their love languages.

I recommend that anyone contemplating marriage read this book, and share it with the person you're dating or to whom you're engaged.  If you are married, do the same with your husband or wife.  Then take the time to discuss what you are learning and how you can apply it in your relationship.  It's eye-opening to bring these concepts to disagreements or misunderstandings and will go a long way towards increasing your intimacy and deepening your love for one another.

No comments:

Post a Comment