The 5 Love Languages:
The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman
Today, I found my wedding planning binder; the binder full of plans for a wedding that is no longer happening. A binder that I spent hours crafting with hopes that my special day would come together without a hitch… and I felt nothing. No anger, no sadness, no regret. I sat at the head of my bed, binder in hand, hastily packed cardboard box of things I hadn’t even thought of since leaving our shared apartment…waiting. Waiting for the phantom squeeze around my heart, waiting for the tears to well up, waiting for all the telltale signs that had revealed themselves in the past to remind me that I still wasn’t “over it” … but instead I got nothing.
About a year after ending my engagement, I’ve found myself falling in love… and it’s terrifying. I think after getting your heart broken, you always think twice (or in my case, a couple million) about getting “back out there”. Is the risk worth the reward? Is that something I’m willing to put myself through again? What was I missing from my last relationship that I would want in a future one? Three weeks ago, while scrolling on Facebook, I found a snippet of an interview from the Steve Harvey Show with Pastors Rich and DawnChere Wilkerson (from the Oxygen network’ “Rich in Faith”) where Pastor Rich is giving an engaged couple from the audience marriage advice. In the interview, he speaks about 5 love languages described in a book written by Gary Chapman. In the interview he states, “I think this is one of the biggest mistakes that people make, is that, so often we love people the way that we want to be love but we all receive love in different ways.” Needless to say, I purchased the book the next day.
In the book, Chapman talks about the 5 love languages: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. Gary uses real-life stories and couples to connect his theories on love with his readers. It’s honestly no wonder how this book has stayed on the New York Times Bestseller list for so long. Chapman spends a lot of time explaining the needs behind each love language and how you can use your partner’s primary language to keep their “love tank” full and ensure they feel satisfied within their relationship. Along with being easy to read, this “guide” is also severely easy to understand. Some things may seem like common sense but only AFTER you read it.
After reading the book, I begun to think about my primary love language and how that not only affected my past relationship, but would affect any relationship I would have in the future. After taking the 5 love languages personal profile included in the book, I found that I feel loved most with both physical touch as well as quality time. I spent the better part of six years in my last relationship and while a lot of that time was spent sitting in the same room, I still felt like something significant was missing out of our relationship that would make me feel satisfied. However, I am a firm believer that just as people change, our love languages can also change. At fifteen years old, gifts and huge acts of service swept me off my feet. Grand gestures and anything shiny or expensive made me feel wanted and valued but after maturing, those things stop seeming so important. I valued time together, deep conversation, future plans- a lot of things that I wasn’t getting because although my love language had changed, my partner didn’t notice and any mention of something “different” typically lead to an argument.
Eight months into a new relationship and I’m sometimes amazed by how much my love language comes into play. Although I’ve only had this book for about a month, this guide has played a huge role in my relationship. For the first time, not only am I satisfied in my relationship, I also feel confident in myself as a partner.
Gary Chapman has written a remarkable guide on love. While it is intended to be used for couples, I have learned so much about self-love while reading this book. After leaving a long-term relationship, it is easy to feel lost or a little disconnected with yourself…at least in my experience. In the midst of my relationship and trying to make things work, I forgot a lot about myself. I forgot what I needed in order to feel proud and self-accepting and after my breakup, my self-esteem fell to a really low place simply because I no longer had someone else to focus on and I didn’t know how to love myself.
I absolutely recommend this book to everyone, whether you’re single, in a good relationship, or in a relationship that needs saving. Not only does this book teach and inspire you to love others the way that they need to be loved, it also makes readers reflect on what makes them happy and satisfied.