I recently read a book that made so much sense, I connected to its meaning so heavily that I have to tell the world, or at least everyone I run into.
"The Five Languages of Love" by Gary Chapman. www.garychapman.org. I highly recommend this book!
To tell it in a nutshell, everyone uses five ways to offer and accept, express, identify and comprehend, give and receive love. Everyone has one of these five 'languages' that is their most important method, their primary language, even though we generally use all five to express love. Some people have more than one primary. Identifying your primary method (or language), as well as your spouse's primary method, is one of the most eye opening events I have experienced in my relationships, including those with my children.
How many couples complain about how their spouse doesn't fufill or love them or let them know they are loved? What a simple solution.
The five languages are:
Verbal (praise, "I love you", positive statements, verbal reinforcements,
Quality time (just the two of you, talking or just being together, without the television)
Gifts (from the extravagant to a wild flower to the gift of your time)
Service (I prefer 'action' meaning duties, from mowing the lawn to cooking dinner, bringing home the bacon)
Touch (excluding sex, but including caress, touches, hugs, holding hands, cuddling, massage)
How do you find out which is your primary language/method?
1. What are your complaints about your mate? Watch what category listed above they fall into
2. What are your ideal mate characteristics? Watch what category listed above they fall into
3. How do you, most often, express love to your mate? Watch what category listed above they fall into
My mate and I have been attempting to repair our relationship, recently damaged over another issue. My daughter recently got married and received this book as a wedding present from our long time, beloved family doctor, Dr. Dirk Mous. I spied it, and quickly 'stole' it to read before she realized it was gone. It was consumed in one night, and I immediately discussed with my mate, and then both my children. I was astounded by the simplicity of the theory. It reads quickly, well, and should blow your socks off.
I determined that my mate's method was service. He earns the money, I keep the house. Yes, we had previously agreed to this arrangement, but I would hear complaints, the dishes were not done every day, etc. I responded with the fact it has been 100 degrees plus and we don't have air conditioning in the kitchen. He nodded, we moved on. It would come up again and again. I AM doing the laundry, I AM cleaning the house. No, I don't enjoy it, I would rather be in the garden my mate agrees garden work is important. There was an extraordinary amount of work to be done out there today, okay, okay. Time passes and the subject rears its ugly head again. I now go out of my way to say "I am taking a break from the yard and the heat for a few," to make sure he understands that until this point, for the last six hours, I have been working my butt off. Yet, it never seems to get completely solved. What AM I doing wrong here??
Well, lo and behold. My mate's primary method of expressing love (and how he thinks love should be expressed from me to him) is service. He is the bread winner, I do the household chores. This isn't just an arrangement we made, this is the way he feels secure in our love, our relationship, our partnership. If I am lazy or get distracted and let the dishes slip, no problem. But if the house ceases to be my priority, well, that speaks volumes to him. I don't care enough or love him enough to have made that MY priority, as he sees it should be.
Now I could say, "Hey bud, I am not your frickin slave," but if I were to do that, would we be in what I call a working relationship? I have chosen to rearrange my days to include all the little tiny, repetitious, tedious household chores, including dumping ashtrays, making the bed, recirculating the ice trays, emptying the garbage, neaten the house, etc, etc, etc. THEN I go play in the garden. It is an effort I make, voluntarily, for him, for us. It is my understanding that 'service' is, to him, the most important method of confirming love, both in giving and receiving. He takes supporting me, my children and our family very seriously, so he is also doing what he feels is the most important method, in his view, of expressing his love for me.
Now we get to my primary. I have to admit I am stumped. I can eliminate gifts and quality time, for those two areas have never been an issue, there has never been a lack there, and I don't thrive on either of them to the point where I would be devasted without one or the other. I am an extremely verbal person, and I live for new ideas and concepts, philosophy, thought, tearing an issue up, discussing time, religion, you name it. Not the same thing, me thinks. I am told "I love you" enough to please even the most insecure people, but it is not crucial to my existence. I already know, well, that my mate loves me, from his other actions. The words are simply a reinforcement for me. Scratch verbal as my primary.
I do get extremely irritated when either of my children don't follow up on a truly simple request of keeping their areas and bedrooms clean. I know they can do it, I know they don't try, and I do feel slighted, like they don't care about what I feel or want or need, when they leave a horrific mess. One of the largest problems in my past marriage was that my husband refused to see my need for him to help out around the house. I am guessing my primary is service as well. Yet, without touch, I would die. I need that hug, that walk hand in hand, cuddling, just touching. Without it, I become empty and withdrawn, un loved. Oh, yeah, touching must be my primary. Nothing like journaling, I just discovered my primary(ies) - I am a double hitter!!! I have two primaries!
In answer to the three questions above, my mate fufills me, my needs, my primaries and with all five methods! He always has, and I never realized it. He brings me flowers and constantly surprises me with little things he found for me. Christmas and birthdays, all the holidays usually include a huge gift or long wanted item. He continually tells me he loves me. We hold hands where ever we go, he never leaves the hours or returns without a kiss. He calls me to let me know if any previous plan has changed time wise. He has never failed to take the garbage to the street or open a building or car door for me. When quality time has been scarce, we pack up for San Francisco, Monterey or the woods. I have never felt a lack in any of those fields. I count my blessings over and over, and pick up doggie gifts so he doesn't have to.
Written by Sharry Anne Stevens 2006, all right reserved
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