Book of the month: November

“Once you identify and learn to speak your spouse’s primary love language, I believe that you will have discovered the key to a long-lasting, loving marriage. Love need not evaporate after the wedding, but in order to keep it alive most of us will have to put forth the effort to learn a secondary love language. We cannot rely on our native tongue if our spouse does not understand it. If we want him/her to feel the love we are trying to communicate, we must express it in his or her primary love language.”

When Arman met my mother for the very first time on her trip to come visit us in Shanghai, he took her out for lunch, and asked for tips on how to make me happier. I know, seriously scored the jackpot there :-). She told him to learn my love language and speak it. Which led him to learn about this book - he has never actually read it, but happily counsels any couple on the five love languages. This book is one of those you will keep in your library and re-read many times for years to come. It doesn’t just improve your relationship with your partner, but really any relationship with anyone, especially for the upcoming holiday season.

“The object of love is not getting something you want but doing something for the well-being of the one you love.”

Speaking one another’s love language may not come easily or naturally to us. You may feel most loved with physical touch, so you give that a lot, but your partner may need more words of affirmation. Learning your partner’s love language is the ultimate gift you can give them, because it truly means you love them. When you speak more of their love language, their love tank becomes full, meaning they are happier, and will in return also want to make you happier. It is a win win for everyone! Let’s break down the five love languages:

  • Words of Affirmation: verbal compliments or words of appreciation can go a long way for some. Use simple, straight forward statements for a person, who’s love language this is, for example “you look great in that jacket”.

  • Quality time: give attention, focus on your partner, and give time to do things together. No amount of things in their lives will make this partner happy, when all they really want is some quality time together.

  • Receiving gifts: The gift itself is a symbol of the thought that you were thinking of your partner in the moment you picked something up for them. It is not about how much the gift cost, but the thought that went into it.

  • Acts of service: these are things you do because you know your partner would like you to do them, and you express your love this way. For example they may really appreciate you washing their car, changing baby’s diaper or cooking a meal. All acts require thought, planning, time, effort, and energy. When done with positive spirit, they express love.

  • Physical touch: holding hands, kissing, embracing, as well as sex all communicate love to a partner with this love language. We may think this has to do with gender, but women can have this love language just as much as men.

“Observe your children. Watch how they express love to others. That is a clue to their love language.”

The concept of love languages goes beyond our romantic relationship, and really to any relationship with friends, family, our children, and even co-workers. When we can understand how another feels appreciated, then we can make them feel better, make them feel more loved and cared for. Arman literally learns every co-worker’s love language to understand how to motivate them. Some needs words of affirmation like “you are doing a great job”. Others need gifts such as a bonus or pay raise.

“What is your primary love language? What makes you feel most loved by your spouse? What do you desire above all else? If the answer to those questions does not leap to your mind immediately, perhaps it will help to look at the negative use of love language. What does your spouse do or say or fail to do or say that hurts you deeply? If, for example, your deepest pain is the critical, judgmental words of your spouse, then perhaps your love language is “Words of Affirmation”. If your primary love language is used negatively by your spouse - that is, he does the opposite - it will hurt you more deeply that it would hurt someone else because not only is he neglecting to speak your primary love language, he is actually using that language as a knife to your heart.”

Especially during the upcoming holiday season, this book is an incredible resource. It helps me to navigate complicated family relationships all the time, knowing exactly what people expect of me, so they don’t feel let down. It’s a quick read, and also makes for a wonderful gift to anyone you care about. And if you don’t want to read the whole book, head on over to Dr. Chapman's site to take the quiz and learn more about love languages.

For more information:

The 5 Love Languages:

Buy your copy of “The 5 Love Languages" on Amazon