They say women are from Venus and men from Mars and the two can’t fathom each other because they are totally alien species! Jokes aside, here is something that can bring them closer to each other. An American counsellor has written a book on the individual’s language of love that would help people become better lovers!
I have never in my life read a self-help book! I am not into 10 ways to find a partner or improve your business or make a million or things like that. Browsing through the bookstore last Christmas, I looked at a display table and was glancing over when NOT the title but the tagline of this book caught my attention: #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER. Then, I looked at the title: The 5 Love Languages.
A book on love became a No 1 bestseller on the NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER list? Americans still want to know about love? The citizens of the most powerful and advanced nation in the world with over 200 years of physical and intellectual development still don’t know anything about love? Despite the intellectualism of free sex, feminism, human rights, pluralism and all other aspects of modern thought, they are still clueless about love? Even with their Christian history where love is the most dominant theme of the religion, they are still struggling over loving?
Hmm. Ok, I thought, let me read it and find out why it became so popular. Now that I have read the book, I know why.
It is a very down-to-earth book. It is no great treatise on love. It does not draw a picture of how love ought to be. Instead, it shows real and practical ways people in love can meet the other’s emotional needs. That is the crux of the author’s — Gary Chapman’s — book — a way to give emotionally.
He writes, “I am convinced that no single area of marriage affects the rest of marriage as much as meeting the emotional need for love.”
Chapman is a marriage counsellor and from his experience, he has identified characteristics of love which he categorizes into five “love languages”. When partners discover the love languages of their others, they are able to do things to show love in a way the other recognises as love. This would fill up what Chapman calls the “love tank” of the partner and when his or her love tank fills ups, that person will be able to love back.
Since both partners are giving emotionally and loving the way the other understands as being loving, the atmosphere of the relationship changes and love blooms again!
I am no expert on love but the 5 Love Languages shows very realisable ways of giving emotionally and, perhaps, that is the book’s appeal. What Chapman offers is something anyone can put into practice. His real-life examples show that his approach works. Of course, he has featured the successful examples and we may not know anything of the unsuccessful ones. But, if it has worked for some, I think it is a strategy that is worth trying out.
The book also has exercises to help men and women discover their love languages.
There are two things about this book that I like. Firstly, it addresses the great lack in loving — emotionally giving. Chapman has acknowledged it and has found a way to actually give emotionally. Secondly, it has no preconceived notions about how to love. He starts where the partners are at and helps them explore options. As they begin to speak/act the language of love of the other, the relationship turns around for the better.
Apparently, this is what people want to know and so buy his book! It also occurred to me that the people in the book love their partners. They don’t want to leave their marriages; separation or divorce is only the extreme last resort if nothing else works. Their preference is to hold on to their relationships and they have the will and in some cases the faith to persevere and make it work.
I would recommend this book to all married people. Both must read the book and learn to speak the other’s love language. If nothing else, it will make them realise the importance of engaging the other in order to give emotionally and recognising the need for affirming it.