Well, I’ve finished another book. I feel like every time I find that I have something to say, it’s usually because of something I’ve recently read. I suppose that isn’t a bad thing; it’s just a pattern I’ve been noticing.
Anyway, The Five Love Languages: singles edition by Gary Chapman is the book I’ve just finished reading and (as I tend to find with several inspirational books) I feel like this is another one everyone should read. Why? Because it just makes sense. What Chapman argues in his book is that the number one thing every human being craves is feeling loved. I feel like that’s quite accurate; I know I want to feel loved. However, we are not always in ‘loving’ moods, so how can we make sure that everyone feels loved all the time? Well, Chapman also argues, “Love is not a feeling; it is a way of behaving” (p. 212). We have to consciously decide to love people, whether it’s a significant other, a family member, or a coworker. There are five main ways to show love: Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Acts of Service, Quality Time, Physical Touch. What Chapman theorizes is that every person has their own primary ‘love language’ (one of the five) that they most like receiving (though receiving all five is important). The challenge with this is that what one person really responds to might not be very comfortable for another person to offer. But if you truly want to make the other person feel as though they’re loved by you, then you make the effort to ‘speak their language,’ no matter how difficult it may be for you at first. As Chapman says, “‘After you [try speaking their love language] the first time, it will be easier to repeat it the second time and the third'” (p.44).
What a concept. In order to love someone, you have to think about what would make them feel loved, not how you are comfortable with showing love (and when I say ‘love’ I also mean respect, appreciation, etc, depending on the type of relationship and what’s appropriate: all things inside Chapman’s book). The more I observe the way people communicate in today’s day and age (myself included) the more strongly I come to feel that no one really knows how to communicate anymore, even though we have the most advanced communication tools of the day with internet, mobile phones, and social media. What I have come to believe is that having all this access to instantaneous communication has actually made us lazy and selfish. I remember someone saying that we don’t even have to talk to anyone anymore to find out things about people’s lives; all we have to do is creep them on Facebook or Twitter and we’re caught up. It’s not about the other person anymore; it’s about ourselves and this illusion of ‘staying in the loop.’
Doesn’t anyone want to have meaningful relationships anymore? I hope the answer is a resounding ‘YES!’ because so do I. I’m sick of pretending like I care. I want to care, even if it’s difficult, and I truly believe this concept of the five love languages can really help take the focus off myself and make me more receptive to the needs of others. At the end of the day, it could help one become a more perceptive person, one who is able to relate better with those around them.
So, I challenge you to pick up this small, white book, and give it a read (check out the website too, for videos and more links). See if it can’t help you enhance the relationships in your life.
P.s. Thanks to Erin for lending me her copy of The Five Love Languages: singles edition; you may have created a monster!