August 3, 2018
I choose to read the book called, “The Five Love Languages”, written by author Dr. Gary Chapman. From my understanding, Dr. Chapman’s intentions with this book is to provide couples with the advice they need/needed to make their relationships work. Dr. Chapman’s main thesis or you can say “premise “of the book is a simple and profound message, and that is what Dr. Chapman refers to as a, “Love Tank.” Basically, like an emotional gas tank, the fullness of our love tank reflects how much love we feel in our current relationship. When we are neglected, the level of our “love tank” drops. When our loved one effectively communicate their love for us, the level of our love tank will then rise. The key to a strong marriage, according to Dr. Chapman, is to consciously choose, day after day, to fill our spouse’s love tank. So, he is saying that when this “love tank” is filled by your spouse, “you” are happy and content and when it runs empty, “you” are unhappy and most likely considering divorce. That is some pressure for someone to have on them but let me go on. Dr. Chapman explains that the way to keep this tank topped off is to figure out your” spouse’s love language and act accordingly.” He explains that while this may seem obvious at first, it can become an impossible task if we are not aware of our spouse’s “Love Language.” But everyone has a dominant love language and, unless our spouse communicates with us using that particular love language, really there is nothing that we can do to make them feel truly loved. Dr. Chapman goes on to explains the “Five languages” of love. I am not sure I would call them that because these aren’t “languages”, but, some people may consider any means of an expression to be a language. So, Dr. Chapman’s
five love languages:
Words of Affirmation. “If this is your love language, you feel most cared for when your partner is open and expressive in telling you how wonderful they think you are, how much they appreciate you, etc.”
Quality Time. “This love language is about being together, fully present and engaged in the activity at hand, no matter how trivial.”
Receiving Gifts. “Your partner taking the time to give you a gift can make you feel appreciated.”
Acts of Service. “If your partner offering to watch the kids so you can go to the gym (or relieving you of some other task) gets your heart going, then this is your love language”.
Physical Touch. “This love language is just as it sounds. A warm hug, a kiss, touch, and sexual intimacy make you feel most loved when this is your love language.
I don’t doubt that the good doctor is onto something good here because this does seem plausible and pretty much common sense. Basically, the best way to express your love is to find what sends that message clearest to the person you love and take the relevant actions needed to send that message. Sounds simple and straight-forward, right. Well, actually, it all comes down to knowing what’s important to people so you can understand and work with them a little better. Everyone is different and we all have different life experiences; we come from different backgrounds, which makes sense that we would communicate differently, too. As I delve deeper into this book, I realized that this book may not translate well in multicultural relationships that are dictated by a whole different set of morals and values. This book is geared more toward “Christianly” heterosexual couples. Another thing I caught while reading that bothered me was a case of a woman who had been abused somehow (I am not sure what type of abuse) and Dr. Chapman’s reluctance to do so made me suspicious of how his church deals with issues of domestic violence. But Dr. Chapman’s advice to the woman was to “dismiss any of your own feelings of discomfort (being used for sex) and have sex with your husband as an act of love and hope that he will reciprocate that love.”, That left me STUNNED and sick to my stomach. One, this book was written in 1995!! Is he serious?! That is some 1950’s advice, when women played certain roles!! Dr. Chapman did not speak on making compromises and identifying limits when he should have. Then, he made an absurd speech about gender roles, according to Dr. Chapman, these differences are all “physiologically based” and men have more tension built-up as a result of massive sperm generation whereas women don’t, and that is why women don’t crave sex the way men do. Instead, women only want sex if their men meet their emotional needs. So, I’m wondering is he saying that, men do not need to have their emotional needs met?? Our husbands are only need us for “relief”? This man left me highly agitated. To me, the book kind of said “women be submissive in your roles” and well, that isn’t going to happen. Hence, this is a Christian marriage advice book. Many “Christians” have their own views on marriage, relationships and gender roles. Therefore, the book probably isn’t intended for the “same-sex” couples, or the strong-minded women, whom is focused on their careers and is in no rush to get married. There was some good advice in here that everyone could use and apply to their general relationships, not just marriage but for the most part what I got from Dr. Chapman as a young, strong woman, living in 2018, whom been raped and abused was a very disturbing message that said, “that you can love someone enough to make them love you back and respect you”. For him or anyone to teach or preach that is horribly wrong and misleading. So many victims of abuse really feel that they don’t love someone enough and the abuse is their fault. There’s a lot of people who taught them that and made them feel guilty because of it. And here’s this famous author also called a “specialist in love” and telling them the same harmful thing! Every adult knows that relationships and marriages are not always easy and they do require each person to actively put in work. Things like helping out at home, touching each other’s, being nice to each other’s, giving gifts and spending time together are the necessary elements of a good relationship but also the basic ones. If there’s no real substance in the relationship/marriage, none of these things won’t help. It’s important to teach people how to enter marriages wisely and not how to stay in them just because they’re married. If there is no respect, no love and if there is abuse, there should not be any relationship!