The Book That Changed My Perspectives on Giving/Getting
I MOST recently stumbled across an insightful book that has changed my thought patterns like few others out there can, besides the Bible: It was Gary Chapman’s “The 5 Love Languages ©: The Secret to Love That Lasts.” In this book, Chapman identifies how most people feel, to identify, and ultimately relate to love. He broke into five main categories. He’d first assess that, if we identify our main love language and that of all other relationships we hold in this life, we may thus better communicate our love in a manner that the other person desires for ---- leading to a far more meaningful relationship in the end.
Though we know love is a critical component for ultimate survival, we still don’t always get how to best express it. Furthermore, we do not always grasp just how to express our love in a way that the receiver can understand, hopefully someone who knows our intentions arise from a place of deep love and appreciation.
Some of the additional conflict that can come about is perhaps due to the fact that we, as frail and imperfect human beings, do not always get what makes us feel the most loved or even how others can show us their love, in turn. Expressing and receiving love are two special forms of communication in and of themselves. We each respond to varying forms of communication quite differently.
What “clicks” for some doesn’t for others. But thankfully, Dr. Chapman has introduced the Five Love Languages. His book is perhaps the easiest way to explain how to communicate love to others in the language they can best understand.
Most would agree we’ve all had, at the very least, ONE relationship by which we’ve felt that we did NOT “speak the same love language”, be it a friend, family member, romantic lover or otherwise. And somehow, despite our intentions, our messages given to each other never seem to land. Misunderstanding, miscommunication, or even hurt feelings build up until the relationship is forced to end, and often not due a lack of love, but simply because we did not feel loved.
In starting out through his book’s first few chapters, Gary Chapman asks readers to determine their love language by taking his assessment test provided, all while asking themselves these pertinent questions and answering as truthfully as possible….
>>> How do I personally express my love to others?
>>> What do I tend to ‘gripe about’ most?
>>> What do I request the most often?
The Many JOYS Often Found in Giving and Receiving Gifts!
If receiving a gift makes you feel loved, you are not superficial. Some simply respond better to such tangible illustrations of love. Not necessarily a “gold digger”, one who speaks this love language truly appreciates thoughtful, personal gifts. Even a small homemade card or a tiny trinket can speak volumes into their “joy meter”.
Do not mistake this for materialism; the receiver survives through the love, thoughtfulness, and effort made. So you speak this language? A gift can show you are known, deeply cared for, and ultimately prized beyond whatever else was sacrificed to bring you your gift. A missed present or a thoughtless gift can, for you, be disastrous – so can the absence of the everyday gesture. Gifts visually represent love that is treasured greatly.
I once asked my closest friends how they mainly give and receive love, and it was interesting to hear them explain in full specifics — and even to realize just how different each of their answers were. And I ask: Can clarifying how each individual involved in a close relationship with one or more other individuals can give or receive love be crucially important to the effective communication of such love between all parties thereby affected? I would argue so, and so would Chapman. Now try saying that ten times fast!
The Five Love Languages In a Nutshell
1. Words of affirmation
Words of affirmation are basically language expressing appreciation or praise — thanking one for the many ways that he/she shows love, whether it’s through doing the dishes, through giving a gift, through spending an evening together, and more. It’s also praising someone for who he/she is, what they do, and what YOU, as a result, appreciate most about them.
2. Acts of service
Here, just think of a simple act will help make the other individual’s life easier or simply make things run smoother. Offer to do the dishes or some other errand. My father always showed his love through performing acts of service and would usually change the oil inside my car, or fill up my gas tank, or sometimes do both. This was love.
3. Giving gifts
Receiving gifts can usually always be perceived as its own act of love, but Chapman notes: Many often miss that, for some people, receiving gifts is actually the primal way by which they feel loved. Dependent upon the individual's specified preferences, “gifts” don’t necessarily need to comprise material objects; they could even just be sentimental — consider a hand-picked bouquet or a handwritten letter. How about a mixed CD with the other person’s favorite music?
4. Quality time
This involves giving someone “your absolute and undivided attention” — in other words, putting away any distractions. Be full there in mind and body. Do anything with him or her only for that moment.
5. Physical touch
This love language takes many forms: hand-holding, massages, snuggling, etc. For many, physical touch is the best expression of love. Of course, such love language must always be clearly communicated beforehand ---- and consensual!
More on the Matter….
Within the five categories, there’s so many more specific ways to give and receive love, which makes for a really fun, insightful conversation later on! So make one another feel cared for, loved and fully appreciated. How about “adored”? That’s another word I love, a personal favorite among many others in my rich vocabulary!
A paraphrased testimonial from a friend of mine, who read Chapman’s book and applied it: shared with full permission. The “real names” of characters and places are not used, for reasons of privacy and courtesy.
To adore is “to regard with a deep and often rapturous love”. Now that’s certainly how John feels about his wife, Sarah especially after 12 great years of marriage. They originally met in Idaho. Sarah and John had never had much communication outside of a few “hellos”, at first --- but, boy, were things about to change. He was a sophomore in undergraduate school at Idaho Christian University.
He later entered grad. school at CCU, as a top student, and Sarah had already graduated from there and was staying on for an extra semester, actually working inside a men’s clothing store.
Both nervous, they started our “first date” on St. Patrick’s Day and got married November 27th of that same year. John was regarded as “pretty wild” by his previous fraternity and had remained “in lust” several times though never truly “in love.”
Sarah and John always teased each other and laughed together about it,; they’ve only had three minor arguments in more than 10 years. They communicate well and pamper each other, catch themselves doing things right, and even “go to war for each other” as needed. Just last night, they opened up one of seven time capsules they keep and looked at some cards, photos, notes, and special letters that they had shared previously. It was in regards to their son’s life in the first grade; John and Sarah, in fact, still have their son’s drawings, report cards, scripts from school plays, his school bio, and more. And it was all beyond comforting to know that each member of the family had been using a unique but similar love language all these years!
Final Thoughts on All This: Don’t Stress, Pray Instead, Give from the Heart, and More….
So consider those 5 unique ways to love the next time you find yourself in a “relational pickle”. And remember to look up: The Good Lord has an answer for everything. So worry about nothing, and pray about everything; you will find that perfect solution. Believe it, and you’ll receive it (actually, the other party will actually do the receiving, but you get the idea). All good things do come in time, and from the Father above, the true Giver of all gifts everywhere, the source from which every great love first originates.
[Need some great ideas to get your summer “kicked off” in the right direction? Check out our latest 2018 Summer Challenge, a place where you can get a few inspirational ideas ---- not failing to bring some encouragement to your day all along the way ---- helping you make the most of this wonderful season. It only comes around once a year, so take advantage!]
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