I had heard of the book The Five Love Languages many years before I read it. I can remember picking it up at the local library having a flick through the book and thinking it seemed very dated and in the few paragraphs I skim read it seemed like the women in the relationships were doing all the work!
Originally published in 1992, it is written by Gary Chapman, Ph.D.—author, speaker, and counselor. The book has sold over twelve million copies and has been on the New York Times best-sellers list since 2007. The key idea of the book is:
People express and receive love in 5 different ways, called love languages: quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. The sooner you discover your language and that of your loved one, the sooner you can take your relationship to new heights.
The book is an easy read and it goes through many examples of couples improving their relationships through understanding and “speaking” the love language of their partner. You get the idea pretty quickly into the first few chapters of the book and the remaining chapters simply reinforce the same key actions you should be taking. The love languages are pretty self-explanatory but a quick run down is as follows:
- Words of Affirmation – Saying supportive things to your partner
- Acts of Service – Doing helpful things for your partner
- Receiving Gifts – Giving your partner gifts that tell them you were thinking about them
- Quality Time – Spending meaningful time with your partner
- Physical Touch – Being close to and caressed by your partner
The number one takeaway from the book for me was how by default we tend to speak and act in our own love language to our partner when our partner may have a different love language. This is something I was pretty sure I was doing.
If you didn’t want to read the book and wanted to find out your partner’s love language you can use the associated app Love Nudge. I had Phil download the app so he could to the 5 Love Languages quiz and he could share the results with me. We used the free version for this.
Neither Phil nor I had a truly dominant love language with the highest score being around 36%. Over the last few months I have been trying to speak and act in a way that is in alignment with Phil’s highest scoring love language. To be honest I haven’t been that great at it. I had chosen this as a habit to align with my goal to do the inner work to give more to those around me. Phil and I have been married for 24 years and we have a great relationship but I firmly believe that all relationships need work. When you have five kids and a full life it can be easy to take your relationship for granted. Choosing this habit for this year was my way of making sure I was giving our relationship the priority it deserves.
Upon reflection of what I have been trying to do over the last few months, I think I have been taking things too literally. Yes knowing his love language is important, but with a dominant language at only 36% that is not all he needs from me. Looking back over the case studies in the book, what the love languages process does is make you focus on your partner’s needs and how you can best communicate with them. It is about really listening and watching and understanding the way you connect on a daily basis and whether or not this is happening enough to feed a healthy relationship.
I love this quote from the book:
Love is a choice you make everyday.– Gary Chapman
It is in how we respond, how we interact, what we do, and what we don’t do. I can be self absorbed at times when I have a lot going on, so having a habit to focus on Phil’s love language is helpful to me to bring me out of that. Moving forward while I will still be paying attention to Phil’s dominant love language, I will also be looking for the most appropriate way to show my love throughout our daily interactions using all of the love languages.
Do you know your partner’s love language?
May monthly review
|Habit||Connection to goal - Do the inner work to be able to give more to those around me.||Quote - “Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” - Carl Jung||May Review|
|Meditate in the morning for at least 20 minutes||I have been meditating for a number of years now, but lately it is often left to the end of the day and I listen to a guided meditation before I go to sleep.|
To reap the real benefits of meditation I want to practice in the first half of the day, non guided and for a minimum of 20 minutes. In this time emotions, feelings and issues will come up and I will need to learn to not react to it, simply observe it and focus on the meditation session.
|“The more regularly and the more deeply you meditate, the sooner you will find yourself acting always from a center of peace.” - J. Donald Walters||After realising that I was taking the easier option by not meditating as I didn't want the discomfort of sitting with my own thoughts, I made improvements in May. I meditated everyday buy only about 60% of those sessions were unguided meditations in the earlier part of the day for 20 minutes. With the remaining 40% some sessions were only five minutes in the morning and others were a guided meditation in the evening.
I am okay with this. It is not perfect but it was more consistent and it was enough to make me feel like I was back on track. I will be working to improve this further in June.
|Participate in a weekly faith based activity||I have a strong personal faith but feel that it needs a recharge and refresh. Immersing myself in more faith based activities will help me achieve this and to examine my spirituality at a deeper level.||“Faith is an oasis in the heart which will never be reached by the caravan of thinking.” - Khalil Gibran||This habit is still going along nicely. The reason for this is because it is big enough of a task to feel meaningful but small enough to feel doable.|
|Write in a gratitude journal daily||For some reason I stopped my gratitude journal process in the latter half of 2020 and I have noticed its absence. Part of my journal entry in the evening is to note down how I could have made the day even better. Reflecting each day on how I can improve is an important part of doing the inner work.||“Journal writing is a voyage to the interior.” - Christina Baldwin||As this habit is stacked with another and it takes me only a few minutes I have found this habit quite easy to set and continue with - if only all habit formation was this easy!|
|Learn and speak Phil's love language well and daily||I read The 5 Love Languages® by Dr. Gary Chapman a few years ago and loved the concept. For some reason I never got Phil to do the quiz and work out his love language. I will re-read the book and get us both to do the quiz .|
I will then focus on making sure I am speaking Phil's love language on a daily basis.
|“Love is a choice you make everyday.” - Gary Chapman||I have started thinking differently about how I approach this habit. It isn't as simple as just focusing on one way of showing my love for Phil. I discuss this in more depth in the post above!|
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