The 5 Love Languages {Meaningful Marriage Book Study} | Enduring All Things

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The 5 Love Languages {Meaningful Marriage Book Study}

This month in our Meaningful Marriage Book Study we read The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I really enjoyed this book and there is just so much to think about. I wanna share everything I learned and it really should probably be more than one post but I am going to try to keep it to one for now.
 Meaningful Marriage Book Study
The concept of Love Languages is that different people express and receive love differently just as people from different countries speak different languages. One person may feel the most loved when someone praises and affirms them with words. Someone else may receive the same sincere words of affirmation but they don't feel as loved because they are not getting quality time.

Our Love Languages:

Most people can tell their love language pretty easily based on what their spouse does or doesn't do that hurts the most. Another way to know is by how you treat your spouse because your own primary love language will come sometimes come naturally to you. OR, you could just take the Love Language test. It's totally free online. Just click the link. (HERE if you missed it) and click where it says "Click here to begin."

So here are mine and Pearson's love languages in order from our most to least prominent...

My languages (in order):
Quality Time
Physical Touch
Acts of Service
Words of Affirmation
Receiving Gifts

Pearson's Languages (in order):
Quality Time
Physical Touch
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
Receiving Gifts

So the only difference is that words of Affirmation and Acts of Service are switched! Cool! That means I don't have much work, right? Everything should come naturally! Wrong! Just because something is my primary love language doesn't mean it is easy for me to speak it to Pearson. It just simply means that is the way I read love the best.

I think these lists are so interesting because when we took the test a few years ago while dating, Quality Time was at like number 3 for both of us. I think it changed mostly because we don't spend near as much quality time together as we did back then. We used to sit on a swing on the Front Lawn (Harding is known for it's white bench swings all over the "Front Lawn" or quad, if you will) for hours just talking. But now we don't have time for that. And honestly we probably didn't really have time for it back then, but we were 'in-love' which brings me to my next point.

The 'in-love' experience:

Chapman says that there is a time in a lot of relationship where the couple falls 'in love.' This is different from true love that spouses need to experience and show each other. He says the 'in-love' experience is an illusion. You cannot be held responsible for your actions while in this part of the love cycle. All you want is to make the other person happy because you are under the impression that he or she can do no wrong and you know he or she will also do the same for you. Later, when that feeling is gone, if you choose to continue doing everything in your power to make the other person happy, that is true love.

He says that the in love experience is instinct. It is not conscious. It is not premeditated. To continue loving you spouse after this brief {2 years, on average} period of being 'in-love' you must make the choice every day to do so. He talks about how growing up his mom used to make him vacuum the house every week and he swore that he would never vacuum again. BUT his wife's primary love language is acts of service and she doesn't like vacuuming. So he does it for love. He says it means more when you do something for your spouse that doesn't come naturally, it is a greater expression of love. His wife knows he hates to vacuum so she knows if he vacuums the house, it's out of love!

This is such a cool concept to me. I always knew things change after marriage and that people fall "out of love", but I had no idea the infatuation usually lasts only 2 years. That means Pearson and I were back to reality after high school! I told Pearson this and he reminded me that we broke up during our freshman year of college! Anyway, so many people think that when the 'in-love' experience is over then the Marriage is to. No! You just have to be more intentional about your love.

So lets look at some languages and some things I could do to show love to the hubby that may not come naturally to me.

*If were being honest I should tell you that I didn't have time to read the entire book, so I made sure to read the intro chapters and the conclusion chapters. Of the language chapters I read Quality Time because that is Pearson's primary language and Words of Affirmation because it is higher on Pearson's list than mine so I thought I could use a little more help there than on the others.

Words of Affirmation:

Words of Affirmation is split into several different "dialects." The first is simply giving compliments. The next on is encouraging words. To "encourage" is defined as to "inspire courage," meaning you support your spouse and push him towards things he wants to achieve. Next is kind words. If something negative needs to be said, it can still be done in a kind way. And lastly, there's humble words with which one makes requests of their spouse, not demands.

Chapman gives several suggestions in his book for people who want to work on using words of affirmation to express love to their spouse. One of those ways was to make a list of affirming words you can say to your spouse in general and ones that you can praise him with that are specifically for him. Chapman also said to keep adding to it as you hear other people encouraging each other. I have started a list but I am not going to share the specifics on here. Especially since Pearson reads this blog!

Quality Time:

Quality Time is defined as giving someone your undivided attention, which does not mean sitting on the couch and watching TV. This time can be spent in conversation or it can be spent doing a quality activity that one or both of you enjoy.

On page 56, Chapman says "When I sit with my wife and give her twenty minutes of my undivided attention and she does the same for me, we are giving each other twenty minutes of life. We will never have those twenty minutes again; we are giving our lives to each other. It's a powerful emotional communication of love." Wow! That is so powerful. It really made me think. Isn't my husband worth more of my life than TV or the internet is. Yes! One of my goals next month is to not do something else {such as check my social media} while Pearson is trying to talk to me. He should have all of my attention. But I'll talk more about that on Monday for the marriage and relationship goals linkup.

One thing that really stood out to me is that part of spending quality time with someone and sharing in quality conversation is that you have to share  as well as listen. I am a pretty good listener (or so I like to believe) but I am not so good at the sharing part. If something is upsetting me, I would much rather keep quiet about it. It isn't a big deal and isn't worth bothering Pearson with. I have always known it bothers him when I don't tell him things but I still didn't see the point in sharing. Chapman made me realize how important it is to share. He says that if Pearson's primary love language is quality time and his dialect is quality conversation, then his love tank will never be full until I open up to him. To someone who really values quality time, that quality time is not over until both parties have shared and listened. You know, I feel like such a hypocrite. I always want to know what's going on with him and I want him to open up to me, but I never think it is important enough for me to open up to him.

Chapman also suggests to make a list (he must like lists) of things you can do with your spouse to spend more quality time together. Which I have done as well and will not be sharing as well. :)

Conclusion:

So basically this whole book says that love is a choice. True love, not the feeling you get when you are 'in love' with someone. That doesn't last. Love is a choice you make every day when you decide to do something for the other person whether they deserve it or not, whether you want to or not, and whether you even like him or not right now.

Chapman says that our actions precede our emotions. He uses waking up to an alarm clock in the morning as an example. When the alarm goes off, you do not feel like getting out of bed and starting you day (at least I don't). You are not happy about having to get ready for work or school. But you make yourself take action and roll out of bed and usually by the end of the day you are glad you did and you're feeling pretty good about getting up. It's the same with love. If you make yourself do actions of love for another person even when you don't feel like loving them, eventually the feeling will come back. Pretty cool stuff, huh?

Wow. I think this may be the longest post I have ever written. But I just had to get it all out there. I really liked this book and there is just so much to think about. So sorry for the long post though, and I don't blame you if you didn't read it all. But if you did, THANK YOU!

What do you think your primary love language is? Have you read the 5 Love Languages? Were there any surprises?
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