I finally got the chance to read this last night

In that 3.5 hour window between when the kids went to bed and when their mom came back home. My friend Keila had told me about it back in July and I thought the concept seemed interesting. I was not disappointed. The basic premise is that once the obsessive euphoria of being in love fades, we return to our regular selves and that our regular selves need to be loved in a certain way in order to “keep our love tanks full.”

The five languages are:

  • Words of Affirmation (e.g. “You look great today.” “I appreciate that you pay the bills on time.” “I missed you.”)
  • Quality Time (e.g. taking walks together, taking a class together, having a technology-free conversation)
  • Receiving Gifts (e.g. books and cards, of course, but also the gift of presence during a crisis)
  • Acts of Service (e.g. housework, car maintenance, picking up dinner)
  • Physical Touch (e.g. handholding, snuggling, massage)

He gives different case studies of couples he’s worked with all over the U.S. and at the end, if you’re still not exactly sure what your primary language is, there’s a 30-question quiz you can take to determine it.

I got
Words of Affirmation–10
Quality Time–5
Receiving Gifts–6
Acts of Service–4
Physical Touch–5

Makes sense in that I am like Jason Mraz

“You see I’m all about them words
over numbers, unencumbered numbered words
hundreds of pages, pages, pages for words
and more words than I had ever heard and I
feel so alive…”

(I thought about posting the official video but I love how old this is. I’ll stop myself now before I go off on my “when I used to chill with the J.Mraz crew” tangent.)

The book was originally written for married people; Gary Chapman is a marriage counselor by trade, but I think that even for someone like me, who is as close to getting married as to being the president, it’s still really valuable. There have been various other iterations of the book since its first printing as well: for children, for teens, specifically for men, etc. It gets you thinking about all of your relationships and why they do or don’t work. Obviously, I am incredibly verbal so it follows that words would mean so much to me. I wrote once in an email,

The problem is, you can’t understand anything without its context and that is precisely what thoughts/emotions give actions: context. Trying to go forth without them is like trying to read a map with no legend. You stare at these purple triangles and green circles and black squiggly lines saying to yourself, “Well if I had a drawn a purple triangle it would mean…” or “In the past, green circles always meant…” and you just end up lost because you make so many mistakes misinterpreting things.

The only things I didn’t like about the book was how blatantly heteronormative it was, when I felt that it didn’t have to be and the story near the end that involved “loving your enemies” because it seemed that Christianity was being used to justify staying in a bad marriage, but those things aside, it’s still a book that I would highly highly recommend.

And one last thing on how verbal I am:

I know I chatter on far too much… but if you only knew how many things I want to say and don’t. Give me SOME credit.
-Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables

About J.

A former twentysomething with a head full of curls and heart full of questions wondering: when we get to nirvana, will there be food?
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