The Five Love Languages
The Sex eZine - Book Review


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Showing Your Love

Although it was published more than a decade ago, The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman, is as relevant today as it was when first published. The premise of the book is that every human being has a "love language" that makes him/her feel truly loved. For some it is when a kind word is spoken by their partner (Words of Affirmation). For others it is when their partner snuggles up to them (Physical Touch). According to Chapman, the five love languages are:

1. Quality Time

Quality time is more than mere proximity. It’s about focusing all your energy on your mate. A husband watching sports while talking to his wife is NOT quality time. Unless all of your attention is focused on your mate, even an intimate dinner for two can come and go without a minute of quality time being shared.

Quality conversation is very important in a healthy relationship. It involves sharing experiences, thoughts, feelings and desires in a friendly, uninterrupted context. A good mate will not only listen, but offer advice and respond to assure their mate they are truly listening. Many mates don’t expect you to solve their problems. They need a sympathetic listener.

An important aspect of quality conversation is self-revelation. In order for you to communicate with your mate, you must also be in tune with your inner emotions. It is only when you understand your emotions and inner feelings will you then be able to share quality conversation, and quality time with your mate.

Quality activities are a very important part of quality time. Many mates feel most loved when they spend physical time together, doing activities that they love to do. Spending time together will bring a couple closer, and, in the years to come, will fill up a memory bank that you can reminisce about in the future.

Whether it’s sitting on the couch and having a brief conversation or playing together in a tennis league, quality time is a love language that is shared by many. Setting aside focused time with your mate will ensure a happy marriage.

2. Words of Affirmation

Mark Twain once said “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” Verbal appreciation speaks powerfully to persons whose primary Love Language is “Words of Affirmation.” Simple statements, such as, “You look great in that suit,” or “You must be the best baker in the world! I love your oatmeal cookies,” are sometimes all a person needs to hear to feel loved.

Aside from verbal compliments, another way to communicate through “Words of Affirmation” is to offer encouragement. Here are some examples: reinforcing a difficult decision; calling attention to progress made on a current project; acknowledging a person’s unique perspective on an important topic. If a loved one listens for “Words of Affirmation,” offering encouragement will help him or her to overcome insecurities and develop greater confidence.

3. Gifts

Some mates respond well to visual symbols of love. If you speak this love language, you are more likely to treasure any gift as an expression of love and devotion. People who speak this love language often feel that a lack of gifts represents a lack of love from their mate. Luckily, this love language is one of the easiest to learn.

If you want to become an effective gift giver, many mates will have to learn to change their attitude about money. If you are naturally a spender, you will have no trouble buying gifts for your mate. However, a person who is used to investing and saving their money may have a tough time adjusting to the concept of spending money as an expression of love. These people must understand that you are investing the money not in gifts, but in deepening your relationship with your mate.

The gift of self is an important symbol of love. Sometimes all your mate desires is for someone to be there for them, going through the same trials and experiencing the same things. Your body can become a very powerful physical symbol of love.

These gifts need not to come every day, or even every week. They don’t even need to cost a lot of money. Free, frequent, expensive, or rare, if your mate relates to the language of receiving gifts, any visible sign of your love will leave them feeling happy and secure in your relationship.

4. Acts of Service

Sometimes simple chores around the house can be an undeniable expression of love. Even simple things like laundry and taking out the trash require some form of planning, time, effort, and energy. Just as Jesus demonstrated when he washed the feet of his disciples, doing humble chores can be a very powerful expression of love and devotion to your mate.

Very often, both pairs in a couple will speak to the Acts of Service Language. However, it is very important to understand what acts of service your mate most appreciates. Even though couples are helping each other around the house, couples will still fight because the are unknowingly communicating with each other in two different dialects. For example, a wife may spend her day washing the cars and walking the dog, but if her husband feels that laundry and dishes are a superior necessity, he may feel unloved, despite the fact that his wife did many other chores throughout the day. It is important to learn your mate’s dialect and work hard to understand what acts of service will show your love.

It is important to do these acts of service out of love and not obligation. A mate who does chores and helps out around the house out of guilt or fear will inevitably not be speaking a language of love, but a language of resentment. It’s important to perform these acts out of the kindness of your heart.

Demonstrating the acts of service can mean stepping out of the stereotypes. Acts of service require both mates to humble themselves into doing some chores and services that aren’t usually expected from their gender. However, these little sacrifices will mean the world to your mate, and will ensure a happy relationship.

5. Physical Touch

Many mates feel the most loved when they receive physical contact from their partner. For a mate who speaks this love language loudly, physical touch can make or break the relationship.

Sexual intercourse makes many mates feel secure and loved in a marriage. However, it is only one dialect of physical touch. Many parts of the body are extremely sensitive to stimulation. It is important to discover how your partner not only physically responds but also psychologically responds to these touches.

It is important to learn how your mate speaks the physical touch language. Some touches are irritating and uncomfortable for your mate. Take the time to learn the touches your mate likes. They can be big acts, such as back massages or lovemaking, or little acts such as touches on the cheek or a hand on the shoulder. It’s important to learn how your mate responds to touch. That is how you will make the most of this love language.

All marriages will experience crisis. In these cases, physical touch is very important. In a crisis situation, a hug can communicate an immense amount of love for that person. A person whose primary love language is physical touch would much rather have you hold them and be silent than offer any advice.

It is important to remember that this love language is different for everyone. What type of touch makes you feel secure is not necessarily what will make your partner happy. It is important to learn each other’s dialects. That way you can make the most of your hugging, kissing, and other physical contacts.

Primary Love Language

Chapman says that each person has a "primary love language" that they react stronger to than with the other love languages. A female may feel more loved by her partner when he buys her flowers versus when he tells her the meal she cooked was good. A man may feel more loved his partner tells him how impressed she is with his latest home improvement project versus when she cuddles up to him.

According to the book, once you've identified, with your partner, what love language fits you the most, then it becomes easier for each of you to express your love to each other in a way your partner understands.

I was first introduced to the concept of "love languages" about six years ago. Along with my partner at the time we sat down and went through each of the love languages and chose which one made us feel most loved. Ironically, however, I found that the love language I reacted to the most wasn't one of the five! Thus I ended up identifying my own love language - Acts of Thoughtfulness.

Acts of Thoughtfulness is when your partner does something unexpected that is an expression that he/she put time and thought into the action. For example, I once went on a road trip from California to Idaho to visit my Grandma. As I was getting ready to leave, my girlfriend handed me several wrapped packages and an envelope with instructions. I couldn't read the instructions until I stopped for gas. She had calculated the miles I had to go, miles per gallon I got on my car, and how many gas stops I'd have to make on my trip. Every time I stopped for gas, I had to open one gift (i.e. home made chocolate chip cookies, new CD to listen to, etc.). Along with the gift was a postcard (addressed to her and prestamped) that had a multiple choice question about our relationship. I had to fill in the answer and send it from the closest mailbox. If I got all the answers right, I would be given another gift upon my return!

Now something like that took her a long time to think about and plan, but more importantly that one simple act had me loving her more than ever. Suddenly a long road trip had turned into an adventure and that whole trip I found myself thinking about her and what she had done.

I also identify Acts of Thoughtfulness as little things that make life more pleasant for your partner. For example, the same girlfriend and I used to go to a particular movie theater. One day, just before a movie, she told me that the only thing she didn't like about the theater was the armrests because they were too hard and made her elbow/lower arm sore. From that point on, without ever being asked, I would rest my hand under her elbow during the movie so that she had a cushion.

A partner may see I have a headache and without being asked, come over and rub my head or bring me some water and Aspirin. This is an act of thoughtfulness and perceptive action on the part of my partner.

While I love the concept of the "Five Love Languages", it is clear to me that there are actually six and that Acts of Thoughtfulness should be included in the book. However, to his credit, Chapman does point out that there could be "numerous dialects" to each love language he talks about.

The Five Love Languages begins by discussing how many people, after they get married, see their love eventually deteriorated. Then comes divorce for many of these couples. This is where understanding your partner's love language becomes essential for a lifetime of love. From Chapter 1:

"Your emotional love language and the language of your spouse may be as different as Chinese from English. No matter how hard you try to express love in English, if your spouse understands only Chinese, you will never understand how to love each other."

The interesting element here is that just because love is best expressed to you through Words of Affirmation, doesn't mean it is the same for your partner. Thus it is vital to learn your partner's love language so that you can properly focus your expressions of love in a way that is meaningful to your partner.

For some people, it will be easy to identify what love language you possess. For others, it may take a little extra thought. Chapman devotes a chapter strictly to "Discovering Your Primary Love Language."

Chapman alludes to each person in a relationship as having an "emotional love tank" and when that tank hits empty, that's when there is danger of the relationship ending. But by understanding and speaking your partners love language often, you can essentially keep that tank near full forever.

The Five Love Languages is an excellent relationship book, because it helps you to better express your love to your partner. I highly recommend it and give the book an 8.5 out of 10 rating.

History's Greatest Lovers:
Both Real and Fictional

Romeo and Juliet

Oddly, the couple that is most often used as an example of the archetype for great love isn't even real. The timeless story of Romeo and Juliet has touched the hearts and minds of millions of people for hundreds of years. Shakespeare's play has been told and retold in multiple movies and in a variety of different ways throughout the years. It still remains the perfect picture of true love.

Romeo and Juliet came from feuding families: the Montagues and the Capulets. Although they met by accident, it quickly became clear that the two teenagers were fated to be. With the assistance of a friar, they devised a plan that would ensure they could remain together. After the friar married the couple, he gave Juliet a vial of potion that would allow her to appear dead, but in reality would simply put her into a deep sleep. Once her family found her body and placed in the tomb, the friar would send for Romeo to rescue Juliet.

Unfortunately, news of Juliet's death reached Romeo before he received notice of the friar's plan. Thinking that Juliet is dead and vowing to be with her forever, Romeo purchased a vile of poison for himself. After entering Juliet's tomb and kissing his beloved, Romeo took the poison. Shortly after, Juliet awoke to find Romeo lying dead beside her. In unbelievable anguish, she took his dagger and plunged it into her heart, ensuring they would be together, even in death.

Antony and Cleopatra

Shakespeare, too, wrote it, about. Unlike Romeo and Juliet, however, this Shakespearean play is based on the real life historical characters.

Antony a soldier of Rome under the rule of Octavius Caesar and Aemilius Lepidus, was infatuated with Cleopatra. He fought the attraction going so far as to marry the sister of Octavius (Octavia). But Cleopatra figured out a way to get Antony to come to Alexandria where she exposed the fact that Octavius and Lepidus had broken the triumphant that had been agreed upon. Antony crowned Cleopatra and himself rulers of Egypt and the eastern third of the Roman Empire, which was Antony's share of land awarded to him as part of the triumphant. Octavius, displeased with Antony's actions declares war. The battle, fought on the sea, where the navy of Octavius was lighter, more mobile, and better-manned, frightened Antony who was used to fighting on land. Cleopatra, in a grand show of support, pledged her fleet to aid Antony. However in the middle of the battle, Cleopatra fled thinking that Antony had been killed. Antony followed, leaving his army in ruin.

Ashamed of his actions, Antony branded himself a coward, but still could not bare to part himself from Cleopatra. With her encouragement, he eventually agreed to fight one final battle against Octavius. But, many of his men deserted him and he could not continue. No longer able to deal with what he had done, Antony attempted suicide with his own sword, managing only to seriously wound himself. Cleopatra, hearing of Antony's actions, locked herself in her monument, vowing to die with Antony's name on her lips. She had Antony's body hoisted up into the monument with her where he died in her arms. Realizing that her one true love was gone and that Octavius planned to take her back to Rome in shame, Cleopatra killed herself using the poison of an asp. When Octavius discovered the bodies of the two lovers, he took pity on the tragedy of their undying love and he agreed to bury them together.

Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan

This true love story resulted in one of the most wondrous structures in the world, that of the Taj Mahal.

The marriage of a young girl, Arjumand Banu - - later renamed to Mumtaz Mahal - - Shah Jahan, ruler of the Mughal Empire, initially did not seem to be one of the world's great love stories. But Mahal bore the Shah 14 children and grew to become is favorite wife. When she died in 1629, the grieving emperor resolved to create a fitting monument to his true love.

The Taj Mahal took 20,000 workers and 1,000 elephants nearly 20 years to complete. Built of white marble, it sits on a sandstone platform. A 137-foot dome tops the mausoleum. The interior is lavishly decorated in lapis lazuli, turquoise, agate, jasper, and colored marble. The exterior is paved with semiprecious stones that sparkle in the sun. The surrounding garden contains four water channels representing the four rivers of Islamic paradise. The Shah had planned to build a black marble mausoleum for himself but he was deposed by his son, Shah Jahan and imprisoned in the Red Fort of Agra. He spent his remaining life staring across the Jamuna River at the monument to his beloved queen. He was eventually buried beside her in the Taj Mahal.

John Alden and Priscilla Mullins

This love story actually stems from the founding of America. Although the story cannot be irrevocably verified, most historians agree that the story is most likely true. It was immortalized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's 1958 poem, The Courtship of Miles Standish.

Noted as one of the earliest romances in the new American colonies, the story of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins is complex. They arrived on the Mayflower together in 1620. Shortly after their arrival, Miles Standish - - a military captain - - took a liking to Mullins, calling her the loveliest maiden in Plymouth.

However, Standish was too uncomfortable to speak to Mullins on his own. Instead he sent his friend John Alden to speak on his behalf. Alden attempted to plead Standish's case but found that he was also enamoured with Mullins who returned his feelings. The couple, afraid of hurting Standish's feelings, did not connect until after they were told that their friend had been killed fighting Indians. During their wedding, Standish - - who had not been killed after all - - arrived and offered the newlyweds his blessing. He also begged their forgiveness for keeping them apart. Alden and Mullins had 11 children and were among the founders of the town of Duxbury, Massachusetts.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

Alexandrina Victoria, Queen Victoria, met her distant cousin, Prince Albert in 1839. It is said that she fell immediately in love with the young man. They were married in 1840. Victoria bore nine children over the next eighteen years. Albert was well known as Victoria's advisor, confidante, and best friend. She valued his opinion above that of most of her own state advisors. There were nearly always inseparable.

Prince Albert died of typhoid fever in December of 1861. Victoria continued to carry out her constitutional duties but she completely withdrew from the public view. She even refused requests from her government to open Parliament in person. Although there were some rumblings about Victoria's involvement with John Brown, a Scottish servant, most historians believe their relationship was strictly one of plutonic friendship since Victoria never appeared to recover from the death of her beloved Prince.

Abigail and John Adams

They carried on a half-century love affair during the Revolutionary War. Although born in a time in America when most women were not educated, Abigail Adams learned to read. This helped her develop an appreciation of current events. It was her intellect that attracted her to young attorney, John Adams. Their courtship was short and they married in 1764. Their intellectual and romantic relationship remained strong throughout their marriage, lasting more than 50 years.

Although the Revolutionary War and other national events forced Adams to be away from his home and family for long periods of time, the couple wrote regularly, composing long and affectionate letters of love. When Abigail joined her husband for state duties, she was treated as his advisor and valued partner. She was well known for her ability to observe and size people up and was also recognized for her ability to entertain in a grand welcoming style. After the completion of his presidency in 1801, the couple retired to their farm in Quincy, Massachusetts, where they remained together for another 17 years.

Few literary couples can conjure up the image of the love affair created by Robert and Elizabeth Browning. Elizabeth suffered a severe spinal injury at age 15, causing her to be confined to bed. To fill the time, she began seriously writing poetry something she had started as a hobby at the tender age of 13. In 1844, she published her first complete book entitled Poems. Her work impressed another poet by the name of Robert Browning. He corresponded with Elizabeth and they began a courtship by mail.

Eventually they met and fell in love, becoming engaged in 1845. However, the opposition of their union from Elizabeth's father forced them to elope in 1846. They eventually fled to Italy where they lived and worked for 15 years. Their own long romance and the many poems written to one another inspired a great deal of their combined work. Upon Elizabeth's death in 1861, Browning returned to England where he continued to work until his own death in 1889.

Marie and Pierre Curie

Marie Sklodowska was denied a formal education after high school because young women in Poland were not permitted to attend the university. To continue her education, the young girl spent every spare hour reading in the library. She saved her money and eventually moved to Paris in 1891 to study at the Sorbonne. It was there that she met a French chemist, Pierre Curie.

He was impressed by the industrious young student, luring her to work at the laboratory where he was director. They married in 1895. Although Pierre had already made a name for himself, it was not until he began working with his wife, Marie, that real success began to occur. In 1898, the couple discovered polonium and radium. They, along with scientist Henri Becquerrel won a Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903 for discovering radioactivity.

When Pierre died in 1904, Marie pledged to carry on their work. She took his place at the Sorbonne, becoming the school's first female teacher. In 1911 she became the first person to win a second Nobel Prize, this time for chemistry. Although the couple lived in near poverty because they spent most of their money on further research, they were always considered happy. Although idealistic in refusing to patent any of their lucrative discoveries because they sincerely believed that they belonged to the whole world, neither Marie nor Pierre felt they had missed anything in life. Marie ultimately died of leukemia in 1934, no doubt from a lifetime of exposure to high levels of radiation. Ironically, one of the enduring applications of the Curies' work has been in the treatment of cancer with radiation.

Seven stories of love from many different areas of the world and many different areas of life. One fictional and six historical; all based on one common thread - - that of true love.

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