“The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate” by Gary Chapman is a relationship-building book I was given many years ago, but must admit, I never read. I skimmed its pages and was coworkers with the nephew of the author, so I knew the jist of the book. Although, I never read the book (in its entirety) I agreed with the idea that, as relationship-desiring humans, we have a way of feeling and expressing love to our friends, partners and family. According to Chapman there are five love languages and we are able to learn new ones, so that we might give love to those we love, in the way they feel and understand love to be.
It was through a series of events between partners, family and friends that lead me to understand my own “love language.” For years, I could tell you I knew when someone loved me, but I couldn’t put it into words. I knew that I trusted and respected these people. That the things they did in their lives, to others and to me, I appreciated and admired, but I couldn’t say WHY they loved me, I just knew they did.
Just recently I found myself sitting down with a pad of paper writing a list of the ones I found to be loving, honest and respectable people in my life. On the other side of the paper, I wrote the names of the ones that (in so many words) didn’t make the cut. The main difference between the ones that did make the “love list” and the ones that didn’t were actions. The people in my life who’s actions match consistently with their words, were the ones I valued, respected and knew loved me. I think this is because I felt they had enough respect and value for me, to stay consistent and truthful, even in times of hardship.
It made me look back on numerous situations with partners when I would feel rejected, betrayed and disappointed that their actions and words did not match up. In so many ways, I suppose they were lying, whether knowingly or not, they were not being honest in what they said and that was enough to prove to me that love did not live in that relationship. When you value someone enough to be consistent with them, you build trust and trust builds love. I don’t value just words alone. Words only have power if you give them power and I believe power of Word is gained through action. Don’t tell me you love, show me. Don’t gush on my intelligence, have a conversation with me. Be as active in your commitment to me, as you would be to your own life. It was through this, that I realized why I love others the way I do. Even when times are hard, I make it a point to keep consistent, communicate and stay true to my action.
Of course, as Chapman writes there are five different love languages, but I think all five can agree that consistency and honesty are the key to all of them, and even though I didn’t read the whole book, I do encourage all of you to try it out, if only to know your own love language… and then write me back and tell me what you learn.