In The 5 Love Languages Men's Edition: The Secret to Love That Lasts, Dr. Gary Chapman discusses the process of falling in love… you know the initial phase of your relationship defined by that feeling of euphoria that gets you through watching Hairspray live on Broadway without faking a medical condition and during which you still go to the other room to fart (He phrases it slightly different…).
That phase is not “true love.” It’s effortless (the “love,” that is, not the Hairspray thing… sitting through that took a ton of effort… ).
When you're falling in love, your emotional “love tank” overflows.
But then you land.
What happens when you land makes or breaks a relationship.
The “ground-level” love.
That takes physical, mental, and emotional effort.
But ground-level love can be much more rewarding than effortless, fart-in-the-other-room love if you're willing to put in the effort.
Enter the 5 Love Languages series of books by Dr. Gary Chapman, in which he explains that each person feels loved (or unloved) through different forms of expression.
Some feel loved through gifts, small or large; others feel loved through physical touch, like holding hands or super hugs; still others through acts of service, words of affirmation, and quality time.
Find someone’s “primary” love language and you’ll know how to show her you love her so she actually feels it.
Express love in the wrong way and you may be saying “I love you” but she might not feel it.
Worse yet, you might get frustrated (or “give up”) because you feel like you’re doing a ton to show her you love her, but it still doesn't help improve your relationship.
That's where we were for a while. Each of us was expressing love, but neither of us felt fully loved.
And both of us were frustrated.
It turns out we speak two different love languages.
I, for example, am pretty sure I feel loved through words of affirmation. Hugs are great. I could go without ever receiving a gift again. But kind, honest words make me feel warm inside. And the opposite make me feel pretty crappy if they come from someone close to me.
My wife’s love language is quality time. Looking back, it was quite obvious. But I never looked for it until I read the book. Since then I’ve been more intentional about expressing love in her language. Staying up a little later to chat, planning time together, etc.
Immediate results. She feels more loved. And it's flowed over into other parts of our relationship.
Have you landed yet?
If so, I highly recommend figuring out what each of your love languages is and being intentional in expressing love in a way that will make your spouse feel it.
It’s a powerful tool for the ground level.
P.s. You should still fart in another room. I’m pretty sure that’s the sixth love language that didn’t quite make the cut at Dr. Chapman's book publisher… And one everyone can appreciate.