Friday, March 03, 2006

Recommended reading for a better marriage

Okay, this book I have read. My brother recommended it to me before. It's "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. The title sounds hokey so it might turn you off. If you're not a religious person, the fact that he's writing with a Christian slant may bother you (but he's only got a few paragraphs that mention any Biblical characters -- you can skip those if you want without missing the main points of the book). Once you get past the cheesy cover and title, and the religious stuff, the rest can be extremely useful in creating a more fulfilling marriage for both partners.

Chapman believes that the key to a successful marriage is the ability for each partner to communicate love to the other in his/her primary love language. His five love languages (and my super-short summaries) are:

1. Words of Affirmation (compliments, praise, etc.)
2. Quality time (certain period of time devoted to focused, undivided attention towards each other)
3. Gifts
4. Acts of Service (doing chores that your partner hates to do, doing tasks that are expected or asked of you)
5. Physical Touch (holding hands, hugging, massaging, kissing, or beyond)

One of these, your primary language, makes you feel the most loved when you receive it. I knew exactly what mine was when I read one of Chapman's anecdotes -- he's collected many from his marriage therapy sessions. I started crying because the woman he was talking about could have been me! Not that I need marriage therapy, but this woman had exactly the same problem -- not enough quality time from her husband. It's difficult when you have a child who goes to bed late and a husband who doesn't feel like talking when he gets home from work. Now, we need to actually schedule in some regular quality time for my sake, and it'd be nice if he scheduled some special dates once in awhile (the romance is gone when he asks me to arrange them myself).

From reading all the anecdotes, you may discover your or your partner's primary love language immediately. Otherwise, there is a little quiz at the back of the book to help you figure it out.

I do think that if John communicates love to me in my primary love language all the time, instead of through means that he thinks translate into love better (gifts, flowers, etc.), I will feel more loved and be more happy and secure in our relationship. I would trade in a bouquet of flowers for 15 minutes of his undivided attention anytime.

I would like to go into more detail with the book, but I think I'll let you read it to figure out if it speaks to you, too.

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