If you thought, "This post is probably about that 5 Love Languages book that Jenn just read" you'd be right! I read it, it spoke to me, and now I want to share. Because, really, who doesn't want to be better at making their significant other happy?
Book: The 5 Love Languages (my review)
The 5 Love Languages is written by Gary Chapman, a relationship counselor, and takes a look at how we communicate our feelings to our partner. The way Chapman writes is simpler and more direct than the other relationship book I've read (Men are from Mars... etc), and I really like that he doesn't sound like he's bragging when he gives examples. They're all just there to illustrate the point he's making.
Chapman says that we have 5 basic methods of showing our affection:
- Words of Affirmation - stating outright how you feel, what you appreciate about the other person, etc
- Acts of Service - doing things and using consideration for your partner to show how you feel
- Gifts - simple enough; physical things
- Quality Time - being together and being mentally engaged, whether you're talking or being active
- Physical Touch - not just sex! this is more about the non-sexual touching, like cuddling, holding hands, putting a hand on someone's shoulder, etc
Based on this premise, we fall in love and are enamored with the other person and it's easy to do things to make them happy. But that enamored high that we get from falling in love is a temporary thing, and after a certain time (roughly 2 years) it'll fade away, hopefully to be replaced with the more stable feeling we get by communicating each other's love language.
I was particularly excited about this 2 year time period for the infatuation thing, because that's what I personally have experienced. In my three long term relationships, the first 2 fell apart at the 2 year mark. They stuck around a bit longer than that, but only because we were terrible at letting go. We certainly weren't happy. This one I have higher hopes for. We both work hard to better ourselves and make each other happy and we flew by that 2 year mark over a year ago with no changes but for the better.
So if you were interested in advice from Jenn-the-not-a-relationship-counselor, it's this: DO NOT GET MARRIED UNTIL YOU'VE BEEN TOGETHER 2 YEARS. If you make it to 2 years, I think you're capable of making however long you want to, but until then you're all happy and not arguing about chores and you just don't know!!!
Anyway, back to the book. So what we tend to do is give the kind of consideration we want, which means communicating in the love language that we understand best. 4 chances out of 5, the other person has a different main type of love language (I mean, we all appreciate all the languages to some extent), so even though you're trying to express it to them, they might not be hearing it.
To fix that problem, think about what type of gestures they tend to appreciate most, and more importantly, what they complain about the most. Those complaints have a high probability of being fueled by your significant needing to hear you in the love language they understand.
The book also has a quiz in the back, but I honestly didn't think it was all that revealing. The first half of the book was great and had amazing insights (it spoke to me, what can I say?), and the last few chapters felt a bit more like filler.
Mine is probably Acts of Service. The #1 thing Significant and I fight about is chores. I'm actually kind of sad about this, because it's so mundane. Why couldn't it be quality time? Then we could be spending time out having adventures instead of arguing about who should do the dishes. Significant's I haven't figured out yet. He says none of them sound vastly more important, which Chapman says can be for 2 reasons: your love tank (yeah he uses that metaphor) has been full for a long time, or empty for a long time. So I'm either doing a really great or really terrible job. I hope it's the former...