The word “love” is mentioned 38 times in this post.
Do you know how to love? Really think about it. How many healthy, positive, relationships do you have in your life? Are most, some or any of them thriving? Do you feel like you are receiving as much love as you are giving in your relationships? Maybe you are married or dating someone who you wish would do or say things differently. Maybe you feel like your friendship with somebody is one-sided and you’re tired of trying so hard.
It’s hard to love some people. Personally, it’s hard to love my family sometimes.
But since I value having quality relationships with them, I’m learning how to practice unconditional love. It’s been a few years of healing that are far from over.
I know I’m not the only one that struggles to ask “how can I make your life easier?” or “what can I do to help you?” to people that can be ungrateful, unpleasant or unappreciative.
I’m not the only one who is quick to give advice when maybe all the other person wanted was a listening ear, or a heartfelt hug.
I’m not the only one to withdraw my love when I’ve felt like somebody else has withdrawn theirs. Or to withdraw my self instead of communicating my feelings with whoever is causing me or someone else pain.
This isn’t just a book review, I swear.
Gary Chapman originally wrote “The Five Love Languages for Married Couples” to help sustain marriages. He got such an incredible response that he decided to write a book with the same concepts for singles. This book focuses on a whole lot more than just romantic relationships. The methods outlined in the book can be applied to any relationship in your life.
Chapman theorizes that there are five different ways that humans show love to others, and five ways that humans crave to feel loved.
Verbally: complimenting and praising others
Spending time: one-on-one time, focusing on them
Acts of service: doing the laundry, raking the leaves, running errands
Gifts: giving thoughtful gifts at any time for no apparent reason
Physical Touch: hugs, kisses, a press on the arm, a squeeze on the shoulder
Often times we find ourselves frustrated with our relationship with another person.
We might be mad at a family member for habitually tracking sand up the stairwell after coming in from outside.
We might be upset with our SO or spouse because they never say “thank you” enough after cooking them a nice meal.
We could resent our aunt for forgetting to send a birthday card two years in a row.
The love that I crave is different than the love my sister craves. I need to spend quality time with people to fill my love tank. She needs to give and receive hugs and touch to fill her love tank.
The love I give and crave is different than the love my stepmom gives and craves. I give her a basket of yarn to show my love for her, when what she craved was for somebody to wash the kitchen floors for once. She prepares food and vacuums to show her love for me when I craved to be invited to watch a show with her in the living room.
If we don’t understand the kind of love a person is showing, we don’t feel loved. When we don’t give the kind of love a person is seeking, they don’t feel loved. It’s important to understand what kind of love people crave, and how we give it.
Gary Chapman gives lots of real-life examples of people overcoming tough times in their relationships with others after effectively learning to love them. Learning how to love enhances relationships.
One of my favorite quotes from the book The Five Love Languages for Singles, found on page 148 is:
“Our differences are numerous, but our basic needs are the same. If we are to serve people, which is life’s highest calling, then we must know them — male and female.”
This book has helped me tremendously and I’ve been raving about it to most everyone in my life. Cuz lets be honest, we ALLLLL got problems with other people in our lives. By reading this book, you can learn what kinds of love make you most fulfilled, which ways you tend to express love to others, and figure out which way other people in your life need to be loved and how you can practice loving them.
It’s worth it, I promise.
Love you all ❤