Sunday

Speaking Gary Chapman's Love Language

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It was obvious the two travelers standing in the hotel lobby weren't communicating very well. As I watched them struggle to understand each other, I realized the situation was pretty hopeless. Despite a lack of desire, interest, and enthusiasm, they simply weren't speaking the same language.

Many couples today are just as frustrated as these two travelers.

Despite the fact that they can speak the same national language, husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, friends, co-workers, and family members struggle to communicate love and appreciation to each other. A language barrier of a different kind is at the root of their problems.  

"What if you could do or say just the right thing guaranteed to make that special someone feel loved?" asks Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the book The Five Love Languages. His book, which has sold over 7 million copies and been translated into 38 different languages, answers the question.

After 10 years of marriage and family counseling, Dr. Chapman realized that people give and receive love in five different ways--through physical touch and closeness, acts of service, words of affirmation, quality time, and gift-giving. People tend to express love in the way they best receive love. Unfortunately, if the person on the receiving end of these expressions of love doesn't share their love language, that person often feels unloved, despite the other's sincere attempts.

I had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Chapman when he was in Columbia, South Carolina, to present his seminar, The Marriage You've Always Wanted. As I prepared to interview this man whose ministry has revolutionized so many relationships, I wanted to express my appreciation to him. 

My first thought as I pictured him and his assistant flying in, getting settled in their respective hotel rooms, and preparing for the next day's conference, was how devoid of creature comforts many hotel rooms are. I decided that after a long day of traveling and an even longer evening of preparation for the upcoming conference, they'd probably be ready for a snack before they retired for the evening. 

I'll bake them cookies, I decided. And bake I did. My best and most favorite recipe--Oatmeal Walnut.
Later that day, however, as I was looking over my interview questions and flipping through the Love Languages book, I read a section where Dr. Chapman shared a vignette about the early days of his (now 61-year) marriage. "My wife's love language is acts of service," he said, "and mine is words of affirmation."

Uh-oh.

I realized that despite my earnest desire to demonstrate appreciation to Dr. Chapman by bringing him homemade cookies, my offering was going to fall far short of my intended mark.

I was a classic example of the language barrier Dr. Chapman so often writes about!

Because my love language is acts of service, I automatically defaulted to planning an act of service to express my appreciation to Dr. Chapman. While I'm sure my gift of cookies would have been appreciated, I realized there was a better way to communicate my kind thoughts.

I met Dr. Chapman and his wonderful assistant Janis in the lobby of the Marriott hotel, and after introductions and hand shakes, I began, "Dr. Chapman, I'd like to express my thanks to you for all you have done through your books and seminars. . ." 

I proceeded to share a story about how my husband and I used the principles of his book to lead a marriage conference in Mexico. "Raul and Ellen attended," I related, "and during the time we spent together, they both prayed to receive Christ as their Savior. Six years later, they are active in church and growing in their faith. Thank you."

"Thank you so much for sharing that story," he said quietly.

While I can only guess what my words meant to him, I can say with reasonable confidence that by making the effort to speak his love language instead of my own, I was able to most effectively communicate affirmation to him.

Now I must confess, I still brought the cookies. And as I was leaving the interview, I jokingly asked him, "Would you like to take a guess at what my love language is?"

"Well," he responded with a smile, "if you bought these cookies, I'd say gift-giving. If you baked them, then it would have to be acts of service."

Bingo. 

Do you know your love language? How about your spouse's, children's, friends, co-workers'? If not, I encourage you to visit The 5 Love Languages website for a free quiz. It could revolutionize the way you relate to the people you care about the most.




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22 comments:

  1. I completed all 4 steps. My love language is "acts of service."

    Bridget Myer
    bridgetmyer@yahoo.com

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    Replies
    1. Many thanks, Bridget. May God use your "share" to impact someone else today :)

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  2. Thanks for this reminder that each of us express our love language in one of five ways. I have Dr. Chapman's book, but The Love Languages Bible sounds intriguing. It's so great that you got to meet him up-close-and-personal, Lori!
    My love language is words of affirmation.

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    1. Aw, Buffy, I could have guessed that about your love language -- you're one of the most encouraging people I know. Keep speaking it, dear friend!

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  3. Thank-you Lori...I have a friend who will truly benefit from this...

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    1. Sally,
      It goes with my prayers that God will use this encouragement in her life today. You're a good friend :)

      Delete
  4. Hi Lori,

    Great post and give-away! I have just posted about how The Five Love Languages works in my relationship this morning and linked up with The Better Mom. That's how I found you.

    My husband's love language is Acts of Service though we took a long time figuring that out. He is also a Words of Affirmation guy but he prefers those words to be spoken to others about him than directly to him.

    So, I have completed all four steps you requested. I'm looking forward to your emails.

    Colleen :)

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    Replies
    1. Colleen, isn't it funny how God's spirit uses many voices to share his truth? I guess each one of us are placed in our own circles of influence to impact those around us. I understand about your hubby's love of "catching" you saying good things about him. Just like the roses my hubby sent me in college were that much more special because all my colleagues could see them, so the power of our words is magnified when spoken in public. You're a good wife to recognize this and put it into practice!

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  5. I tried to enter my email to subscribe, feedburner said: The feed does not have subscriptions by email enabled.
    However I did like your Facebook page and I am commenting here.

    I noticed that my husband's love language is physical touch and mine are words of affirmation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ok now I got it to work (subscription. I had to use the one at the top right hand side of the page :)

      Delete
    2. Good for you, Kris, for persevering. I hope your subscription to Be Not Weary will encourage you long after the giveaway is over. Blessings on you and your marriage!

      Delete
  6. Jennifer Mundy8:02 AM

    Good morning Lori,
    I go to church with Heather and I recieved your devotional today. I am always blessed by your devotionals, and was blessed again this morning when I read this one. My love language is acts of service, and my husband's love language is words of affirmation and physical touch and closeness. I completed all 4 steps.

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    Replies
    1. Jennifer! Any friend of Heather is a friend of mine. Thanks so much for visiting, and for commenting. God's blessings today :)

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    2. Hi Jennifer,

      I'm delighted to say that you're the winner of the Love Language Devotional Bible. If you'll send me your street address, Dr. CHapman's kind staff will mail it right out to you, perhaps in time for Christmas. I look forward to hearing from you, and congratulations!

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  7. I completed all four steps. My love language is quality time.

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  8. I completed 3/4 steps. I love Gary Chapman and his teachings. I believe my husband's love language is acts of service.

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  9. A note to anonymous, who subscribed for comments and is now getting three of each -- you can delete your original comment. That might help. You can also try replying to your original comment. When you do, you'll see a Subscribe by email link below the comment box that says Subscribe by email. If you click it, it will then change to Unsubscribe and you can do that. I'm not sure if that will work with the original comment subscribe, but it's worth a try. Sorry they've been bothersome!

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  10. I did all four. I love this book but haven't read it awhile. I would love to have a copy!

    Lindsey at Growing Kids Ministry .com (email)

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  11. I don't know what our love languages are -- that's why I need the book! :)

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  12. That's great! I'm so glad you linked up and shared this. My love language is gifts. When my husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas I replied, "a house full of people I love." and says , "Great, my wife who's love language is gifts, wants a house full of people." We laughed, and then I promised to make him a list! :)

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  13. Thank you so much for sharing about Gary Chapman. I'm not sure what my love language is. I have the book but need to read it. The comment section is the only one I am doing as I have done the others.

    Thanks so much for sharing this over at WholeHearted Home's Linkup.

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  14. You know, I don't know what my husband's love language is...sad to say! I really need to read that book so I can figure it out and vice versa! :D Thanks for linking up this week!

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