Funny I had to pick this book to read first after owing it for about two months.
I am going to lump chapters 1 and 2 under introduction as the next 5 chapters focus on each of the love languages. I figured this book was going to be interesting and so far I haven’t been proved wrong.
Where do I begin?
Married or single, young or old, every human has the emotional need to feel loved – Gary Chapman.
He began by telling about how much as humans we crave love. I agree. As social and emotional beings, the need to love is inherent in us. We were created to love and God put in us the capacity to love. It is only when this need is met we can fulfil the potentials God has put in us. The first two chapters explored who single adults are and why love is the key to relationships. While this book focused primarily on dating (male-female relationship), the principles can also be applied in our other relationships (boss-subordinate, parent-child, brother-sister and so on).
Chapter 1 focused on who the single adult is and the five groups of single adults: never married, divorced, separated but not divorced (which most times leads to divorce), widowed and single parents. Single hood is as diverse as there are many people on earth. However, we are all united by the need to love and feel loved. Without love, life becomes increasingly bleak. We all at one point in time have that one friend or friends who stood by us in time of need or wished we had someone who did so. Comes down to the need to feel loved.
Love is the fundamental building block of all human relationship– Gary Chapman.
God Himself who created us is love. How much more, we his creation.
Chapter 2 starts off with this quote I love so much. I have always said we humans are social beings who crave interaction and having people around. No matter how much of an introvert a person is. Once in a while, we want people around.
“We are relational creatures. All humans live in a community and most people seek social interaction”.
He went on to discuss how our relationships with one or both parents have an effect on our relationships with others. He discussed how lack of love from parents often motivates children to go searching for love in other places; means by which to compensate for the emptiness and lack of love. That is why you see very successful people unable to build and maintain positive relationships with others.
He then broke down what a romantic relationship is. The different stages in a romantic relationship.
Stage 1 The Obsessive Stage of Love: This stage has an average life span of 2 years. This is the stage Pastor Bimbo called the honeymoon stage. During this stage, we live under the illusion that our partner is perfect. Nothing anybody else says makes sense. Doesn’t matter whether she was married to 5 men or he hasn’t held a steady job in 5 years. As long as we are both happy, all is well. It starts with the tingles. The breathlessness. The “I just want to be with him/her everyday”. It is in this obsessed stage a lot of people get married and start living together. This stage requires little or no effort. However, marriage requires a lot of work and effort.
I think a lot of us can relate to this stage. Over the years, I have seen it happen to friends and even myself. Nothing else anybody says matters. Even when others see something evidently wrong with the relationship, we don’t. And they don’t dare tell us there is something wrong lest they be labelled. However, if it is going to go further and lead to marriage, a lot of things have to be considered and worked on.
Stage 2 The Covenant Stage of Love: At this stage, love must be fed and nurtured. The obsessiveness begins to fade and we start to discover there is more to life than this. Illusions evaporate and the euphoria dissipates. The differences in personality, interests, lifestyles, families, backgrounds, become obvious. Your lover can no longer meet your needs. So you begin to demand of the person and when such demands are not met, you withdraw or lash out in anger thus driving the other party away. He then asked if such a tarnished relationship can be reborn and answered yes.
Covenant love is conscious love. It is intentional love. It is a commitment to love no matter what. It requires thought and action– Gary Chapman.
Your behaviour affects your partner’s emotion. Covenant love requires two factors- knowledge of the nature of love and the will to love.
He then states that there are 5 fundamental love languages; five ways to express love emotionally. Each person has his/her own primary love language. One of the five speaks more deeply to us than the other four. We receive love through all five but one cuts through the soul when used. The issue however is that most times, we tend to speak our own love language rather than our partner’s. We express love the way we want to be loved not the way the partner wants to be loved. For example, for some it is in the action rather than in saying “I love you”. A partner saying the words because he/she prefers that could get into trouble if the other party is more of an action, you show me you love me person.
He made an interesting statement. “Many dating relationships become troubled, especially if the couple dates beyond the two-year obsessive stage of passionate love. Often these couples break up and go their separate ways, not because they would not have made good martial partners, but because they lost the emotional love they had for each other. Often this could have been remedied had they discovered each other’s primary love language and learned to speak it“. Uhmmmmm. For a marriage counsellor of over 30 years, I am positive he has his facts right. Sad innit? However, it baffles me when you then hear some people dated 7 years, or 15 years. How did they do it? How manage?
I look at my parents and wonder how they did it. Dated 8 years. Knew each other years before then. Married almost 30 years. Or an uncle who has known his wife for almost 37 years and only being married 24 years. How do people date that long when it seems most relationships crash within 2 years. I guess like a friend once said “oko e ni oko e” (your husband/wife is yours). No matter how long it takes to get married, whoever is yours would stay. I may be wrong.
Makes sense that RCCG has a rule on marrying as soon as possible. For this and other reasons, that rule makes a lot of sense. However, what happens when you get married in stage 1 and discover you really don’t or shouldn’t be in that marriage? Things are not working out as thought/planned and you desperately want out but can’t leave because you are married. Do you stay on in a loveless marriage and pray something gives? I am an advocate for taking your time before you get married. Which I guess I got from my parents and maybe because they also believe in taking your time and not rushing into marriage. I however also don’t see myself dating someone for more than 2 max max 3 years. How do you balance that?
He then reiterates that though the book is mostly for dating (male and female; not male and male or female and female), the principles can be applied to other forms of relationship.
Learning to speak love and appreciation in a language the other person can receive is the key to enhancing all human relationships– Gary Chapman.
Looking forward to going through the chapters dedicated to each of the languages.