How’s your relationship with your mate? Your children? Your parents? Your siblings?
It may be a matter of the state of the “love tank“. Author Gary Chapman in his book “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate” believes everyone has a love tank, and that tank is filled by different love languages.
These five languages are Gifts, Words of Affirmation, Quality of Time, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. Often, we tend to give love in the languages we are most fluent in, which usually ends up being the languages that fill up our love tank. This would be why a husband who does yard work, dishes, car maintenance, etc. (Acts of Service) is floored when his wife says “You never show me you love me. You never cuddle with me, or caress my hair, or make the first move for sex.” (Physical Touch). Or, “Why don’t you spend time with me? Why do you work so much?” (Quality Time). And, “Why don’t you buy me flowers? Why don’t you ever get me cards or balloons…just because?” (Gifts) Or “You never tell me what I mean to you. Why don’t you ever share with me what I mean to you, or what my good qualities are?” (Words of Affirmation) But, if her language is primarily Acts of Service, she’ll feel so loved and honored because her husband does so many things for her, and thus feels “full” in her love tank. This may not sound like a big deal, but considering the divorce rate is 50% (as one relationship instance), and so many seem to be unhappy with their primary relationships, the concept of love languages may very well be a signficant factor in understanding self and others, and in relationship growth. Perhaps relationships get rocky or arrive at an impasse because individuals are speaking a different love language than what fills up the “love tank” of the object of their affection…and a result, the recipient doesn’t feel loved. It’s not that they feel empty and unfufilled because love isn’t being given, but because the language “spoken” is not something that registers to the recipient as a form of love. Chapman further theorizes that we usually have 2 main love languages that fill up our tank.
He also says that if a person has a hard time identifying their main love languages, they’ve either been on empty for so long and are out of touch with their needs, or they have been so filled up by their spouse, that all 5 languages tend to speak to them equally. A story in the book that illustrates the love tank theory is the “burnt toast syndrome”. A woman was sick in bed. Her husband would always bring her burnt toast to her when she was ailing. She was so hurt and offended by this repeated insensitivity and ignorance, that she finally burst into tears one day, and asked him why he did that…and didn’t he care? She was floored to hear him say “I’m sorry honey. I had no idea. Burnt toast is my favorite, and I gave you what I would consider my favorite breakfast…burnt toast.” Chapman writes: “When your spouse’s emotional love tank is full and he feels secure in your love, the whole world looks right and your spouse will move out to reach his highest potential in life. But when the love tank is empty and he feels used but not loved, the whole world looks dark and he will likely never reach his potential for good in the world.”
I recommend this book highly. It could very well be a relationship saver!
- 15 Simple Ways to Protect and Build Up Your Relationship (socyberty.com)
- 21 Tips for Being a Fantastic Boss (mpdailyfix.com)
- Love Language (andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com)
- Five love languages revisited (levite.wordpress.com)
- The Five Love Languages, A Book Review (brighthub.com)