This is the first review in a series of posts about books for married men.
It's a pretty common recommendation for newlyweds to read, and for good reason. Dr. Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages is a relationship classic with editions for couples, singles, parents, divorcees, those struggling to feel God's love…. I know without a doubt that it has helped Emma and I to understand and show love for each other - which makes us both feel more loved!
The basic premise is that expressions of love come in five different categories: Acts of Service, Gifts, Physical Touch, Quality Time, and Words of Affirmation. I'm a words of affirmation person, so if you want to make me feel loved, leave a comment! (A positive one, of course!) While the categories have a lot of overlap - spending quality time with your spouse can be a gift and is often extremely affirming - it makes things easier to have them laid out in a clear and concise framework. From that framework, you can build all sorts of understanding of your significant other, and of yourself.
For instance, I hate being teased. I always have. And I hate it when something I do wrong affects others. Both of those are symptoms of my primary love language; they're negative affirmation, and I respond particularly negatively to those situations. Knowing that helps me to keep my cool when I forget something that Emma and I needed on a particular errand, or when she teases me in fun without knowing that I'm not in the same fun mindset. Not saying I'm always successful, but I'm a lot less likely to blow my top since I understand my own negative reactions. And it helps Emma, both to know that teasing me isn't nice, and that she isn't going to get blown away when I blow up.
I recommend the book to anyone who is in a relationship. The quiz at the end to tell you which love language you identify with isn't perfect, but it certainly pointed me in the right direction.