Friday, June 28, 2013

The Five Love Languages and Purpose

Morrie Schwartz

Roy Croft

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

Lao Tzu

I really, really should stop now.  I should take a break.  I don’t know what I’m doing or why I’m doing it.  To be more precise, I know what I’m doing; I’m writing another blog, only a few minutes after completing one.  I just don’t know why I’m doing it.  That last blog felt like I was pulling teeth.  Still, I did it.  Now I keep going.
What inspired me to keep going was a friend’s kind words that my writing was getting better as a result of doing these blogs.  That helped.  My love language is Words of Affirmation.  My what?  My love language.  What is a love language?  A love language is the way one expresses love and receives love.  There are five of them, according to Dr. Gary Chapman in his book The Five Love Languages, the languages are
-       Words of Affirmation
-       Physical Touch
-       Acts of Service
-       Quality Time
-       Gifts.

As I said, each of these is a way to express love and receive love.  My primary way of feeling loved is when someone affirms me.  If someone praises me, and especially if the praise is specific, I feel loved.
I also feel loved with Physical Touch.  I like hugs, holding hands and being physically near the people I love.
The way I give love is Gifts.  When I find just the right birthday or Christmas gift for someone, I feel great.  I also express love through Physical Touch.
Here are some things I’ve learned about the five love languages:
-       None of these gifts are better than the other.
-       It’s good to give and receive all of them, but usually two are dominant.
-       To use these effectively with someone you love, find out what his or her love language is and speak in that way.   In other words, if my daughter needs quality time, she will not feel loved if all I do is give her gifts.
-       Everybody is different and has a different pair of dominant love languages.  It’s important to learn what they are.

I like this because it quantifies ways in which I can express love and it helps me to know how to be more specifically loving.  It’s also helpful because it helps me remember that love is not just a feeling; it is also a commitment.  In the book, Chapman says, “Dr. Dorothy Tennov, a psychologist, has done long-range studies on the in-love phenomenon. After studying scores of couples, she concluded that the average life span of a romantic obsession is two years.” 
So what do I do when the feelings fade?  Then I love.  And I love by taking action.  I love by working to meet the other person’s needs. 
Here are some other ways I can express love:
-       Trust
-       Commitment
-       Fun
-       Respect
-       Friendship
-       Shared interests
-       Desire

A friend who has been married for over 30 years told me that feelings can go up and down like a roller coaster, but that commitment never has to change.  I like that because emotions can often be overrated.  They can drive far too much of our lives.  But commitment is the very essence of Purpose.  It is also the very essence of love.  Commitment says Get Started and Keep Going every day.  I’m okay if the feelings aren’t always there.  This has certainly been true of my writing.  The feeling is not always there but the commitment always is.   And because of that, love is always there.