One of the coolest things ever is when something or someone just clicks. Like, out of the blue something is said and it just makes so much sense that you can’t hardly stand it.
That’s kinda how I felt when I started re-listening to the book The Five Love Languages. You see, if we were to travel back in time, way back… Marriage number 1. I would have done anything to salvage my marriage. I was so naive it was
pathetic cute. I still believed that “happily ever after” just happened and when you got married it was forever. You can stop laughing now…
I picked up a book called The Five Love Languages … among others… because I was convinced that the magic answer was in those pages and I’m nothing if not an academic at heart. I’ve always believed that any problem could be solved with the right reference material.
What I didn’t count on was that both parties have to see something worth saving… Ouch.
Even though the book didn’t salvage either of my previous relationships, the words within made an impact on me. And not just in a romantic sense. What if…
What if you could unlock the code to expressing love to the people in your world who matter most? Your parents, children, friends and lovers..
What if the people who matter most in your world could unlock the code to expressing love in a way that you could hear?
When I was over at storage a few weeks back, I stumbled upon my dusty copy of the Audio Book version and popped it back in the CD player. As I began to listen again, a flood of emotions overtook me. There I am, driving down the road not doing the full on ugly cry but thankful that I wasn’t wearing makeup so I didn’t have to worry about my mascara running. And when I say a flood of emotions – I mean a FLOOD. Memories of the places I was at emotionally the last two times I had picked this up… The feelings of hurt and betrayal when you finally have to admit that your partner doesn’t find you worth the effort. The insecurities of wondering if you are worth the effort… The feeling of hope as you embark on a new chapter in life that feels stronger and more solid because of the friends you have chosen to surround yourself with and the security you have in yourself. Excitement as you watch your children who are blossoming into amazing teenagers in spite of all the ways you may have fucked up.
As I listened to the words that I’ve heard before, it was like I suddenly was listening with new ears. One of the first things that the author Gary Chapman brings up is the concept of the Love Tank.
Funny thing is… I remembered the Love Tank Analogy… I remembered the 5 different love languages… I remembered my love language… I failed to remember that they were from the same source.
He goes on to discuss how so many issues can be attributed to empty tanks… from the behavior in our children to adults to our own reactions….
I know – you are thinking but of COURSE I love my kids/spouse/family/whatever and they KNOW it… but what if they don’t? What if you are telling them/ showing them your love in English and the only language they understand is Mandarin?
What if … no matter how much someone WANTS to “give more” they can’t because their tank is empty?
There’s a reason flight attendants tell you to put your mask on first before helping others… You may have read that here before. I believe it in. WHOLEHEARTEDLY.
What if by keeping our tanks full, without relying on someone else to do it for us, we are better able to give AND receive love?
I mentioned on Monday that my love tank was a bit on the empty side… recognizing the problem is the first step. Finding ways to fill it takes effort. It’s not fair to expect anyone in your life to automatically KNOW how to fill your tank… unless you are in a relationship with a psychic and if you are, can we talk lotto numbers? You have to tell them… but what if you don’t know?
I hope that you’ll stick around for the next few Fridays as we talk about Love tanks and Languages… and if you aren’t familiar, I hope you’ll buy the book or at the VERY least take the quiz Dr. Chapman offers so that you can figure out what YOUR Love Language is. There’s even a separate quiz for your kids to take. I’ve already printed a copy and am going to have the boys take the quiz as well.
Funny thing is, when you start thinking in terms of peoples love languages, you may find yourself acting differently with them. My Mom for example. The boys and I have determined that her love language is Acts of Service.
The other day, she was asking Dad to move a freezer… a chore he wasn’t all that excited to do… so I let the conversation die down and went and took care of it. She beamed and it filled her tank a little bit.
Best part is, it wasn’t hard to do something to fill her tank a bit and the opportunity to do something that was appreciated filled my tank a bit. It’s like a hug – can’t give without getting one in return.
So look at the people in your world… any clues on what their love language is? Or is this something you’ve already explored?