How many of you have heard, “Am I speaking your language?” before and wondered what that meant. Or, “Sweetie – Let me put this into terms you can understand.” I have, right before a big argument. Some squabble that really was not about beer or soda cans in the sink escalated into a “Do you really love me?” session. For example, I asked for help picking up and he responded with an invitation to sit down, relax; “Let’s enjoy the game on television.” Situations like these, one wonders if everyone is speaking the same language. So what is really going on?
Dr. Gary Chapman explains it all in The Five Love Languages. According to him, you just bore witness to a miscommunication. I was asking my mate for an Act of Service (because that is what I appreciate) and my husband was asking for some Quality Time (because that is what HE appreciates.) What happened, because we were unable to recognize that we were both asking for LOVE in our own dialects, was an argument over seemingly petty things. Several such arguments can lead to a loss of hope and an eventual dissolution of a marriage.
Dr. Chapman explores five Love Languages in all: Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch. The basic premise is that if your “emotional need for Love” or “Love Tank” is full, “it creates a climate where the couple can deal with the rest of life in a much more productive manner.” You fill one’s Love Tank by identifying and speaking their Love Language. In effect, being bi-lingual, Dr. Chapman suggests will help the majority of marriages.
I learned a lot from this book, which has been around for many years (the “miscommunication” I referred to above was probably circa 2005). I was able to fully understand the material, and that gave me the confidence to discuss it with my husband. It was plain language- not psychobabble- that did not totally turn him off. Applying the principles has made the “rest of life”, military life, exciting and worthwhile.
Now, I bring you this review for two reasons.
One, most obvious, is that if you haven’t read this book, I think you’d benefit by doing so.
It’s been a staple around Army Wife Network since I wrote up just a few suggestions for a Military Spouse Recommended Reading List when I first came on board. The version about Love Languages of Children made our Military Children’s Recommended Reading List as well. From there we began a Book Club discussion of the book, which isn’t “on record” any longer since we took down the discussion boards, but one retired Loving A Soldier blogger did a good sum up of Chapters 1 -3 here. Finally, Tara and I stalked Dr. Gary Chapman, who is known for his support of military families, and he agreed to do an Army Wife Talk Radio show in 2008.
He had many wonderful ideas about how to show your love even during the times of separation and extreme duress that military families endure. It’s hard to share all we’ve learned through the years from this book, although, Tara did do a good job with this blog,
“I know what it’s like to just want a hug…”
That brings us to the second reason: We know a lot of you have learned similar lessons and have been impacted by Dr. Chapman’s wonderful ministry. So – BIG ANNOUNCEMENT — the time has come for him, you, us, and author Jocelyn Green to put those ideas down on paper for the creation of a 5 Love Languages Military Edition book!
Jocelyn has authored and been a part of many book projects for the military and about the military: Faith Deployed, Battlefields and Blessings, and her new fiction series about Heroines Behind the Lines. You may have heard Jocelyn on our AWTR show a time or two as well. She has asked our help in replacing every civilian marriage illustration and anecdote in the original 5 Love Languages book to a military marriage story. That’s a lot of stories!
If you have read the 5 Love Languages and would like to share how it’s worked in your own marriage—or maybe how you adapted it to fit the military marriage—you are invited to take a survey. For this book, Jocelyn and Dr. Chapman need stories from both halves, not just the “spouses,” so share the survey link with your service member too.
**Please note that for this book, real names will not be used, in order to protect your privacy. You will be given you a fake first name, but the correct branch of service will be represented. Feel free to ask questions here or contact Jocelyn Green via her website.