The 5 Love Languages Saved Anne's Marriage
If not for the book "The 5 Love Languages", my friend Anne wouldn't be married now. It saved her marriage and it definitely is a must-read for all couples.
Anne and I had been classmates from year 4. We sat next to each other in class from year 4 to year 6. Although we were in different classes in secondary school, we met every day during recess. We were best of friends. Although we went to different universities, we often kept in touch. Soon after we graduated, Anne called me one day to say that she was getting married. I was shocked because I knew about her personal life and I was sure that she didn't have a boyfriend. Her parents wanted her to marry a man of their choice. She was agreeing to an arranged marriage.
When we met that weekend, I told her not to bow down to pressure from her parents. I was trying to fight back tears because I couldn't stand the thought of losing my friend to some guy I hadn't met or rather she herself hadn't met. She couldn't say 'no' to her very strict and conservative parents.
Their wedding took place 4 months later. I didn't like her husband, Alex, from the word go. She didn't know him well enough to love him, but she felt that like all other arranged marriages, both of them would fall in love when they lived together.
Anne and I kept in touch although we were in different countries. Alex worked in Singapore and she relocated to be with her husband.
When asked how married life was, she always said that they were still learning about each other. However, 6 months down the road, she called me one day and started sobbing. She didn't want to be with Alex anymore. She felt that they had so many differences and she was losing interest in being with him. I asked if there was a third person and she said 'no'.
When she told me about the differences in detail, I realized that Alex wasn't really a bad guy. Both of them were trying very hard to give each other their best but they often clashed in their love languages.
She expected him to help her with the housework because she had a full-time job too. However, he didn't come from a family where men did any housework and therefore, felt that she could do it herself. As a result, she started telling him off which drove him up the wall and he started shouting at her too. He felt bad the next day and came home with little gifts for her but she couldn't appreciate them because he still didn't want to help her with the housework. He wanted her to sit with him in the evenings as he wanted to tell her about his day. However, she was too busy talking to her family members on the phone. He had started coming home late because he felt that she was nagging him and besides, she wasn't interested in spending time with him. She was furious for spending time with his friends after work and not with her.
Anne was contemplating leaving Alex although she had been with him only for 6 months. She said that they started having problems almost immediately after getting married.
Although, I wasn't crazy about Alex, I felt that this wasn't entirely his fault. I didn't want to be selfish and encourage Anne to leave Alex although it meant that I would get my friend back.
I did a Google search on how to improve relationships between couples and came across a book entitled "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman.
I found the book in a book store the very next day. When I started reading it, I couldn't put this book down. This was definitely the book for Anne and Alex.
I read the book in two days. I bought two more copies and couriered them separately to Anne and Alex. I wrote a card for Alex saying that it was a late wedding gift for him.
It was really interesting to find out that there were 5 different love languages. They were words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, gifts and physical touch.
Words of affirmation
Some people want to hear praises and compliments. "You're beautiful", "You are the best thing that happened to me" and "You are my life" are words that fill up their love tanks.
Some want undivided time and attention from their partners. This means that they want their partner to be solely focused on them. Being partially focused on the tv or the newspaper will not be accepted.
Some want gifts from their partner. The more effort and thought the partner puts into the gift, the more appreciation is felt by the receiver and this fills his or her love tank.
Acts of Service
Some want their partners to help them with the household chores and other work which will help them ease their burden.
This shouldn't be mistaken for sex. Some people receive love through hugs, kisses, strokes, pats and other forms of physical touch. They thrive with a very tactile partner.
Upon reading the book, Anne realized where she was going wrong. Acts of service wasn't a love language of Alex. Nevertheless, he tried to compensate with gifts. He started raising his voice only after she started getting very negative with him. He wanted quality time in the evenings but she was more interested in talking for hours with her family members. Although Alex hadn't touched the book for a few weeks, Anne knew that she had to change a few things in the way she expressed her feelings for Alex. I told her not to expect him to give her the love languages she needed straightaway because he hadn't read the book yet.
To begin with, Anne started cutting down the time she spent on the phone with her family members and friends. She didn't complain about the housework and stopped using negative words towards Alex. After about 3 weeks, he realized that there was a change in Anne and that she was trying to change her ways and expectations.
He showed his appreciation with more gifts and she thanked him. He asked her why she was making an effort to do things differently and she told him that the book about the 5 love languages had given her an insight into how couples expressed and received love. This motivated him to read the book. The book definitely made him aware of his wife's love languages and his inability to fulfill those.
Anne and Alex have been together for a year and a half now and they can't be happier. When I spoke to Anne last, she said that she nor Alex is perfect. However, they know how to fill each other's love tanks and they have come a long way in their marriage.
Anne and Alex have recommended the 5 Love Languages to all their married and unmarried friends. They feel that this book saved their marriage.
By D. Huben