An appraisal of ‘The Five Love Languages’ by Gary Chapman
Does your beloved really love you? How do you know? Because he says so? But do his actions match his ardent avowal, or does he merely provide the financial wherewithal and dispense knowledge like the household oracle? Nothing more?
As good New Church women we value the wisdom of our husbands, but sometimes despair when our unaided Martha chores overwhelm us. If our menfolk persist in remaining oblivious they should learn ‘the five languages of love’ advocated by Gary Chapman. And what is more, all of them are endorsed by the Marriage Love teachings of Emanuel Swedenborg.
Chapman explains that after thirty years of marital counselling he has come to the conclusion that each one of us has one or more love languages which delight us when we encounter them. He identified them as:
Words of Affirmation: complimentary words of appreciation.
Quality Time: giving undivided time and attention, and doing things together.
Receiving Gifts: to express the feeling of appreciation.
Acts of Service: serving the other ungrudgingly as proof of your love.
Physical Touch: a powerful expression of feelings.
Once you identify and use your spouse’s love language you will encourage a lasting, happy marriage.
The Writings endorse the use of complimentary language in number 293 of Marriage Love: ‘I know’, says Swedenborg, ‘that the fair words of your husbands and the cheerfulness of their minds affect you’. ‘Quality Time’ and ‘Deeds of Service’ chime with number 293 which promises, ‘By the external union of heat and light, our Lord breathes forth nothing but uses’.
Gifts are recommended in the Word where it is said that a good wife is ‘more precious than rubies’ and chaste ‘physical touch’ is advocated when Swedenborg, in admiring a conjugial couple, says of them, ‘there is a mutual inclination to reunite and conjoin themselves into a one’ – provided their ‘love is celestial, spiritual, holy, pure and clean’(64).
Not only does Gary Chapman give practical advice in The Five Love Languages – How to express Heartfelt Commitment to your Mate, but his views are also rooted in the teachings of the New Church on how a marriage can grow in grace. My husband, Ken, and I have been married for 58 happy years and are still working on sound marital health. Acquiring the love languages does help!