Love and Its Five Languages

When my marriage, at its young age, was in a threat of ending last year, I came upon Gary Chapman. He has been into marriage counselling for 3 decades now. I got his books and tried to learn from it by understanding my spouse and myself.

Chapman spoke of a love tank and 5 Love Languages.

First, he believes that a person is a love tank which needs to be filled with love by the people he cares about and who he expects to care back. A person with an empty love tank would feel insecure while a person whose tank is full would be very happy and satisfied. Hence, in turn a person who is full of love is able to reciprocate love,

He likened us to a car.. When one has a car, he must regularly check on its oil to avoid problems while on the road. He has to make sure that it is not low in oil. Hence, he said to ensure a smooth sailing relationship we have to check on our loved one if we have filled their tank with love or not.

However, he acknowledges that there are instances where a person has done so much effort in letting the other how much he loves her and yet is not being appreciated, or the other person still doesn’t feel being loved enough.

Yes, you are right! Her tank must not be filled up.

No matter how much effort we do to make someone feel how much we love them, yet we aren’t expressing it in his love language, then it would be a failure. We have to know a person’s love language in order for us to be able to express it in a way that they will understand.

Like an American in China, the language barrier would be a hindrance for him to communicate well. So he has to learn Chinese. He cannot expect the Chinese, being so patriotic, to learn English for him.

Does this mean we should not marry a person of different love language?

A person defines and talks love in different ways; in different languages. Most often we express love by our own language because somehow, subconsciously that’s how we want others to love us. 

According to Dr. Chapman, man defines love in either of the following ways:
(1) Words of Affirmation: One longs to hear that he is appreciated, wanted,…loved.

(2) Quality Time: One longs for his partner;s undivided attention. He longs to spend time with his partner doing things that matter to both of them.

(3) Receiving Gifts: One wants to receive little gifts, surprises. It shouldn’t matter what kind of gifts as long there is something, tangible or not that comes from the other.

(4) Acts of Service: One: One feels loved every time he is being taken cared of. A mere gesture of preparing breakfast in bed would mean so much to the person who defines love through acts of service.

(5) Physical Touch: One needs to be hugged, kissed and touched all the time in order to feel loved. A simple pat in the back, a good night kiss or a comforting hug would be much celebrated.

Of course, we should marry the person we love no matter their love language. However, it is important for us to know what our spouse’s love language for us to be able to communicate our love to them. Can you imagine how tiresome and frustrating it is to exert so much effort in pleasing your spouse yet an appreciation is not given? 

You cannot fill a car with just any oil. There has to be a particular oil. The same is true with us, we cannot just be loved generally. Love has to be given to us in a way that we can recognize it; it a way that we can feel it.

The husband and I have learned what our respective love languages are. This is difficult for us since mine doesn’t come to him naturally as his is to me. But no one said that this is an easy task. Love is a choice. We choose to keep the marriage and keep being in love to each other. Hence, day by day, we work hard, in our own little ways, to fill each other’s love tank. 

Aside

Have you ever noticed that the worst way to miss someone is when they are right beside and yet you can never have them? When the moment you can’t feel them under your fingertips you miss them? Have you ever wondered which hurts the most, saying something and wishing you had not? Or saying nothing and wishing you had? I guess the most important things are the hardest things to say, they are the things that you get ashamed of because words diminish them. Words shrink things to no more than living size when they are brought out.

Don’t be afraid to tell someone you love them. If you do, they might break your heart. But if you don’t you might break theirs.

 

These are just some lines to a poem shared to me by a friend way back in college. This poem really struck me. It made me realize a lot of things. We should never take people for granted. We should always let them feel how much we love them before it is too late.

But doing this needs a lot of maturity. We often say why bother exerting so much effort for other people when they do not even care about us at all. If everybody thinks like that then the world will be such an awful place to live in. 

Aside

I married a Chinese man despite warnings on how their culture discriminates in laws who aren’t from the same race. We have a one year old bubbly and very smart baby boy. He is fair skinned, has a mono-lid, and his eyes are round. Hence, to most people he looks Chinese. It is funny because you will never see a trace of my genes in his looks. That’s why we often joke that he may come from a different mother.

It did not bother me. My family loves him so much. And at least, his looks which are almost a photocopy of his dad’s, I thought, would guarantee him less bullying from friends in the future. I never did realized, that the bullying could come from his family.

We visited my sister in law who just gave birth to a very cute baby boy. Yes the baby is Chinese. We were busy cuddling the baby until SIL said that my baby boy’s eyes are too big to be considered Chinese. I was surprised. I almost lost my composure. I wanted to grab our things and walk out. I never could believe that at a very young age, my son would be subjected to such discrimination. How couldn’t he be considered Chinese when his dad is Chinese?

Yes, it may just be a petty thing. And I could just let it go. But her words struck some nerves. How could she, a person who claims to be so fond of him, say that? It bothered me. It made me wonder why she said that. Could it be nothing to her? Was it just a slip of the tongue? Or was she too preoccupied with her own issues to the point that she became insensitive of what comes out of her mouth? 

Peipah, please!

Five months ago, my family and the whole island experienced something we never expected to happen to us – the wrath of a super typhoon. It instantly killed thousands. Yes, Haiyan, it is!

*not my photo

The government warned everyone of the upcoming storm and of how strong it is. We prepared for it – food and water that would last us three days, a solar lamp and some clothes in bags. We expected strong winds and no power at all but no one expected a surge. Yes, there was a warning that tides could go up higher but we never expected how it would be with the strong wind.

It was bright and shiny a day before. People in facebook even joked about it. At 4 AM the rain started to pour and at 6 AM it came with strong winds. I was not able to prepare breakfast as water came rushing through our doors (from the outside). At 7:00 AM the water started to rise up to a knee high in the house but I think it was a waist deep outside since we saw our car (and the neighbors’ cars) being towed away by the current. Before we knew it the water rose up to waist deep. We couldn’t get out of the house since the water pressure from outside was too strong for us to open the doors. We lost track of time as we struggled to keep ourselves out of danger. With a 9 month baby and a 6-month pregnant sister in law, adrenaline for survival was too high. We ended in the ceiling, praying and singing to the baby so he wouldn’t feel scared by the sound of the wind, that was trying so hard to rip off our roof.

At 1:00 PM, we noticed the water slowly going down. At 2 P.M. we went back down and saw the house a mess. Kitchen cabinets, furniture and appliances were covered in mud and was everywhere. Then news came in that a lot of people did not make it. We got scared and dared not to go out of the village, in fear of seeing dead people everywhere.

It took us a week to get help and get out of our place. Thanks to friends and relatives who helped us out. We are now slowly trying to get back on our feet again. Some houses have been reconstructed and lives are slowly getting back to normal.

However, we are again facing a threat of another storm. We’ve been warned to keep alert as storm Peipah heads towards the region. Strong or not it still scares us. It still keeps us up all night in fear that it may come to us in the dead of the night.

 

Hello, world to me!

Hi. I am a mother of a one year old sweet and bubbly boy. I love him so much and I want to spend time with him as much as I can but I have to work. I need to go to work everyday. I love my work so much and I have worked so hard to be where I am at work right now.  Hence, I struggle everyday to be the best mom and to be good at work.

I have a lot of things in mind, crafts and projects to do for my little one, but I find so little time to do them. I hope this blog will help me organize my thoughts as I muse through life everyday. And I hope I will be able to be a good mom to my little one.