Monday, December 2, 2013

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

The first time I heard of the book, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, I sat in a romance writer's meeting listening to Margaret Daley speaking how this book can help writers with their character interactions.

Because I highly value any advice Margaret Daley has for me, I immediately bought the book. Unfortunately, for years it has set on my book shelf collecting dust in my "To Be Read" pile.

However, back in June my heart became heavy for marriages. Not just young marriages, but troubled marriages. As I began to pray for marriages something interesting happened. A story developed in heart. To make this story the best it could possibly be, I pulled any books on relationships I had on my shelf, including this one and I purchased others. (Other books include Marriage on the Rock by Jimmy Evans and Lifelong Love Affair: How to Have a Passionate and Deeply Rewarding Marriage by Jimmy Evans)

The Five Love Languages shows the reader that everybody has a love tank inside them from birth. The love tank when it is full, produces a person who is healthy and happy. When the love tank is empty it produces children who crave mischief and adults who file for divorce.

If the love tank is so important than discovering how to fill the love tank is even more important. Filling the love tank requires learning the love language of your spouse and children. Once you learn their language then their love tanks can be full and they can be healthy, happy people. You can teach your family about love languages and they speak your love language helping you become healthy and happy.

The most common love languages, according to Gary Chapman are: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. There is an online quiz to take to help you learn your love language: . (I encourage you to take the quiz for you and your family.)

So, how can this love language thing help writers? If speaking the wrong love language or not speaking it at all can cause love tanks to run empty and thus cause divorce, then we can assume if we apply this to our characters we can create real conflicts for our characters.

For example, if you have a heroine whose love language is quality time and she ends up speaking that language to her hero whose love language is acts of service then we have a conflict. He is most likely trying to speak his language to the her. It would look something like this:

Elizabeth touched Eric on the shoulder. "I was thinking it would be fun if we got all dressed up and went to the symphony tomorrow night."

Eric scrunched his nose. "I can't. I have to work late tomorrow night."

"On a Friday night?" Elizabeth removed her hand. "I bet no one else in your office works late on Friday night. They are home with their families."

"If I'm to make partner. I have to put in the time. Besides, when I get off work I want to mow the grass and get those flowers of yours planted so I can enjoy the rest of my weekend."

"So, maybe Saturday we can go to the mountains? Have a picnic?"

"Why do want to plan out my weekend for me?" Eric sighed. "I might've had plans to do things on my day off."

You see, Elizabeth complains to her friends that Eric never wants to spend time with her. He always makes excuses to do other things. She believes he doesn't love her anymore. Each time Eric rejects her idea of quality time, her love tank becomes empty.

Eric has no interest in the symphony and doesn't want to go hiking in the mountains. He loves his wife and feels like he proves it by working late to bring home fat paychecks and by planting her roses.

If only they could understand each others love language then they could be happy. But as writers we know that can't happen yet. They must break up, be broken hearted, think their spouse is interested in someone else and then when all seems lost, then and only then can they learn how to love each other. A Happily Ever After.

Merry Christmas!
From Debra and the Writers of Books To Write By!!!

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post, Debra. I used this book to minister to girls when I taught the Weds. night Missionette group. I agree that it could be a useful tool in writing. Thanks for the suggestion. I hadn't thought about it that way.


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