I have read through this book before, but I actually learn new things every time! This was a lot to cover, but each and every chapter held such vital information for strengthening your marriage or relationship. If you would like some ideas on where to get a book and what different ways you and your someone special can read along visit our Couples Book Club intro post. While it was easy for me to figure out what my love language was just by reading through the chapters, I had a bit more trouble figuring out what my husbands was. We both did the quiz located in the back of the book, which helped a lot! Then, over time, I paid more attention to what my husband would respond to the most. What makes him upset the most? What makes him really happy and thankful? Since learning our love languages it has been so much easier to show love to one another. Dr. Chapman mentions on page 136 that love is a choice, and choosing to speak our spouses love language is a choice we make daily to show them love.
So if you are using the free study guide as you read through each chapter, I hope you are taking time to talk through and/or write down answers to some of the questions. I have printed out each of the pages and refer to them as I finish up each chapter. In going through the questions, I have found there are at least two or three questions I can answer for each chapter – yes it’s okay if you do not have an answer for every question! Here are a few of my answers:
2. What solutions have you found useful in solving some of the problems that couples face in their marital relationships?
One BIG solution I have found in solving problems in my marriage, is stepping back and evaluating my own behavior. A lot of the time, in our relationship, there is tension when I am being selfish or not being thoughtful of my husband and what he has going on. Another thing, is taking time to actually talk things out. A lot of times I don’t even realize what is making me upset until I sit and talk about it with my husband.
4. What are primary and secondary languages? How does each function in our marriage? In our other relationships?
Our primary love language is our “native language” – the one we speak and understand best. (pg. 14) Secondary languages are usually the love language of others, like our spouse, that we have to practice and make a more conscious effort to “speak.” Chapman gives a great example when he compares our native love language to our native speaking language. If I speak English and my husband speaks Chinese, we won’t be able to understand one another. It will take time for us to figure out ways to understand one another. This is so true in so many ways! After nearly 5 years of marriage, I feel like we are really starting to understand one another a lot better. By acknowledging and “speaking” each others love language, we can actually learn these things so much easier! The same is true in other relationships. I am now very aware of what makes others around me happy. This gives me a good idea of what their love language is and how I can show love to them as well.
1. How would you define love? Given your exposure to Dr. Chapman’s concept of five love languages, might your definition have room for additional thought and development?
The best definition of love, in my opinion, comes from the Bible. 1 Corinthians 13: 2-8 ESV says:
“And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”
Even reading through this verse again, I will be honest and say that I don’t give love enough credit. Without it we have nothing. Without putting the time and attention into developing and committing to love, it’s understandable why our society is having so much trouble with marriage.
3. Discuss the “love tank” metaphor the author describes. How often do you focus on your spouse’s love tank? How successful have you been keeping it filled?
To be honest, after we had our kids, I stopped focusing so much on my husbands love tank and gave nearly all of my attention to loving on my children. While I don’t think its bad at all to love on my children, I was really hurting my marriage. Honestly, since reading this book the first time, I have been a lot more active in showing love to my husband because his happiness is important to me. It has been so much easier to be successful at keeping my husbands love tank filled when I made a choice to make him a priority. There is plenty love to go around, but sometimes we have to step back and make a decision to actively try and share love effectively with those that mean the most to us.
5. As you seek to grow in your marital relationship, what are some of the benefits of keeping your spouse’s emotional love tank at a proper level?
Joy. The first benefit I think of is joy in my marriage. We all have so much on our plate, we stay busy with work and all of the responsibilities we have, but when we make an active effort to love and show love to one another our lives are filled with so much joy.
1. Have you had a “falling in love” experience? As you reflect, how much of it was illusion, and how much of it was reality? What are some of the illusions you had?
I definitely remember “falling in love” with my husband. The most significant thing I remember about it was I use to clean his whole apartment for him and cook dinner before he got home from work. I still actually do this when he comes back from business trips, but I definitely do not do it every single day. Remembering this is actually confirmation to me that my love language is in fact Acts of Service since doing those things were ways that I first showed love.
3. What is the nature of real love? Contrast what it means to “fall in love” with experiencing “real love.” What characteristics of real love separate it from a euphoric, in love experience?
Chapman really hits the nail on the head when he states, “We fail to reckon with the reality of human nature. By nature, we are egocentric. Our world revolves around us. None of us is totally altruistic. The euphoria of the in-love experience only give us that illusion.” (pg. 32) “Real love” is the love that is mentioned in the Bible verse above. Patient and kind, it doesn’t envy or boast. It isn’t resentful, or conditional. It leads you to forgive and forget. It allows you to acknowledge your own faults. Marriage is a commitment and a responsibility, it takes work and it takes attention. Marriage isn’t perfect, just like we aren’t perfect. The more you put in, the more you get out.
4. What is our most basic emotional need? What do we need to realize to begin aligning with our spouse and meeting that need?
On page 33, Chapman explains that, “Our most basic emotional need is not to fall in love, but to be genuinely loved by another, to know a love that grows out of reason and choice, not instinct.” To make steps to meet that need we need to realize that we have to actively make choices to love one another and show love in a way that our spouse will best receive it.
Chapter Four – Words of Affirmation
3. Dr. Chapman points out that the keys to providing the right kinds of encouragement are: (1) empathy; and (2) seeing the world from your spouse’s perspective. Is this an area you might be able to improve upon? What creative steps can you suggest for learning what is important to your spouse?
This is definitely something that I feel like I can improve upon. Reading through this chapter I am reminded just how important our words are to just about every relationship, but even more so for marriages. I love the suggestion to take my husband’s perspective on a situation. This really helps me to step back and evaluate how I am acting and how those actions might effect my husband. My role as a wife is to lift him up, but my harsh or selfish words can easily do the opposite if I do not pay attention to how I react.
4. When we have wronged our spouse, what role can kind words play in reconciliation and forgiveness? How do such words become an expression of love?
Sometimes it is so hard to push our selfish desires out of the way and apologize, but that can be the greatest thing we can do for our relationship. By refusing to let anger fuel us we actually show our spouse that regardless of who is right and who is wrong, we respect them enough not to argue. By apologizing when we are selfish or by choosing kind words instead of words of anger, we are actually showing them love.
“The same words expressed with a loud, harsh voice will be not an expression of love but an expression of condemnation and judgement.” (pg. 43)
Chapter Five – Quality Time
2. What is focused attention? What is its goal?
I chose to answer this questions because, to me, it is the core of quality time. Focused attention is undivided attention. I have a horrible habit of spending too much time on my phone or working, which means I am often not spending focused attention for long amounts of time. The goal of giving your full attention is to really be engaged in what is going on and participate. Since we work from home and have two youngsters, my husband and I do not get to spend much “just us” time. So when we are out on a date I make a very conscious decision to put my phone away and really give him my attention – which encourages us to talk and laugh a lot more!
“And where do we find time for such activities…we make time just as we make time for lunch and dinner. Why? Because it is just as essential to our marriage as meals are to our health.”(pg. 69)
Chapter Seven – Acts of Service
“Each of us must decide daily to love or not to love our spouses. If we choose to love, then expressing it in the way in which our spouse requests will make our love most effective emotionally.” (pg. 100)
4. Dr. Chapman lists some creative ideas we can exercise to embrace our spouse’s love language of acts of service. Briefly discuss these. If your spouse’s love language is acts of service, which ones would you consider using?
My love language is acts of service. I feel most loved when my husband helps me out around the house, especially when he does things without me asking! The acts of service can be as small as getting the kids ready for bed while I finish up some work, or as big as cleaning the house and cooking dinner while I’m out as a surprise!
2. Do you know for certain your primary love language? What might be your secondary language or languages? Dr. Chapman suggests spending time writing down what you think is your primary love language. Then, as you weigh them, list the other four languages in their order of importance.
My primary love language is Acts of Service. As I was reading through the chapter for Acts of Service, I immediately recognized that the examples listed were exactly what I complain to my husband about the most. Not only that, I realized that when my husband and I first started dating I showed him love by cleaning and cooking for him every day. (Yea, he was pretty disappointed with that false advertisement when the in-love experience was over haha!) To further confirm what my love language is, my husband and I took the love language quiz in the back of the book. The awesome thing about the quiz is it helps you not only find out your primary love language, but also ranks the other love languages! So for mine: Acts of Service was #1, then Quality Time, then Physical Touch, then tied for last were Words of Affirmation and Receiving Gifts.
3. Now write down what you think is the primary love language of your spouse. List the other four in order of importance as well. When time permits, sit down with your spouse and discuss what you guessed to be his or her primary love language. Then tell each other what you consider to be your own primary love language.
Since my husband took the love language quiz with me, we were able to find out what his primary love language is while also ranking the other love languages. Surprisingly, while our primary love languages are different, my husband and I had the same top 3 love languages. Since we are now aware of each others love languages we are able to make more effort to keep our “love tanks” full.
2. How can our expressions of love, within the context of knowing our spouse’s love language, enable us to deal with past conflicts and failures in our marriages?
Chapman says it best on page 133, “Love doesn’t erase the past, but it makes the future different. When we choose active expressions of love in the primary love language of our spouse, we create an emotional climate where we can deal with our past conflicts and failures.” Love doesn’t immediately heal our wounds so it is as if they never happened, but love is like a bandaid that covers our wounds, allows them to heal over time, and stops dirt from getting in an interrupting the healing process.
3. Why does the “in love” experience eventually fail to meet one’s need for real love after time? Explain what the author means by “love is a choice.” How do our choices make a difference in our relationships?
The “in love” experience fails to meet our need for real love when we come back down from that false reality of perfection. Real love takes work. Real love takes two people getting to really know one another and accept each others weaknesses, quirks, and differences. As I spend more time actively trying to fill my husbands “love tank” I am very aware that love is a choice. Love is a choice because loving our spouse is an action that we must make a conscious effort to do every day, especially when we do not speak their love language naturally. When we choose to love our spouse and put their needs high on our to-do list, we are making a choice to strengthen our relationship.
2. How important to us is our need to feel significant? Explain how love functions in meeting this need?
“The need for significance is the emotional force behind much of our behavior. Feeling loved by a wife or husband enhances our sense of significance.” (pg. 143)
I love what Chapman also says on page 143, “I feel secure in her presence. I may face many uncertain ties in my vocation. I may have enemies in other areas of my life, but with my spouse I feel secure.” This speaks so strongly to me. When my husband and I do start to argue, I recall feeling like he is an enemy that I must protect and defend myself against. That doesn’t make a strong marriage. We are a team and when we work together as a team we are strengthened by our love for each other. We are important to one another, we feel loved, and we feel safe.
Next month’s Couples Book Club book is…. Team Us by Ashleigh Slater!
Click the link to order your copy and join us as we learn more about building a strong marriage with teamwork!
What are some revelations you have had in reading the book? Do you have a good idea of what your love language is? What about your spouse? Share how you figured it out in the comments below!
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