You should read this book if you…
Want to build successful relationships by experiencing and practicing authentic love in all aspects of your life.
“In a nut shell”…
This book will show you how authentic love can change and direct you to more meaningful and loving relationships, by taking you through seven traits of the language of love – kindness, patience, forgiveness, courtesy, humility, generosity and honesty.
The author’s definition of success is “leaving your corner of the world better than you found it.” Therefore, to experience satisfying and successful relationships, we must value and love others as individuals. We must be willing to have an attitude of love that is willing to speak the love languages of others, especially when their way of receiving love differs from our own.
Authentic love is not dependent on the actions of others or circumstances; it is not self-centered; instead it displays an attitude of helping others, often in very small ways. So, it is simple, real and bold. ‘Love seeks the well-being of another and finds meaningful ways to express it.’. You have to make the choice to practice authentic love.
The seven traits that form the basis of the language of love:
Kindness – ‘the joy of meeting someone else’s needs before your own simply for the sake of the relationship.’ It ‘means serving someone else even if it involves sacrifice.’ Kindness can never be used to manipulate others for one’s own gain. Even if our kindness is rejected we must never give up hope that in time true love will change the person. Kindness is the most important love-trait of a successful marriage. Small acts of kindness can save a marriage.
Patience – when you allow others to make mistakes, have realistic expectations of others and recognize that each person’s reality is different from yours. “Every time we are frustrated, we have a choice. We can lash out with hurtful words or we can ask questions, listen, seek to understand and then choose to speak words that bring healing.”
Forgiveness – requires self-awareness, honesty and compassion. Even though we are ‘moral creatures’ seeking justice when injustice is done, true forgiveness can only come when justice AND love work together. Even though our ‘default mode’ is self-centeredness, we can choose to show love and forgive. ‘No long-term positive relationships exist without forgiveness.’
Courtesy – an act of treating everyone as a personal friend and acknowledging that they are valuable. We are courteous when we receive with gratitude, pay attention to others, say sorry, and speak courteously.
Humility – a ‘stepping down so that someone else can step up’. We live in a world where we have to be the first and best, but true humility is when one chooses to remain anonymous to affirm the value of others. A ‘false self’ has no humility because it is always seeking self-affirmation. An attitude of humility is one which seeks to sacrifice joyfully and quietly for the sake of a relationship. Don’t let past hurts and pain stand in the way of leading a life of humility.
Generosity – doesn’t just mean financial giving. We should have a generous attitude in all we do. Every time we share something with others, we must remember that we are sharing that which was a gift to us in the first place. A generous person gives of oneself by being present, by listening, by showing compassion and by making the other feel valuable. There is sacrifice involved in true generosity.
Honesty – having a ‘loving consistency in speech, thought and action.’ Living a life of integrity, recognizing our own weaknesses and the importance of truth, being consistent in behavior, words, tone and meaning, taking risks for the sake of truth and keeping promises. Once trust is lost it is extremely difficult to build it back up.
Ways to acquire the habit of each of the traits:
Kindness – start by observing acts of kindness; record every act of kindness daily; make an attitude change – desire to be kind; look for opportunities to be kind; choose kind words. The enemy of kindness is bad habits.
Patience – try to be patient with people who are making you impatient. Find a ‘method to break negative patterns’ – like counting till 10! The enemy of patience is pride. We get impatient when we have been ‘inconvenienced, hurt or mistreated.’
Forgiveness – apologize for even the smallest of offences. Learn to forgive yourself, apologize for your own mistakes in your relationships and have an attitude of authentic love toward others. Fear is it’s enemy and stands in the way of forgiveness. But when you forgive someone your own heart is set free.
Courteous – start conversations with people as though they were your personal friends, give them your undivided attention, listen to understand, not judge, don’t raise your voice, and apologize graciously. Practice courtesy at home, with people who aggravate you and avoid ‘busyness’ which is the enemy of courtesy.
Humility – learn not to react to criticism; instead try to learn from the situation. Learn that you have nothing that you have not received, your knowledge of the universe is limited, and you are completely dependent on something outside yourself for life. The enemy of humility is pain.
Generosity – make a commitment to sacrifice part of your income to charity, use your abilities to benefit others, show a generous spirit to others no matter what and take time daily to show a loved one that you are interested in their well-being. The enemy of generosity is ‘our own self agenda’ .
Honesty – start by not telling even the smallest of lies on a daily basis, whether it be a white lie or not. We get into the habit of telling lies because of self-preservation which is the enemy of honesty.
In order to make the language of love a way of life, most of us need help from an outside source – God.
“Anger should be a visitor, not a resident.” Pg 77
“….if we don’t give from our “little,” we do not give out of our “much.”” Pg 146
“The author Elizabeth Stone writes that having a child is like having “your heart go walking around outside your body.”” Pg 208
“If the people in our world can rediscover the power of love in their everyday interactions, we can replace the darkness with light, the sickness with healing, the poverty with sustenance, and the brokenness with reconciliation.” Pg 229
Statistics and Interesting Facts…
79% of Americans think lack of respect and courtesy is a serious national problem.
Acts of kindness release the body’s natural painkillers, the endorphins.
Caring for other people in a positive relationship has been shown to improve the immune system.
How this has changed me…
This book has made me think bit more on love as a way of life. It has made me want to make changes to how I love my husband, children, co-workers and strangers. I have been learning to apologize for my impatience and hurtful comments, and make sacrifices by giving of my time. I am making an effort to be patient with my elderly parents, and give them my time with love and kindness. With strangers, I am trying to show genuine interest and really listen to people I meet by making eye contact and writing down their names and small details I have garnered.
Book Title | Love as a Way of Life
Author | Gary Chapman
Year of Publication | 2010
Publisher | Waterbrook Press
Pages | 248