There’s a great quote from The King Must Die in which “A man is at his youngest when he thinks he is a man, not yet realizing that his actions must show it.” Then my man Joe Budden hit you with “she said all I ever made her feel was hurt and disgust, which in turn hurt cause that was my version of love”. And of course, there’s a personal favorite from Musiq.
Funny how a man’s general perspective of love, giving and receiving, never changes throughout the years.
At the age of 32, I still find myself wondering “how can I show love?”, “are my actions enough?”, “is my way of giving love the same as her expectation of receiving love?”. They’re all valid concerns that many men remain silent on as they navigate through serious relationships.
When it comes to romantic love, I believe there’s 2 schools of thought; A) “you should know that I love you by my actions” or B) “My word is my bond, so never mind my actions”. We choose a school based on what we learned as a child and what we experienced as an adult. You prescribe to 1 philosophy or the other, yet a woman’s expectations will have you changing it up at Usain Bolt speed.
This is where The 5 Love Languages come into play and could be the saving grace of your relationship. My father gave me this book when I was going through my separation. Clearly it didn’t help because that emotional separation from my then-wife, turned her into a legal ex lol However, I picked up the book again in hopes of seeing love through different lenses.
According to Dr. Gary Chapman, there’s 5 basic love languages that a person can fit into: Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, and Acts of Service. There’s a free assessment on Dr. Chapman’s website that you can take to find out what your language is. The basic premise is that every person, regardless of their relationship experience, interprets the presence of love in 1 of those 5 ways. When you can identify your love language, you can mold your emotional engagement in the relationship to align with your expectations.
Clearly, men mature slower and later than women do. So it often takes us awhile to get that maturation stage when we’re willing to look in the mirror and admit wrongdoings that lead to a relationship’s end. Even though it may be painfully obvious as maybe cheating or some form of abuse, those scarlet letters have a history that goes back far before we met that particular woman. Just as women have daddy issues, guys can sometimes have adverse affects based on the relationship with their mothers and other female influences throughout their lives. But despite the polarities, the process of identifying your love language is the same.
My love language is words of affirmation. I enjoy having my head gassed and being told that I’m doing the right thing in the right way at the right time. While I’m confident, I do like my girl to stroke my ego willfully. When I have moments of doubt, I need my girl to be in the trenches telling me not to give up and that things will get better. I hadn’t realized it until later on in life, but my mother showed me her love in the same way. Had I not read the book and understood why I receive/expect love in terms of praise, I probably would’ve understood better why I’d always been attracted to incessant perky types. So for me, this book has improved my personal relationships immensely.
Have you read The 5 Love Languages? What’s your love language? Do you think men and women receive love differently?