Let's face it, most of us are spending more time around our immediate family than we ever have before or at least more than we have in a long time. Even for the best of family relationships, it can be difficult to be around family members 24/7, which is why Gary Chapman has something to say to us in times like this.
Author of the New York Times best-seller The Five Love Languages, Chapman believes that God has given us this time with our families for us to develop deeper relationships with them and encourages families not to squander this quality time. "Every member of our family should feel loved by us during this season," Chapman asserted.
Chapman believes his book, The Five Love Languages, can help people accomplish that. When asked if he thought The Five Love Languages would take off ultimately becoming a staple in Christian and non-Christian households as a tool to help people love each other well, Chapman doesn't hesitate in responding in his low and thoughtful voice.
"The first year, it only sold 4,000 to 5,000 copies,” he recalled. “I stand amazed at its success in what God has done growing it to sell over 13 million copies," he added.
Although Chapman stands amazed at what God is doing, he knew that it would transform lives, particularly, his very specific initial intended audience, the couples at his church where he has served on staff for nearly 50 years.
Although data hasn't been done on family life in America and the effects of the Coronavirus, we are seeing examples of the effects on family life from what China is dealing with as a result of their virus struggles. According to Bloomberg Business Week, divorce filings started rising throughout China last month, just as couples began to come out of being quarantined; which is why Chapman believes that family members should "sprinkle a little of the principles of The Five Love Languages throughout members of their family."
Chapman believes that while we’re all at home right now, we should take the time to discover our family members’ love languages, which can be discovered for free on his website 5lovelanguages.com.
"When you know your family members’ love languages, you can discuss them, while at the same time relate to them better," Chapman says. "It will help you speak their language."
The five love languages are words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, quality time and physical touch.
When asked how someone should communicate physical touch when we’re under social distancing restrictions, Chapman reflects back on a story of a military wife whose husband was serving overseas and how she mailed him a copy of her hand and asked that her husband place his hand on top of hers when he felt lonely. "Although we may have to get creative, it’s still possible to meet a person's love language," he asserted.
When asked which love language he thinks is needed the most throughout the country right now, Chapman is quick in responding that we need words of affirmation.
One can tell that Chapman really believes that even in family situations where the family relationship may not be ideal, the love language principles can still work.
“It becomes much more difficult; however, it can also be a great time of healing," Chapman said, before adding, "If one person in the family would start the process, change can happen.”
Chapman believes that in family situations that aren't the best, family members should ask, "What is my part in where we are?" Chapman believes that just by asking that one question, change and healing can take place. Chapman also believes that the other person must seek forgiveness where they have erred. "Just by doing that, there's a good chance that it will affect the other person."
Chapman doesn't just give advice on what others should do; he also takes his own advice. When asked to reveal his love language and how he is meeting the needs of his wife, Chapman pauses briefly, but not for long. "My love language is affirmation, and my wife's love language is service, so I look for ways to serve her during this time,” he shared.
At the end of our time together, it’s easy to see why people from the church pews to Oprah Winfrey, love the lessons of Chapman; it's practical, yet life-changing in a world and culture that seems unstable and turning out of control. According to Chapman, "Everyone wants to feel loved." And we can all say Amen to that.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Estradaanton