I went to the bookstore on Sunday and read two books: Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert, and The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman.
This post isn’t a book review. I read maybe the first 30 pages of each book and had a couple of thoughts, which I want to share, and if I finish either book I’ll review later.
(Gilbert on Ted.com: A New Way To Think About Creativity)
Eat, Pray, Love: Mega-bestseller about a chick who goes through a nasty divorce and spends a year living in Italy, India, and Indonesia finding herself. Very well written, witty, funny, major page turner, provocative. If you read this, you will either love it or hate it with a passion, no gray area. I’ve only read the first 26 “chapters” of book one (of three), so not that far into it, but I’m starting to form a strong opinion. Firstly, the voice of the author is awesome, and is a must-read for any writer/blogger.
The conflict I’m having is whether to like the writer or hate her. She cheated on her husband (unstated in the book, but I found this out on the ‘net) with a younger, sexier actor dude, then left her husband, then went through a horribly nasty divorce where she basically gave away everything, then used a book advance to go abroad and find herself for a year. This was after the actor dude dumped her. We know nothing about the ex-husband, which was a huge question mark for me, and it begs the question why exactly did she cheat on hubby and generally act like a mega-bitch to the sorry bastard? So, with that data, I’m inclined to hate her.
But, the problem is, I love the voice of the story teller, in fact I’m in love with her, so it’s impossible for me to be the guy that finds her despicable. Flawed and human, yes. If you’ve read the book, please comment and give me your take.
The Five Love Languages: Dr. Gary Chapman’s book that Honey and I referenced several times recently: in A Love Styles Exercise, What’s Your Fighting Style? and Is Your Love Style Blowing Your First Dates? The book is filed under “Christian Inspiration” and it’s a little too soft and squishy for my tastes, but the insight it offers is OFF THE CHARTS. This, more than anything I’ve read or figured out in the last 2-3 years, is a huge key to attraction and relationships for me. After just reading a few chapters I found myself re-examining all of my relationships through the lens of the five love languages. Wow.
If you’re a hardcore pickup dude or whatever, don’t be put-off by the girly nature of the book. It’s got some serious value. You can find a summary of the five love languages on Chapman’s site. I simply don’t understand why this knowledge isn’t more widespread. If people learned about this shit they would be WAY more equipped to do the relationship thing. It’s mondo helpful in attraction, too.
Chapman described everyone as having a fuel tank where the fuel is love (just bear with me here). When you’re connecting properly with your loved ones, the tank is full, and everything is totally cool. When there’s conflict or lousy connections or lack of communication, the tank empties. When it empties, you start to do some really douchy things, like get depressed or suicidal or stalkery or whatever.
The key here is recognizing what love languages you’re fluent in, what you need, and what your partner needs: touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service.
I’ll use myself and my ex-girlfriend, Megan, as an example. I consider myself average in the quality time area, perhaps a 5 out of 10 (I’m bad at this because I require an unusually high amount of private time to recharge, probably double what a regular person needs). Just pulling a number out of my butt, I’d say I’m capable of giving 20 hours of quality time per week. Megan needs at least 40 hours minimum to be happy. So, even though I feel like I’m at maximum output, I’m still nowhere close to meeting her needs. Huge problem and huge source of frustration for both of us. Since neither of us had the vocabulary or foundation to properly deal with this, we didn’t know how to compromise on those numbers and find a workable middle.
On the flipside, I require a lot of touch to be happy, and when I say touch, I mean her touching me and sex doesn’t count. Touching could be as simple as holding hands, a kiss, or a hug. Megan would never engage in touch unless we were sleeping together, and that lack drained me. The thing is, I didn’t realize this was happening, and it never occurred to me that a lack of regular touching, from her, would create any internal negativity on my part. Even if I had realized it, I probably wouldn’t have admitted to it because I was busy trying to be all cool and stuff. Again, another problem.
Even if you’re in the early stages of a relationship, just dating, or even just picking up chicks, it’s majorly to your advantage to be fluent in the love languages and understand what it is you need and what she’s looking for.
That’s what I got for now. If you’ve read either book, let us know your opinions.