Guest Post by Zack Williamson (Chapman Team)
Recently I was watching an episode of the new NBC show Losing It with Jillian. This particular episode featured the Vivio family who were learning to overcome some obstacles in regards to their weight. Along the way, a few relationship issues came to the forefront. One of these was Mark’s (husband/father) mentality that real men don’t let their emotions show. Originally instilled from his father, Mark was taught to just “suck it up” and provide for the family. At one point Mark even made this statement about his dad, “To this day he still can’t say it [I love you].” Unbeknownst to Mark, this attitude was having a negative effect on his son, Elijah.
Sometimes the way we think we show love best is not actually the best way to show love. Let me explain. According to Dr. Gary Chapman, everyone has a primary way in which they prefer to receive love called their primary love language. When someone speaks this love language to them, it fills their “love tank” to the brim and, inadvertently, they feel loved. Chapman has revealed five distinct languages from which our primary can be drawn—Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Physical Touch, Acts of Service, and Quality Time.
If we do not know, or understand, that the “love tank” of others might be filled best through a language other than our own, we often default to showing love in the way we prefer to receive love ourselves. In Mark’s case, he was speaking Gifts by providing for the material needs of his family. But when he found that, due to some physical issues, he was no longer able to provide to the same degree he once could, Mark struggled with how to show love to his family.
Through a conversation with his wife and Jillian, Mark realizes that Elijah needs more than just provision—he needs Words of Affirmation from his father. During a heartfelt chat with his son, Mark tells Elijah that he is proud of him. A smile appears on Elijah’s face and the video cuts to Elijah saying, “When my dad told me how proud he was of me, I was happy.” In that one powerful moment Mark learns to speak his son’s love language and what a difference it makes for Elijah!
When you learn to speak love languages you are not necessarily comfortable with, you are showing a form of selfless love that speaks for itself. It shows you are genuine and that your love is real. Mark learned this, and his family is better for it.
Mark, thanks for caring enough to step out of your own comfort zone to love your family well. Real men speak 5 languages.