From the author of The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, Gary Chapman, come some of the most enlightening and powerful life lessons anyone could ever learn in order to experience healthy, loving and fulfilling relationships.
His words have touched and changed the lives of millions of people everywhere and I am convinced they will keep doing so for many years to come. Here are:
27 Life-Changing Lessons to Learn from the Loving Gary Chapman
“Love doesn’t keep a score of wrongs. Love doesn’t bring up past failures. None of us is perfect. In marriage we do not always do the right thing. We have sometimes done and said hurtful things to our spouses. We cannot erase the past. We can only confess it and agree that it was wrong. We can ask for forgiveness and try to act differently in the future.
Having confessed my failure and asked forgiveness, I can do nothing more to mitigate the hurt it may have caused my spouse. When I have been wronged by my spouse and she has painfully confessed it and requested forgiveness, I have the option of justice or forgiveness.
If I choose justice and seek to pay her back or make her pay for her wrongdoing, I am making myself the judge and her the felon. Intimacy becomes impossible. If, however, I choose to forgive, intimacy can be restored. Forgiveness is the way of love.”~ Gary Chapman
2. Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a commitment.
“Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a commitment. It is a choice to show mercy, not to hold the offense up against the offender. Forgiveness is an expression of love.”~ Gary Chapman
3. For love, we will climb mountains, cross seas, traverse desert sands, and endure untold hardships.
“For love, we will climb mountains, cross seas, traverse desert sands, and endure untold hardships. Without love, mountains become unclimbable, seas uncrossable, deserts unbearable, and hardships our lot in life.”~ Gary Chapman
4. All of us blossom when we feel loved and wither when we do not feel loved.
“All of us blossom when we feel loved and wither when we do not feel loved.”~ Gary Chapman
5. Real love is emotional but not obsessional.
“Real love” – “This kind of love is emotional in nature but not obsessional. It is a love that unites reason and emotion. It involves an act of the will and requires discipline, and it recognizes the need for personal growth.”~ Gary Chapman
6. We must first learn what is important to our spouse. Only then can we give encouragement.
“Encouragement requires empathy and seeing the world from your spouse’s perspective. We must first learn what is important to our spouse. Only then can we give encouragement. With verbal encouragement, we are trying to communicate, “I know. I care. I am with you. How can I help?” We are trying to show that we believe in him and in his abilities. We are giving credit and praise.”~ Gary Chapman
7. People tend to criticize their spouse in the same area where they themselves have the deepest emotional need.
“People tend to criticize their spouse most loudly in the area where they themselves have the deepest emotional need.”~ Gary Chapman
8. Respect begins with this attitude. Respect means that you give the other person the freedom to be an individual.
“Respect begins with this attitude: “I acknowledge that you are a creature of extreme worth. God has endowed you with certain abilities and emotions. Therefore I respect you as a person. I will not desecrate your worth by making critical remarks about your intellect, your judgment or your logic.
I will seek to understand you and grant you the freedom to think differently from the way I think and to experience emotions that I may not experience.” Respect means that you give the other person the freedom to be an individual.”~ Gary Chapman
9. Quality time means that we are doing something together and that we are giving our full attention to the other person.
“Quality time does not mean that we have to spend our together moments gazing into each other’s eyes. It means that we are doing something together and that we are giving our full attention to the other person.” ~ Gary Chapman
10. Love can be expressed and received in all five languages.
“Love can be expressed and received in all five languages. However, if you don’t speak a person’s primary love language, that person will not feel loved, even though you may be speaking the other four. Once you are speaking his or her primary love language fluently, then you can sprinkle in the other four and they will be like icing on the cake.”~ Gary Chapman
11. None of us is totally altruistic because by nature we all egocentric.
“We fail to reckon with the reality of human nature. By nature,we are egocentric. Our world revolves around us. None of us is totally altruistic.”~ Gary Chapman
12. Each person has the potential of making a positive impact on the world. It all depends on what you do with what you have.
“Each person has the potential of making a positive impact on the world. It all depends on what you do with what you have. Success is not to be measured by the amount of money you possess or the position you attain but rather in how you use both. Position and money can be squandered or abused, but they can also be used to help others.”~ Gary Chapman
“Something in our nature cries out to be loved by another. Isolation is devastating to the human psyche. That is why solitary confinement is considered the cruelest of punishments.”~ Gary Chapman
14. All of us blossom when we feel loved and wither when we do not feel loved.
“All of us blossom when we feel loved and wither when we do not feel loved.”~ Gary Chapman
15. Never stop growing just because you have fallen in-love.
“The in-love experience does not focus on our own growth or on the growth and development of the other person. Rather, it gives us the sense that we have arrived and that we do not need further growth.”~ Gary Chapman
16. Love is the fundamental building block of all human relationships.
“Love is the fundamental building block of all human relationships. It will greatly impact our values and morals. Love is the important ingredient in one’s search for meaning.”~ Gary Chapman
17. The decision to get married will impact one’s life more deeply than almost any decision in life, so be well prepared.
“The decision to get married will impact one’s life more deeply than almost any decision in life. Yet people continue to rush into marriage with little or no preparation for making a marriage successful. In fact, many couples give far more attention to making plans for the wedding than making plans for marriage. The wedding festivities last only a few hours, while the marriage, we hope, will last for a lifetime”~ Gary Chapman
“We are trained to analyze problems and create solutions. We forget that marriage is a relationship, not a project to be completed or a problem to solve.”~ Gary Chapman
19. Good marriages are built upon a combination of emotional love and a common commitment to a core of beliefs about what is really important in life.
“Good marriages are built upon a combination of emotional love and a common commitment to a core of beliefs about what is important in life and what we wish to do with our lives. Speaking each other’s primary love language creates the emotional climate where these beliefs can be fleshed out in daily life.”~ Gary Chapman
20. The quality of your marriage greatly affects the way you relate to your children.
“The best way to love your children is to love their mother [father].” That’s true. The quality of your marriage greatly affects the way you relate to your children—and the way they receive love. If your marriage is healthy—both partners treating each other with kindness, respect, and integrity—you and your spouse will feel and act as partners in parenting.”~ Gary Chapman
21. Make sure your spouse’s emotional love tank is always full.
“When your spouse’s emotional love tank is full and he feels secure in your love, the whole world looks bright and your spouse will move out to reach his highest potential in life.”~ Gary Chapman
“Inside every child is an ’emotional rani’s waiting to be filled with love. When a child really feels loved, he will develop normally but when the love tank is empty, the child will misbehave. Much of the misbehavior of children is motivated by the cravings of an empty ‘love tank”~ Gary Chapman
23. Don’t be a victim of the urgent. In the long run, much of what seems so pressing right now won’t even matter. What you do with your children will matter forever.
“Don’t be a victim of the urgent. In the long run, much of what seems so pressing right now won’t even matter. What you do with your children will matter forever.”~ Gary Chapman
24. Don’t insist on bringing into today yesterday’s failures.
“I am amazed by how many individuals mess up every new day with yesterday. They insist on bringing into today the failures of yesterday and in so doing, they pollute a potentially wonderful day.”~ Gary Chapman
“The best thing we can do with the failures of the past is to let them be history.”~ Gary Chapman
26. When an action does not come naturally to you it is a greater expression of love.
“When an action does not come naturally to you it is a greater expression of love.”~ Gary Chapman
27. Genuine service demands that we speak the truth in love.
“Genuine service demands that we speak the truth in love. We do not serve each other by avoiding one another’s weaknesses.”~ Gary Chapman
“Write a love letter, a love paragraph, or a love sentence to your spouse, and give it quietly or with fanfare! You may someday find your love letter tucked away in some special place. Words are important! Compliment your spouse in the presence of his parents or friends. You will get double credit: Your spouse will feel loved and the parents will feel lucky to have such a great son-in-law or daughter-in-law.”
“Sometimes the decision to agree with the other person’s idea will involve great sacrifice. However, love always involves some sacrifice.”
“As the instinctual nature of the bird dictates the building of a nest, so the instinctual nature of the in-love experience pushes us to do outlandish and unnatural things for each other.”
“As children get older, we tend to condemn them for their failures rather then commend them for their success.”
“We need not agree on everything, but we must find a way to handle our differences so that they do not become divisive.”
“What is emotional intimacy? It is that depp sense of being connected to one another. It is feeling loved, respected and appreciated, while at the same time seeking to reciprocate. To feel loved is to have the sense that the other person genuinely cares about your well-being.
Respect has to do with feeling that your potential spouse has positive regard for your personhood, intellect, abilities and personality. Appreciation is that inner sense that your partner values your contribution to the relationship.”
“Lack of love from parents often motivates their children to go searching for love in other relationships. This search is often misguided and leads to further disappointment.”
“Genuine forgiveness and reconciliation are two-person transactions that are enabled by apologies. Some, particularly within the Christian worldview, have taught forgiveness without an apology. They often quote the words of Jesus, “If you do not forgive men their trespasses neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
“Camp out in the living room. Spread your blankets and pillows on the floor. Get your Pepsi and popcorn. Pretend the TV is broken and talk like you used to when you were dating. Talk till the sun comes up or something else happens. If the floor gets too hard, go back upstairs and go to bed. You won’t forget this evening!”
“Another reality about relationships is that they are never static. All of us experience changes in relationships but a few stop to analyse why a relationship gets better or worse.”
“Togetherness has to do with focused attention. It is giving someone your undivided attention. As humans, we have a fundamental desire to connect with others. We may be in the presence of people all day long, but we do not always feel connected.”
“We have been led to believe that if we are really in love, it will last forever. We will always have the wonderful feelings that we have at this moment. Nothing could ever come between us. Nothing will ever overcome our love for each other. [..] Unfortunately, the eternality of the in-love experience is fiction, not fact. ”
“When my spouse lovingly invests time, energy, and effort in me, I believe that I am significant. Without love, I may spend a lifetime in search of significance, self-worth, and security. When I experience love, it influences all of those needs positively. I am now freed to develop my potential.
I am more secure in my self-worth and can now turn my efforts outward instead of being obsessed with my own needs. True love always liberates. In the context of marriage, if we do not feel loved, our differences are magnified. We come to view each other as a threat to our happiness.
We fight for self-worth and significance, and marriage becomes a battlefield rather than a haven. Love is not the answer to everything, but it creates a climate of security in which we can seek answers to those things that bother us. In the security of love, a couple can discuss differences without condemnation. Conflicts can be resolved. Two people who are different can learn to live together in harmony. We discover how to bring out the best in each other. Those are the rewards of love.”
“When we express appreciation, it means that we recognize the value of the other person’s contribution to our relationship/ Each of us expends our energy and abilities in ways that benefit our relationship.”
“Make time every day to share with each other some of the events of the day. When you spend more time on Facebook than you do listening to each other, you can end up more concerned about your hundred “friends” than about your spouse.”