A Letter to You: They Say Opposites Attract but Can They Make it Last?

A Letter to You: They Say Opposites Attract but Can They Make it Last?

Thoughts on love and realtionships.

(Gary Chapman: The 5 Love Languages)

“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.”

A week ago I was window shopping with a friend of mine. I told her I was reading this book titled The 5 love languages. I asked her if she has heard of it before. She looked at me like “duh, I read it like 10 years ago.” I then asked her what she thought of the book and whether she learned something from it. She said the author’s message was pretty straightforward and simple, “we are all very different, so there’s no wonder we can’t get along.” I looked at her with a serious face, and we both started laughing out loud as she realized what she just said.

But then again, how many of us have given up on love at some point in our life when being hit with the realisation of how hard it is to actually keep up with a healthy, long-term relationship, that remains loving and interesting and does not end up being reduced to something people describe as “almost living with a roommate kind of situation”.

When I was little I believed life had its own way of figuring itself out. I thought once you grew up, everything suddenly fell into its place and everyone lived happily ever after. Once I grew upI was hit with the cold truth  relationships among adults are just as hard if not harder.

I am lucky to have found a few great loves (at least I thought they were at the time) throughout my short life and yet I always ended with a broken heart, disappointed or just alone. How come my great loves didn’t last? How come people who love each other don’t get to have their happily ever after? How come love isn’t enough?

“The best thing we can do with the failures of the past is to let them be history.”

Life in my twenties was pretty much a confusing time in my life.

Having done some stupid things in love, I thought maybe everything will work out perfectly if only I’m willing to give my best. Maybe all it takes is being the perfect girlfriend. It turns out being something you’re not (because no one is perfect), even when you’re oh-so-lovely and honest and loyal and supportive and understanding, will not necessarily make up for a great, long-lasting relationship. In fact, it didn’t.

I wonder what my life would be like if I read The 5 love languages 10, 15 years ago? Would it matter? Did I even care at that time? Would I understand?

Four years ago, as in life happens,  I fell in love with my complete opposite. Opposites attract, they say, but they don’t tell you that two opposites will have a very hard time making their relationship work.

And work we did.

If you are willing to put in enough hard work and are open to really commit to your love, you are in for a treat. Opposites, if they learn to communicate, will have a blast. The only problem is that the type of communication that’s required here is not what we usually think of.

After a very turbulent couple of years, my partner and I were not on a good path. Love sometimes my dear friends (unfortunately) just isn’t enough. Love can survive on its own, but the relationship won’t. Since we both knew we really wanted to make this work and were not willing to give up on us, we started learning about love.

We have read a lot of books throughout this period. Some were good, others weren’t. I don’t believe you should take everything you read for granted but I do believe you should take your time and think about what you’ve read. Is there anything you think could make your life better? Start doing it. Is there anything in there that you think it makes no sense? Let it go.

Even though I’ve read it just recently, The 5 love languages, in my opinion,  is a basic read for anyone interested in improving their relationship (even with friends and family).

The message of this book is quite self-explanatory: there are 5 love languages. Each one of us speaks a love language that is more important to him/her but, as in real life, in love, we also speak dialects.  His/her main love language is the way he/she accepts and gives love. It’s pretty simple, right? Well, not really.

Since the world is designed in a way that we are usually attracted to our opposite, it gets really confusing and merely impossible to communicate love with our partner.

I knew that my partner and I were opposites; it was obvious since the beginning. It was the reason I was attracted to him in the first place. I just never realized before that we were also opposites in the way we show and receive love. I would almost get mad at him for wanting me to compliment him more often. I thought he was vain I could not understand who in their right mind would put such emphasis on compliments. Well, I can tell you that my partner is definitely one that could survive on a good compliment for days. And if he can, it means there are many more out there who could also.

I did not understand that his love language was different than mine. I did not understand when he said he loved me but wouldn’t clean up after himself even though I have asked him many times. It turns out Acts of Service is just not his love language.

After reading the book, I immediately took the 5 love languages test to find out what’s my dominant love language.

Photo credit: cheatography.com

Which language do you speak?

As mentioned, there are 5 love languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.

My two prevailing languages are Quality Time and Acts of Service. While reading the book, I instantly knew those were not the languages my partner spoke. It turns out he mostly speaks Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch. Do you see? I told you we were opposites. 🙂 I thought this was an ‘aha moment’ (as Oprah loves to call it) in my love life.

At 30 years of age, I realized that in order to make it work we must be willing to learn to speak our partner’s love language.

“My conclusion after thirty years of marriage counseling is that there are basically five emotional love languages—five ways that people speak and understand emotional love. In the field of linguistics a language may have numerous dialects or variations. Similarly, within the five basic emotional love languages, there are many dialects…. The important thing is to speak the love language of your spouse.”

This simple realization is way more complicated when I tell you that Words of Affirmation (which is my partner’s love language), ranked at the bottom, having the lowest scores of all 5 love languages on my quiz results. This means the way I show love and affection are completely different from the way he does. While realizing this seems like a huge deal to me, it also means we are going to have to work on learning each other’s languages if we want to stay together in a loving and caring relationship.

I know that’s a lot of work and maybe you’d say relationships shouldn’t be so hard; we could just stay together and let this thing we have run its course. That’s easier, right? But it’s also something that we don’t want.

“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.”

Think about the ways in which  you express love to your partner.

Does he respond positively when you do it? Observe how he/she acts when he/she shows you that they care. Observing your loved one will reveal so much about their love language. If you wish to learn about your language of love, simply observe what it is that you complain the most about. If you wish your partner helped you more around the house but instead he looks you in the eyes and compliments you on something, which only makes you angrier at him, your love language is probably somewhere along the line of Acts of service. His, however, are most likely the Words of affirmation. (I made a generalisation here, to make it easier to understand.)

 Although you can figure it out on your own, I would still encourage you to take the test (click here) and learn more about your primary love language.

If you think about it, doesn’t it all make sense?

There’s really no scientific proof behind The 5 love languages theory, but yet it works. It works because it is relatable. Whether your partner sometimes does something you don’t understand or your friends and family seem strange and from a different planet from time to time, I really think this book can be of help. By learning your love language, you will be able to understand better the language and dialects your partner speaks. You will become better equipped and empathetic, which will result in a stronger bond and healthier relationship.

When we learn about our blind spots, we can understand those around us better. Their behaviours, once the source of fighting, can thus become normal and acceptable if we understand that they are coming from a place of love. I really recommend this book to everyone. And though it may look simple, trust me, there’s a lot anyone could learn from The 5 Love Languages.

As far as my partner and I go, well, we’ve never been in a better place, actually.

We make it work, because we try to understand that love is not something that happens, but it’s something we create.

 

This article is part of a series titled ‘A letter to you’. You can read more articles by clicking here!
Have a wonderful love-talk and please, share your thoughts and experiences with me in the comments below or via email (happynamiblog@gmail.com) if you’d rather not share your experiences publicly.

The book by Gary Chapman: The 5 Love Languages is available also on Amazon.

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32 Comments

  1. 24/10/2017 / 18:54

    Wow, seems to be an interesting book. I believe we all have to start with self-love and continue with respect towards others to make it work. Keeping a healthy balance is the key for me 🙂

  2. 24/10/2017 / 19:58

    This is so interesting, i am so into books but never have read this one. I think that any relationship needs work from both two parts, no matter what the difference between them!

  3. 24/10/2017 / 20:16

    It seems such an interesting book!! I love this kind of books, it makes me look different to life .

  4. 24/10/2017 / 20:32

    When I got engaged to my husband 9 years ago, I received about 6 copies of this book! My husband and I read this and our love languages are not the same so the way we feel is also not the same. Marriage is hard work and everyday we are still working on it.

    This was a nice post and it reminded me of our earlier days in marriage when even though it was our honeymoon phase, we still had a bumpy road!

  5. Jasmin N
    24/10/2017 / 21:01

    Oh how lovely & interesting does this book sound! Hubby and I have been together almost 10 years & we’ve had two or three major fights at the time. So we’re pretty steady.

  6. 24/10/2017 / 22:25

    I read this book during my uni years and it really helped me strengthen my relationship with my mother. While it’s not the solution to every problem, it definitely gives you valuable insight to take into consideration.
    Funilly enough, my partner and I are complete opposites too. He’s a Pisces, I’m a Virgo. His Myer-Briggs is ESFP and I am INTJ. He’s an early bird, I’m a night owl. He’s an extrovert, I’m an introvert. His loves the outdoors, I love a quiet day inside. Since moving in together we’ve had to find a balance and compromise, but we make it work. Opposites attract, and I believe they can work out long term, you’ve just got to see how their differences better you and your life 🙂 (also I’d highly recommend finding out your Myer Briggs personality – it’s also really insightful!)

  7. 25/10/2017 / 02:19

    Interesting post. I’ve not heard of this book, but it seems like a good buy. I view relationships, love, marriage etc. as something that transcends this dimension. All in all it requires work, commitment and dedication.

  8. Analesha
    25/10/2017 / 08:34

    Love all the information of love languages. I am a strong believer in finding out what peoples love language is so we can connect better with them

  9. 25/10/2017 / 12:45

    I have never read the book but I know the 5 languages. Funny thing is, I feel like I need all 5 to be shown to me lol but I only show love through 1 or 2 ways!

    http://www.chausadventure.com

  10. 25/10/2017 / 12:50

    My husband and I are total opposites – I am an extrovert and he’s an introvert, I’m hectic and he is calm… you know the drill. We believe we work because we share the same values, though. We agree what is right and wrong, how we want to parent, what is important in life, and so on. We’ve never been stronger, but we’ve never been weak either. 🙂
    Katja xxx
    http://www.katnapped.com

    • 26/10/2017 / 11:10

      I agree with you. You have to share the same core values, otherwise, there’s no point in even trying.
      I like how you wrote,”we’ve never been stronger, but we’ve never been weaker either.”

      Relationships are fragile that’s why each and every one deserves to be treated with respect and commitment.

  11. Zana Djakovic
    25/10/2017 / 19:21

    Wow thanks for sharing dear! This made me smile while I was reading.
    Very inspiring! I need to read that book too!
    I am happy that you are now in a really beautiful relationship. Don’t ever give up on love! 🙂

  12. 25/10/2017 / 22:36

    This has been on my reading list for years. Thanks for reminding me! I think it’s important for my relationship to continue to learn and grow and reading this book should be higher on my priority list.

    • 26/10/2017 / 11:07

      Hi, Beth!
      Thank you for reading this. I think it’s important to read the book when the timing is right. There’s no sense in reading a book if you’re not really there when you do it. At least now that you’ll read it you’ll be able to get something out if it.

  13. 26/10/2017 / 11:20

    Wonderful write up, 5 love languages book seems like a great read. Adding to my reading list.

  14. 26/10/2017 / 11:24

    That book must have been a super interesting read to you! And it’s very true that love is built and created in cooperation. Personally I don’t believe best couples are totally opposites to each other but it’s not good to be too similar either. Some differences and some similarities is the best combo in my opinion.

    For example me and my fiancé have a great and super happy relationship. We have similar goals and values but I’m more spontaneous and I love talking. He always thinks before saying things and is more calm than I am. Usually I got a great idea that I want to put in practice straight away and he makes me think over night or two and then we both usually know if the idea actually was good or bad. He kind of offers some balance to my life and I offer some great adventures to his. I think our personalities compliment each other and make us both a bit better than either of us would be alone. 🙂

  15. 26/10/2017 / 14:19

    Maybe I must read this book as well, being a failure in the love category. Great review

  16. 26/10/2017 / 14:39

    Sounds like a very interesting book! I can speak from experience that communication about love can be very confusing at times. Thank you for taking the time to write about this 🙂

  17. 26/10/2017 / 15:09

    couldn’t agree more.
    love is something we grow and nurture over time… It cannot be taken for granted, ever.
    loved reading this! <3

  18. 26/10/2017 / 15:28

    Still with my husband after 15 years is still an mystery to us as we have two very different personality! Like night and day! We fight a lot even after so many years togther. But we love each other and we have figured out what make us stick together…its one thing of the few things we have in common…the passion for traveling and hiking. So we do that a lot! And now ofcourse of baby girl!

  19. 26/10/2017 / 19:15

    Amazing analysis. Especially loved the quote REAL LOVE” – “THIS KIND OF LOVE IS EMOTIONAL IN NATURE BUT NOT OBSESSIONAL’ is so apt for anyone anywhere in a relationship! true!

  20. 27/10/2017 / 09:19

    “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” these words have touched me deep. Loved your emotional post on thoughts and relationships.

  21. 27/10/2017 / 12:55

    Wow! what an interesting read. I’ve always liked reading, but I’ve never came across blog posts as such. Thank you for sharing!

  22. 28/10/2017 / 07:29

    I do think a book like this can help. And I have heard of this book a long time ago. But I think that some people today refuse to put in the work it takes to maintain a healthy relationship. They believe that simply because they don’t feel it that things are over or bad. And so things fall apart because they aren’t willing to work to put in the necessary time and effort to bring two different people together. They act like love should fall in your lap.

  23. 28/10/2017 / 21:23

    Quality time and physical touch top all the five love languages for me. You know, just being close together without even doing anything special hits both languages at the same time. Although words of affirmation will be required from time to time, the other two I can never be without.

  24. 28/10/2017 / 21:48

    Wow thanks for this…. after being in a 10 year relationship I have definitely learned a lot about my partner and sometimes it’s so hard because you really want that person to accept the love how you give it and reciprocate in the same way. The truth is all relationships are work because we are not perfect as you said all the time and honestly for me the goal is to continue to grow together. I have learned so much about myself in these 10 years and it all started when I started to have an open mind and put myself in my partner’s shoes. lol love is such an interesting concept to grasp but anyhow I digress… just picked up the book and now I’m more excited to read it 🙂

  25. 29/10/2017 / 14:14

    Never heard of this book. But then, I’m not really interested in this kind of books that try to help people with love or life matters. I think everything is much easier if one stops to over-analyze every behavior and every thing that happens in life…

  26. 30/10/2017 / 02:00

    I actually read the 5 Love Languages with my boyfriend and I think that it enhanced our relationship a lot! Def a must read for all couples.
    http://www.3lovetaps.com

  27. 30/10/2017 / 12:28

    This sounds like a very interesting book. I’ve never heard of it before but after reading your review, I’ll probably go to a library soon and read it. I’m not really a book worm, I admit :D, but I feel that this book could give me a better view of relationships and the ways I express love.

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