Dear Valentine

The Language of LoveRedRosesTinContainer

February 14th, a day recognized by many for kind words, sweet treats and fresh flowers.  After all, Valentines Day hallmarks the celebration of love.

And just like Cupid, retailers have taken aim – but not for human hearts.  Rather, they have taken aim at our bank accounts!

Plato wrote, “Love is a grave mental disease.”  But Shakespeare said it best, “The course of true love never did run smooth.”

So, if the desire of your heart is to attain equity, satisfaction, love and commitment, consider the possibility that spending money may not secure the deal.

In his best-selling book, “The Five Love Languages” (1992), Dr. Gary Chapman prescribes individual communication styles for successful intimacy.

According to Chapman, we each have a primary love language.  He identifies five dialects that are said to be unique ways in which each individual sends and receives the message of love:  Receiving gifts, words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service and physical touch.

CandyDishFilmGrainIf you are skeptical, you are in good company.  In 2006, Chapman’s theory was tested using an anonymous survey of 110 college students.  Nichole Egbert and Denise Polk challenged the validity of the five love languages by correlating them with relational maintenance behaviors of assurances, openness, positivity, sharing tasks and social networks (Stafford et al. 2000).  Egbert and Polk added two strategic relational behaviors of advice and conflict management to the study.

The results were significant.  Astoundingly, the analyzed data of all seven behaviors found no predictor of value in words when controlling the outcome of the other six behaviors.

Could Plato have shared our tendency to underestimate the value of silence?  We will never know.  However, what we do know, is that all remaining outcomes measured strong positive correlation with Chapman’s love languages.

Openness significantly predicted time.  Social networks predicted gifts.  Assurances and shared tasks predicted touch, and shared tasks and social networks predicted acts.

The study left researchers with the impression that the Stafford et al. scale represents intention, and that Chapman’s love languages communicate specific intention in relationship.

Echoing loudly what millions of readers have embraced over the years.  That the need to speak to your partner in terms of their own love language is essential to effectively communicate love.

In doing so, it seems possible that Shakespeare’s observation can be viewed as a starting point rather than a conclusion.  And that making sense, rather than spending dollars and cents, can deliver the message of love.

To learn more about the five love languages or to take the love language test, visit Dr. Gary Chapman’s website.

Therese Padgham, SALUTE, Editor in Chief

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