Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Books

In a recent comment, Dawnelle recommended the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I wish to heartily recommend this book as well.

The basic premise is that the way we show love/affection tends to fall into one of five basic categories, here presented in no particular order:
1) physical touch
2) words of affirmation
3) quality time
4) acts of service
5) giving/receiving gifts

People typically have one or two primary "love languages" -- things that mean love and affection to them. Let's say that the primary ways I give & receive affection are through physical touch and words of affirmation, and let's say that the way Hannah gives & receives affection is through acts of service and gifts. We both might spend years giving each other what what we thought was expressions of love, but miscommunicating badly. I might be starved for touch and kind words, and sick to death of getting wallets and shirts and having the house painted and dusted and my closet reorganized. Hannah might be tired of me pawing at her all the time and always wanting to talk about things and getting my feelings hurt by her silence or unkind words, while starving for a little present once in a while and for me to show I cared by putting together a thoughtful date/surprise or keeping the lawn mowed and her appliances working. Both of us might feel like we're trying really hard to love someone who doesn't love us back. I'm just saying, this could happen.

Another book, for guys: If Only He Knew, by Gary Smalley. Strong Christian bent, but useful to anyone, I think. Not a feminist-pleaser, since it presumes vast gender differences and traditional family roles; it's the polar opposite of the "treat everyone the same" approach. I think the value of the book is in educating men about how many women think and feel about some things, and ways they can make their wives feel loved and cared-for rather than put down, neglected, or unloved.

And one more, for women: Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, by Laura Schlesinger.
I have problems with Dr. Laura -- I find her inconsistent, judgmental, unhappy, and borderline misogynist -- but I like her standards on personal responsibility, and in this book I think she's more often right than wrong in describing what husbands want and how they feel.
This book has been savaged (often by people who haven't read it, including Hannah & her girlfriends). The typical accusation is that it portrays men as simple-minded and sex-crazed -- that all we need to be happy is a hot meal, less nagging, and more hanky-panky. But that's not actually what it says. The book *is* like Dr Laura -- unsubtle and overstated -- but a few of its fundamental premises are correct: specifically, that men's needs are typically simpler than women's, and that high on the list are a peaceful home (ie, less nagging/ragging), more appreciation, and more sex.
Like any book, you should read with some amt of skepticism -- measure it against your own world-view, and take what you think is useful from it. There's no rule that says you have to follow any of the book's recommendations, or buy 100% of its portrayal of men, but if you seriously want to understand more about men, this book is worth including on your list.

15 Comments:

At Wed Mar 01, 12:33:00 AM PST, Blogger jay are said...

I've actually heard nothing but good things about all the books you mentioned (I've read the love languages ones and browsed through the other two). I suppose I could see where someone could be snippy about Dr. Laura's book---the premise seems a little old-fashioned---but I've heard young and old alike sing its praises. It seemed, in the browsing of it, to be similar in many ways to the love languages idea....
An aside: I know she's popular, but Dr. Laura makes me crazy. She used to be interesting to listen to and she has many a good thing to offer I think, but I can't stand more than five minutes of her anymore. She's flat out mean and rude anymore.
Well, that's enough of that.

 
At Wed Mar 01, 01:49:00 AM PST, Blogger Erik said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At Wed Mar 01, 01:51:00 AM PST, Blogger Erik said...

haven't even read the 'proper care' book, but i already love it. it simple: man eat, man need sex. you no talk, we no like! for real though, there's a lot of truth in that, like 100%. :)

i'm with jay are on the dr. laura thing, though. i want her to just relax for one call. i haven't listened in a couple years, but it's not likely i would let that stop me from trying to act like i know what her shows are like. here's how all of her calls go, by my recollection--

caller #1: first, i'd like to say i love your show, dr. laura. here's my problem. i moved in with my boyfriend...

dr. laura: whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa. stop. whoa. i don't think i heard you right. if i heard you right, then that would mean someone physically cut your skull open 1 minute ago and replaced your brain with oatmeal. since that probably didn't happen, i don't think i heard you right. whoa. now that i'm done saying 'stop', and 'whoa', i'd like to say i can't possibly convey through a telephone call, how much i loathe you and everything you stand for. the scorn in my voice doesn't tell half the story. i also hate you because you do not have your own radio show where you can treat everyone like a 2 year-old. now keep your legs closed, can you do that? can you? huh? tell me you can do it. you can't do it, can you? godless harlot.

caller #1: but he said he loves me...

dr. laura: and i said you don't have your own radio show, probably due to your whorish ways. next!

caller #2: hi, dr. laura, i--

dr. laura: stop right there. first of all, you sound like a prostitute. i don't even wanna know! but seriously, you sound very promiscuous. you're giving the milk away for free, of course he doesn't respect you. right? huh? he probably hates you more than i do, which is hard to imagine. right? huh? next caller. next!

 
At Wed Mar 01, 10:26:00 AM PST, Blogger jay are said...

oh, Erik, you've got me rolling on the floor. You've PEGGED her!!! And that was me, by the way, who called. She was such a jerk. And my legs WERE closed!!! Sheesh.

(I just failed word verification. Can you imagine the field day she'd have with that??)

 
At Wed Mar 01, 06:06:00 PM PST, Anonymous si said...

erik: great addition -- it made me laugh (as usual)!

does a "perfect" non-gift, which includes words of affirmation, float your boat? -- in an absolutely platonic way of course! a revised book called language of like/respect/mockery between consultant & client. :-) ("perfect" being in the eye of the giver, in this case -- and the absolute tackiness of the price tag left on *really* makes it a non-gift...)

and i *dislike* dr. laura -- is she even still around?

dogssap -- i wasn't sure about posting this but this word verification kinda compelled me...

 
At Thu Mar 02, 10:02:00 AM PST, Blogger unca said...

Yes, perfect take on the Dr. Laura thing, Erik. She just waits for a chance to attack. The sad part is that she gives a bad and shameful name to good advice.

 
At Thu Mar 02, 10:04:00 AM PST, Blogger unca said...

And she's always talking about "I'm my kids' mom." Wow, wouldn't you really hate to actually BE Dr. Laura's kid?

 
At Thu Mar 02, 02:31:00 PM PST, Blogger Crystal said...

ha. i show my love through services and words. my ex-fiancé showed his love through cheating and lying.

i am glad we finally figured out our miscommunication.

:)

 
At Fri Mar 03, 12:56:00 AM PST, Blogger jay are said...

lol crystal. not that it's too much of a laughing matter. I AM glad that you got that figured out, however....That's some seriously different love languages there.

 
At Fri Mar 03, 08:54:00 AM PST, Anonymous chloe said...

I guess the bottom line is...Show your love... accept the differences...communicate always...

 
At Fri Mar 03, 12:48:00 PM PST, Blogger Kylee said...

Show your love in the way your mate understands and needs it to be shown...

Accept the differences yes...too many people get together with someone and don't want to accept the differences; instead they hope they can change them.

Communicate Communicate Communicate...

Oh yeah what I did not do...follow your gut...sometimes things really are too good to be true and taking more time is good.

 
At Fri Mar 03, 01:21:00 PM PST, Anonymous chloe said...

wisely written kylee.

 
At Fri Mar 03, 03:16:00 PM PST, Blogger bryan torre said...

...too many people get together with someone and don't want to accept the differences; instead they hope they can change them.

I did this, definitely. I did not accept the differences and love unconditionally. It's not that I wanted to change Hannah, but I definitely wanted her to change herself. Which everyone says is bad, of course, but isn't there a line somewhere? Is it wrong to say you want your partner to change things like:
- method of communicating (learn some disagreement tools instead of using anger, silence, martyrdom)
- learn to occasionally hear something that might be construed as "criticism" (eg, B makes it hard for me, would you do C instead)
- be more flexible, less controlling
- if you must *think* about negative things all the time, fine. it's your mind. but if there's no action item for me, if the issue is out of our control, could you at least keep your negative thoughts, opinions, and predictions to yourself?
- learn patience
- talk to me more politely than you do to the grocery store clerk (ie, I want to be the person whose feelings you are *most* considerate of, not the *least*)

Of course we need to learn to tolerate each other's foibles, etc, but I don't feel too ashamed of the things I wanted Hannah to change -- especially since the things *she* wanted to change about me were down to the level of hairstyle, clothes, etc...

 
At Fri Mar 03, 08:53:00 PM PST, Blogger Kylee said...

From what you have said here...you did not do what I was saying...

The things you mention here are "couple" things. Things that should happen in any mutual relationship. Things that anyone would expect.

I too expected those things....

I have just seen so many people who get together with someone who is not responsible as they want them to be or someone who does not want the same things out of life...and expect that to change because they are together.

I thought my ex wanted the same things out of life then I did..he said he did. But I also saw the drinking, the drugs...but I thought that would all change when we were together and had our dreams realized...I thought that my loving him and us having our family would be enough. That is the difference I saw; what I expected to change; what I could not accept; I should not have been with him because I knew what I wanted and it was not what was going on. Do I regret it? I can't say that I do; I learned alot; I have my son...the rest of it, well its over and now I just am working to build what I want....I thought I needed someone else in my life to have that, NOW I know I don't.

 
At Sat Mar 04, 03:53:00 PM PST, Blogger unca said...

"Of course we need to learn to tolerate each other's foibles, etc, but I don't feel too ashamed of the things I wanted Hannah to change -- "
"Love, while always forgiving of imperfections and mistakes, can never cease to will their removal." C.S. Lewis

 

Post a Comment

<< Home