Now You’re Speaking My Language by Gary Chapman was a gift from my mother-in-law. My husband and I have often commented on how we hope our marriage stays as strong as that of our respective parents, both sets of which are still in loving, committed relationships.
This desire came out in conversation at his parents’ house one day and led to the advice of “always look for ways to improve, even if you don’t ‘need’ to.” As someone who is constantly searching out ways to continue learning, I was all for that advice. I picked up Chapman’s well-known book, The Five Love Languages, a while back and very much enjoyed it, so I went into NYSML with high hopes. I expected it to be a companion to The Five Love Languages – a workbook of sorts – but it wasn’t.
Overall, I was slightly disappointed in the book. It offered enough sound advice that I’m glad I read it, and Logan and I are even going to implement some of Chapman’s practices in our relationship, but most of what I read felt self-explanatory.
I suppose that’s a good thing, because if all the information provided in the book felt new, it would mean I was just now learning the basics of good communication, but it was disappointing to get a review rather than a lesson, if that makes sense.
The greatest takeaway I got from the book was the idea of daily, dedicated communication time. This is not a new concept to Logan and myself, as we always make it a point to sit down and really talk during dinner every night, but Chapman’s rule of thumb for quality communication is a good one.
Daily minimum requirement: Each person must share three things that happened to them that day and how each thing made them feel.
When Logan and I went in for pre-marital counseling, our counselor gave us similar advice, and we’ve found it invaluable. However, I think Chapman’s “rule of three” is a good one to live by. All too often Logan and I find ourselves talking about the same old thing happening again and again, without ever really digging deeper. By forcing ourselves to discuss three things that happened, we’re more likely to bring a better variety of experiences to the table, as well as really think about our day.
I also think Chapman’s emphasis to elaborate with how the event made you feel is very important. It’s so easy to just mention an event that occured and be doen with it, but analyzing how something really made you feel is a little deeper and makes all the difference in the quality of the communication. It’s the difference between talking and chatting.
I would recommend this book to anyone in a relationship – whether you’re married or not – if you feel that you need a refresher (or even a primer!) on the basics of good communication.
A word of warning, however. Chapman is a minister, and NYSPML shows it. It is specifically aimed at married Christians and quotes from the Bible a lot. As someone who isn’t particularly religious and is definitely non-traditional, I didn’t agree with a lot of Chapman’s views. I often just skipped over the more religious paragraphs. If you’re someone who really doesn’t want to read anything like that, consider yourself warned.