Sunday, March 8, 2009

Languages of Love? Pfft...

I would feel as though I would be giving you guys a disservice if I did not do this.

In this world, there are people who think they are smart and that they know things. These people are very convinced that their way is correct, and that they are experts and quite good at many things.

In an unsettling state of affairs, apparently some of these people have doctorates, and are practicing doctors! And to top this all off, they write books. This is one of the most infuriating things I have ever heard.

The person to incite this spite in me is Dr. Gary Chapman and he is the author of The Five Love Languages book series. He's a Christian writer, but this does not reflect for or against how much he sucks. His failure is really his own doing.

His books contain such morsels as the idea that people are receptors for only one type of affection, and if they get that one type affection, a relationship will most likely be successful. As an example, he claims that people who like attention or recognition (as a priority) don't need sex, and that people who primarily want sex don't react strongly to most other emotional triggers.

As anyone who has been in a relationship can tell you, this advice is totally retarded. What is funnier is that he tries to teach that we have to focus strongly on what our partner or spouse wants, neglecting our own wants and desires if we want our relationships to succeed.

I worded that as cleanly as possible, but the clear emphasis is away from self-fulfillment, which is absolutely critical in a strong relationship. It is of absolute importance that you are happy or a relationship will not go very far, and neglecting your own wants is relationship suicide. Yes, sometimes we have to make compromises with our spouse or partner, this is the nature of any relationship, even between friends. However, if we aren't happy, our relationship is gone city.

But the best part is that he distills love into five different types - and the best part is that they aren't the same as the types of love that are commonly taught in university textbooks relating to the subject. It's clear that when Dr. Chapman got away from the world of peer review that he totally neglected anything he ever learned in school - or maybe he deliberately decided that every other psychologist was wrong. I'm not sure. Regardless, love is not something you distill into five different types, and while everyone has their preferences, everyone needs certain things from people and you can't just say "they need material wealth - sex, affection, praise... screw those."

The five languages of love are sharply defined and don't blend into each other at all. Chapman makes up his own terms (or rather, defines existing terms like Physical Touch or Quality Time) and then uses them freely throughout his book, using his defined five languages of love like a crutch. Rather than just use words and phrases we all understand, he hides behind the banner of his made-up definitions for the "Languages of Love."

If you've ever read a good self-help book or a book about interpersonal relationships, it will conflict with everything Dr. Chapman writes. If you've studied more than 2 years of psychology or sociology, it will probably also conflict heavily with what Dr. Chapman has to say.

Where did he get his Ph.D anyway?

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