5 Love Languages Part Three

Something like 70-80% of divorces are initiated by the woman. Google why women divorce and these articles will show up.

– The Good Men Project article lists infidelity, boredom, fantasizing about others, wanting equality of work, and women’s expectations for more as main reasons.

– A collective Huffpost therapists piece lists being taken for granted; having the same argument over and over; not being satisfied with their sex life; not enough talking and connecting emotionally; and having outgrown their partner and seeing divorce as the only way of putting themselves first again.

– says it’s often about losing connection when the kids are grown; a realization that life is finite and slipping by, especially in middle age where caring for elderly parents brings new stresses that often test a couple’s coping skills.

Just summarizing this sampling tells us something of what might be going on. Connection is our greatest need. For most men, it’s enough to be respected let alone be loved.  Love’s meaning is different things to different people.

And it is here where 5LL and its ilk are wholly inadequate. For it’s not about love at all. Leave love to the poets I say, the secret to good marriages has more to do with lust.


Listen to me here: everyone wants to be someone’s chosen. And in most cases, it is women who do the choosing and orchestrate things so you end up pursuing her.

Nature affords preciousness to women not accorded to men. She has twenty of years of reasonably safe fertility; you have twice that or more. There’s a 90 year old farmer in Rajasthan who fathered a little girl in 2007 at age 90.

And yet, it is you she chose, for your power and your ability to conquer her soul. And for this, she has given herself completely to you, revealing bits of her mystery in the process.

Just because she has children, and perhaps a job and other responsibilities, does not diminish, in the least, who she is as a sexual being. Of all the men she could have chosen, you were it. It was your power as a man which gave you access to her body and mind, to her inner world.

This is what captivated you, captivated you both in each, your power and her mystery. This must always be honoured.

Each time I take my woman sexually, the clock resets to zero. The pursuit then starts all over again: the teasing, the flirting, the complimenting and the rest of the way we play the game between us. I date her for the first time again and again.

Though we realize we’ll give in to each other in time, it is never taken for granted. I must earn her once more; just the same way I did when we first dated. That is a truer basis for the pair-bond cycle and one which all men should keep in mind.

She is your Queen.

Missus and I did the 5LL test. What we found was most of the questions were things we already did. On any given day I could have answered differently to the 30 questions. She said the same thing.

Sometimes, I could use a pat on the back, other times a little help with a chore. Whatever. No one needs to tell us we need to encourage each other, help each other out, hold and hug and love each other physically or spend time together. So many questions she said she wanted to answer “both” but had to choose one.

She went Quality Time 10; Physical Touch 8; Words of Affirmation 7; Acts of Service 5; Receiving Gifts 0.

I went Acts of Service 9; Physical Touch 9; Words of Affirmation 8; Quality Time 5; Receiving Gifts 0.

Looks like today I needed to spend time with her, say nice things and touch her. She sure liked it when I accompanied her to the phone store to upgrade her I-phone this morning, entertaining the kids in the truck for an hour while she took care of her business.

When she finally finished she was pretty impressed I had gotten her a coffee at the McDonalds while we waited. Does that count as a gift according to Chapman? I suppose it’s at least partly the little things, you see.

We might take the test in a month and get new results, but following the usual, significance for men, emotions for women, generality. Obvious to me perhaps but I concede not to everyone.

As it was, my little girl has stomach flu and has been vomiting all day. It was a bit of an “all hands on deck” time as we both attended to our sick child, her taking the lead. As the baby whisperer, I backed her up and put our four year old boy to bed.

The other implication of 5LL is that you can’t figure out how to treat your lady well on your own. That you are so clueless something as basic as encouragement, hanging out together, helping each other and remembering to get her a coffee is beyond you.

In my opinion, it’s a bit of a red herring. The real issue is to treat that woman of yours like you did when you first met and leave 5LL as a cute Facebook post without discounting it altogether.

Better still, remember Gottman’s 7 principles and dream together. Often.

Maybe you have children or are planning to, or maybe you don’t. Each other’s investment in rearing offspring will factor in your attraction to each other. I know I based my acquiescence to missus at least a little bit on how she spoke about her own upbringing.

Above all, remember your relationship or family is a consequence of your personal power as a man. It’s what gets you access to her mystery.

Stay powerful, she needed this from you then and needs this from you now.

The secret to relationships is to put lust first.

Do that and love will take care of itself.

Christopher K Wallace

© 2017 all rights reserved

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5 Love Languages Part Two

According to attachment theory proponent and developer of Emotions Focused Therapy, Professor Sue Johnson from Ottawa University, there are two main inquiries we need answered in a relationship. Are you there? Are you with me? These both must be answered affirmatively.

To me, the first question speaks to the feminine need for presence, listening, and being there fully for your partner. The second question is perhaps more masculine, referring to being on the same team, and having each other’s back.

Answer these two questions in the positive and you’ve got a good basis for a love that will last.

I think most women are irresistibly attracted to men of power. Your status in your woman’s eyes is a key marker of her happiness in the relationship. Less important is how your power manifests itself, whether you are the boss, well-off financially, intelligent enough to show potential, physically strong or even the bad-ass type. Power signals to a woman certainty. If she needs it, you’ll be able to provide, protect etc.

Men are attracted to women for looks first, and stay with her out of loyalty. Part of that loyalty involves how well she’ll mother his children if that’s in the cards.  If she’s loyal, she becomes his standard. When he thinks naked, he sees only her.

It is a testament to his adaptability that a man can learn to love almost anyone when the conditions are right. Furthermore, a man with a loyal woman by his side will defend her to the death.

I think this fits Johnson’s two queries. She needs his presence and power; he needs her looks and loyalty, and there is some of each of it in both.

In my decades of observing couples and living my own relationships, I note there’s something of a well-honed bullshit detector in most women. After all women are generally more empathetic and better at reading emotions on a man’s face. If a woman senses a man is being weak for no good reason, she will either rub salt in the open wounds of his weakness or hold him in silent contempt.

At this point, sex is pretty much out. Sound familiar?

Over two-thirds of conflict in a marriage is “perpetual” according to John Gottman. He’s the guy who can watch a couple talk for 15 minutes and predict with over 90% accuracy if they will break up within five years. The rest of conflict, “resolvable” stuff, is challenging but small change comparatively… so savour those communication victories for the sweetness they are.

In his book, After the Honeymoon, psychologist Dan Wile says you are inevitably choosing a set of unsolvable problems for the next decades when you choose your partner. The problems you choose are the ones you can cope with.

So how do you survive this dead-end? You live, you learn, and most of all, you laugh about it.

I like to put stuff back where I find it, or keep things in predictable places. Saves time and makes me more efficient. I don’t want to spend my life relearning when I do regular things.

Keeping our stuff in the same places is less important to the missus. Not a priority. It’s sometimes like a treasure hunt to find stuff in the house. While mildly annoying at best, a bit frustrating at other times, it’s not a deal breaker.

I chuckle at her, wondering what she was thinking when she tucked my stuff away to the point where I think I’ve lost it for good. When I find it again, it’s like a reunion. Over the 12 years I’ve been with her, she’s gotten better. Just like I’ve gotten better with money under her influence, though still working on it.

No complaints here, I don’t want to jinx the progress.

Want to read a good book about how to make marriages work? I recommend The Seven Principles by the aforementioned Gottman. When approaching a solvable problem, follow these steps (my notes added):

  1. Start-up soft rather than harsh. (How many times does flying off the handle not work for us to learn not to do it?).
  2. Learn to use repair attempts. (Take a shot at a solution as soon as possible. Then, listen more carefully and try again).
  3. Monitor your body for how tense you’re becoming. (Emotion is predictive, not reactive, and from interoception, experience derived concepts and social reality).
  4. Learn to compromise (make a deal; you can make those right? Give a bit; get a bit; look for the win-win).
  5. Tolerate each other’s imperfections (they become endearing after a time. Who wants to live with a carbon copy of themselves?)

Gottman contends it’s a myth you have to resolve all your marital conflicts to survive and thrive in your marriage. The key is to be constantly working things out good-naturedly.

The other big key is to dream together. Pillow talk might be a bit cliché but a version of it is essential in all marriages. In fact, Gottman’s principle number 1 is the idea of a love map.  Nothing beats dreaming together for big picture peace.

He follows it with 2. Nurture fondness and admiration; 3. Turn toward each other rather than away; 4. Let your partner influence you; 5. Solve solvable problems; 6. Overcome gridlock; and 7. Create shared meaning.

This bit about turning towards each other is a good point, also fitting Sue Johnson’s and her Emotions Focused Therapy briefly mentioned above. For example, rather than a guy getting freaked out about his gal’s relationships at work, it might be better to stand in front of her, gently touch her shoulders with both hands, look her in the eye with a slight smile and tell her you don’t want to lose her.

Turning towards each other sort of fits Chapman’s Love Languages. Knowing what missus appreciates just as she knows what I like can help make a relationship sail along more smoothly. That alone is not enough.

How do you overcome gridlock, those times when you’re both going nowhere on an issue? Gottman says you must be willing to explore hidden, root cause stuff.

It’s by uncovering and sharing the significant personal dreams you have for your life, as these unrequited dreams are most often at the core of what makes people stuck. He goes further to say endless argument is symbolic of some deeper difference crying out for attention before you can move on together.

So talk about your dreams, your aspirations together over a longer timeline.

Knowing this is such a precious gift.

Christopher K Wallace
©2017 all rights

5LL part three coming up. You’ll want to stick around for this.

5 Love Languages   Part One.

5 Love Languages? Give me a break.

I ask you: what kind of unfounded sorcery is this preoccupation with love languages?

It seems wherever I turn of late, in whatever forum, as soon as relationships come up someone asks the question: “what’s her love language?”

My, my, how far we men have fallen in just one generation.

Why in the hell would I want to know my wife’s love language? Does such a thing exist?  I have no intention of anticipating her every whim and desire trying to tailor my approach so that I become her best girlfriend in the process.  I know that’s an impossible dream. Wrong guy.

First out in 1995, Chapman’s book was rightly ignored for almost a decade and a half and did not take off until 2009. I’m not sure why… it took off at all. Oprah?

Only now, in addition to the original work, he’s also got versions for men, for singles, for teenagers, and for children, along with a 5 love languages book summary and a 30 day minute devotional. It may be out of control.

And all that’s in addition to another half dozen relationship books with his name on them. I’m pretty sure they’ll be an improvement. He’s an enterprising sort our Mr. Chapman, a marketing genius.

The author contends if only you knew your spouse or partner’s “preferred” approaches, magic between you will surely ensue. Fill her “Love Tank” by doing essentially what you do anyway, common expressions of devotion and appreciation for each other, only now named languages of love.


A kindly but fully indoctrinated soul on a post recently explained how he’s distilled Chapman’s game into the acronym CHAAP, with each letter corresponding to a 5LL equivalent , as in:

Compliments: 5LL Words of Affirmation

Help: 5LL Acts of Service

Attention: 5LL Quality Time

Affection: 5LL Physical Touch

Presents: 5LL Receiving Gifts

Is there research to back any of his claims up? Not much. The name is suspicious. (“You bought me a car? Now you’re talking my language, honey!!!”) Huh?

I suppose the good news is if your gal is the Receiving Gifts type, you can decide on the spot if that’s going to work for you longer term. (“I thought you wanted presence not presents, dammit!”) Everyone likes a gift, no exceptions. Duh..

Moreover, how many kids have a Love Language that includes Receiving Gifts I wonder? Isn’t that how Santa was created? Isn’t trading and receiving goods an imbedded trait in a culture dependent on each other for survival?

I think the idea of relying on 5 Love Languages as anything but a novelty pop quiz is weak. It’s the same kind of silly exercise we see on Facebook walls all the time. My friends and I find these amusing for the parts of them that are slightly true.

For example, only recently, I found out my dog personality in just a few moments of analysis: “You know about your loved ones’ needs very well and attack anyone who hurts them. The only way to get away from your power and strength is to never cross you. You’re as loving and as deadly as a Rottweiler.”

(Appeals to my protective instinct as a father and over-exaggerates the rest of it but I’ll take it on a slow Internet day).

Then I found out I was 31% undate-able, and 69% date-able. (Don’t remind my missus of what she already knows).

Oh, and I have an asshole quote: “I’m not an asshole. I am actually one of the nicest people you will ever meet. You’re just pissed because I can see through your bullshit.”

(I help people see through their stories and rarely piss people off doing it).

I’d put Chapman’s theoretical foundation on love languages in about the same category as these: cute, entertaining, and perhaps helpful to a degree, but casting a wide net with limited foundation.

Seems to me Chapman is taking obvious heuristic and repackaging it as if it’s the Shangri la of relationships, an ultimate panacea for what ails marriages, men, teens, and children.

And, well, everyone else too by the time he’s done. My advice is to skip the books and take the online test one time. That will tell you all you ever need to know.

I figure it’s only a matter of time before pictures start appearing of gullible souls flashing bookshelves with Chapman’s Complete Collection, all nicely arrayed by order of importance (or half read).

Anyone who studies these things knows an approach like the 5 LL is at best a way of getting people talking, and, at worst, a stretch into balderdash.

Should you try and be more sensitive to your partner’s needs? Duh. Does that need an answer? Should we try to understand each other in general? Again, stupid question. In what some call the age of empathy, this is yet another example of empathy run amok.

And that’s the problem with empathy in general. In a recent book, Yale University professor Paul Bloom cautions us by saying “if you are absorbed in the suffering of others, you’re less able to help them because achieving goals often requires inflicting short-term pain.”

Better to have something like compassion, or a version of cognitive empathy. That is, as Bloom continues, the “capacity to understand what’s going on in other people’s head, to know what makes them tick, what gives them joy and pain, what they see as humiliating or ennobling.”

Right about now you might be thinking, “Aha! That’s exactly what 5LL does!” Well, yes and no.

It’s just that 5LL is like the Myers-Briggs test given out all over corporate America: replication is weak and unreliable.

One day you’re an ESFI and a month later you’re an MBTI. In the same way, people’s life contexts change, and circumstances and maturity over time mean trivial preferences like those found in 5LL no longer hold up. They are a lousy way to go about things except on a very short term basis.

Relationships, and especially the differences between men and women, are challenging enough without imposing a “here-today, gone-tomorrow” rule of preferences, set like a trap to go off when you least expect it. What guy needs that aggravation? (“But I thought you liked chocolates sweetie? I’m on a diet asshole!”)

As human beings we are categorizers and meaning-makers. 5LL is a lot like following the Horoscopes: a little obvious bullshit for everyone.

Stay tuned. In 5LL parts two and three, I’ll speak to what really works in a relationship.

Christopher K Wallace
©2017 all rights reserved

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