Back in college, my girlfriends and I read Why Men Love Bitches and it changed my life forever.
I know, I know. Is there anything ruder than discussing another book at our final book club meeting for Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages? But it has to do with speaking love languages authentically. So just humor me.
The love languages can be used for manipulation.
From the very start of the book, Chapman insists that love is not about getting something you want–it’s about your partner’s happiness. And toward the end of the book, he warns us again that we shouldn’t use the love languages to manipulate our partners. After all, Chapman is trying to teach us how to speak love languages authentically.
Real love isn’t about flattering our way into a mowed lawn and vacuumed living room. And it’s not about bribing or seducing our way into a new Audi.
But Why Men Love Bitches was kind of totally about that! And let me tell you something yall, that book worked!
To be fair, that book will give any desperate and pathetic doormat of a girlfriend a much needed wake up call. And I will forever be mortified and thankful to its author for that lesson.
But it placed little value on how to speak love languages authentically. Instead, it read like a fool-proof play-by-play for wrapping dumb college boys around my finger for awhile. But of course, those relationships (and I use that term loosely) never lasted long and were totally dysfunctional when they did.
But real love can only exist when we are being our authentic selves.
Why were they dysfunctional? Because relationships don’t work when we are not being our authentic selves. We need to be open with our partners and open and loving to ourselves as well.
But don’t take my word for it.
And now, a BONUS VIDEO from a relationship expert!
To celebrate our completion of The 5 Love Languages, we have a special guest video post by Los Angeles-based licensed marriage and family therapist Nansi Manokian.
In this brief video, Nansi talks about the importance of being your authentic self with your partner and how cultivating self-love is the key to any healthy and authentic relationship.
Feel free to leave her (or the rest of us) your questions and comments below. You can also get more of Nansi’s calm and loving guidance over on Instagram @familycounselingandguidance.