Is love a nebulous feeling that comes upon you when the time is right? Or is built from certain attitudes and actions people choose to have toward each other?
Author Gary Chapman wrote an empowering book called Love As A Way of Life (published in 2008 by WaterBrook Press) where he unpacks what makes people feel “loved.” After researching by talking with many people, Mr. Chapman distilled love coming from seven attitudes/actions people show that combine into this word called “love.” Those seven attitudes are: kindness, forgiveness, generosity, honesty, gratitude, courtesy, and patience. Living out these character qualities creates the feeling of love between family members, spouses, and friends.
Mr. Chapman gives dozens of examples to bring home his point that choosing to love people can be a way of life and there is a lot one can do to create a loving atmosphere and loving relationships. For example, a way to help a stranger feel loved is to let them pull ahead of you into traffic; your choice of being kind, putting another person ahead of yourself, and letting a person into the stream of traffic could brighten that person’s day.
Love As A Way Of Life has little surveys to assess your level of these character traits of honesty, patience, etc. And at the end of each chapter Mr. Chapmen lists ways to help develop that character trait in your life. His challenges bring more awareness, and his breaking down love into “having patience and not exploding in anger toward your spouse who accidently burnt the meatloaf” and other small attitudes and actions is SO helpful.
This book has helped me understand love so much more! The last couple of years, when I would be dating someone and he would say, “I love you,” I would ask for a definition of what he meant. This book helped me understand the small steps that build love into a relationship. I’ve had some unpleasant revelations when I realized that not having patience when a roommate left the sink full of dishes, communicated unlove, but I’m choosing to show love to myself and learn from my mistakes.
Love IS a choice. Love CAN be built by choosing to be honest with someone you care for, by choosing to be generous, and by forgiving those who hurt you. It’s wonderful when you just feel loving, but Gary Chapman’s book helped me understand more how to love even when it’s not the first reaction, and I recommend this book to everyone.
By M. H. Campbell Copyright 2015