“Why didn’t I think of that?” is my response to Judson Swihart’s How Do You Say, “I Love You?” (InterVarsity). This 95-page book is fantastic in its depth and simplicity. Men and women say “I love you” and hear “I love you” in different ways. It is almost as if a man speaks German while his wife speaks French. Thus, no matter how much they say, “I love you,” the other has difficulty getting the message.
How do we solve this problem? “It is the primary task of every marriage partner to discover the languages that are used and then to learn to effectively use these languages to communicate feelings and attitudes of love” (p. 14). It seems so simple, so obvious; but there are couples who are screaming “I love you” to their partners and never getting through because they do not understand how the other person needs to receive love. “Love expressed is not sufficient. It must be heard to have any meaning. If it lands on deaf ears, it is ineffective” (p. 16). When partners speak different love languages both feel hurt and neglected, not because they are not loved but because they do not know how their spouse says, “I love you.” This book is intended to help both parties speak the same language.
Swihart has written a fine book. Out of the hundreds of new books being published on marriage and family themes, how do you determine what has potential?
The best marriage and family authors are seminar leaders and conference speakers. This is the first criterion I use in selecting good books on marriage and family. After that I look for books by previously published authors—although two of these wrote bombs this time around. Finally, I want a book that deals in depth with a specialized aspect of marriage or family living as Swihart’s does. ...
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