a multi-faceted outreach project aimed at encouraging happy, healthy romantic & parent-child relationships

The Five Love Languages in Action: A Story about Helping a Friend

I teach a "Communication in Romantic Relationships" class at one of the best places on earth, James Madison University. I created this class about 5 years ago and teach it every fall semester to about 30 undergraduates. It is one of my all-time favorite classes. Not just because I love the content, but mostly because of the constant "ah-ha moments" I see in my students on a weekly basis. At the end of each semester, my students are required to write a creative entertainment speech about what they've learned and present it to the class as their final exam. It's a fun time for all of us to reflect over the last 16 weeks. As usual, the speeches this semester were amazing. But for me, this one seriously stood out among the rest. After everyone presented, I asked the student who delivered it (Evan Schartow) if he would allow me to publish his speech here. He agreed. Enjoy his words below.


The Five Love Languages in Action
By: Evan Schartow

Like everyone else, my time in this class was interesting. We went over a lot and learned some solid life lessons on how to treat the people you are close with and how you can make your relationships strong and successful. I knew that all of this was very important and meaningful, but I wasn't sure exactly when it would come into play, other than sharing a few things with my girlfriend and parents.

However, something came up way sooner than I expected. About a month ago while I was at work, the guy I was cooking with started venting a bit about his wife and some of the issues they were having. He said that they had been arguing about money, the kids, and his in laws (Go figure, three things of the things that cause the most arguments in a marriage). And every time something got particularly nasty his wife would threaten divorce. He was at his breaking point and didn't know what to do anymore. So I was listening, being a good friend and stuff, you know. And then he said, "I just don't get it man. I do all this shit around the house and take care of so much for her and she doesn't notice or even say thank you."

And I was like... WOAH. Now I have told him about my romantic communication class before, so I asked him if I could give some advice. He said of course, so I proceeded. In hindsight, there was probably a ton of advice I could have given him, but I decided to tell him about The Five Love Languages. I explained that love works differently for different people, and she may not be accepting his love because it is not the way that she needs to receive her love and support. Instead, he may be loving his wife in the way that he craves to be loved. And vice versa. This blew his mind. He said that he never would've thought about that as even a potential reason they weren't seeing eye to eye.

I brought him the book the next shift we worked together and he was very excited to read it with his wife. He had an extremely positive attitude about trying something new, and he genuinely seemed eager to learn about he and his wife's love preferences.

Last week, I asked if he'd had a chance to read the book. He said he and his wife were about three quarters of the way through. He told me that they were already talking to each other differently, without contempt and threats. He said they have started to deal with small conflicts one at a time instead of bringing up multiple things at once, and that conflicts were being resolved much quicker and easier than ever before.

I was very happy to know that I helped someone, and happier that a marriage of a friend is healthier. I was surprised that something that big, directly related to what we've been learning, came up so quickly in my life like that. It makes me wonder how many things have happened in the past that I have completely overlooked similar to this situation. Thanks to this class, I will now be able to provide good advice to those I care about and implement healthy ways to love into my own relationships, both current and future.
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