How Do I Love Thee?

With my sister at an O's game.

Let me count the ways. Well, apparently there are only five ways, according to Gary Chapman, author of "The Five Love Languages." The original book was intended for married couples, but given the success, Chapman wrote a version for people like me: "The Five Love Languages: Singles Edition."

At the recommendation of a friend, I decided to check it out and see what all of the hype was about. I'll admit I was a bit skeptical at first. After all, love is such a complex emotion. How could one guy possibly boil it down to five "languages," or methods. But, after reading the book (and taking notes, no less!), I have to say Chapman has some pretty good points.

Basically, Chapman believes there are five languages through which we demonstrate our love for one another and prefer to be loved. Those languages are: 1. Words of Affirmation, 2. Gifts, 3. Acts of Touch, 4. Quality Time and 5. Physical Touch.

About to go snorkeling con mi madre...

Before I began reading the book, I assumed my love language would be receiving gifts. Quite simply, I love gifts. I love to receive them, but even better, I love to give them. There's nothing like high and satisfaction of finding the perfect gift for someone. Now before you think I'm a superficial spoiled brat, please allow me to explain that's not the case.

For me, it's the thought behind the gift that really excites me. A gift is a physical manifestation of someone's love for me. It says, "Hey, I saw this thing and I thought of you. I hope you like it."–that's the real gift.

But, after taking the profile assessment in the back of the book, I discovered my primary love language is quality time, closely followed by receiving gifts. After I read the chapter about quality time, my assessment made perfect sense. By my very nature, I'm a people person. I prefer to be with people than being alone. For example, before my sister was born, I created an imaginary friend named Charlie to keep me company. I sent him away to San Francisco once my sister was born, but I digress.

Chilling with Daddy.

I absolutely love spending quality time with my family and friends. It doesn't matter where we are or what we're doing, as long as we're together. Some of my fondest college memories took place in my college dorm with my best friends, affectionately known as The Dream Team. My family and I can manage to have just as much fun in our backyard as we do in Hawaii and Puerto Rico. I enjoy late night Waffle House dates with my sister, biking trips with my dad and shopping adventures with my mom. And when I can't be with someone physically, I love hour-long phone calls, daily texts and iChat/Gchat conversations until the wee hours of the morning.

The Dream Team.

Why? Because quality time is important to me. As Chapman says, you can love somebody all you want, but if you don't learn to speak his or her love language, it's all for naught. Since reading "The Five Love Languages: Singles Edition," I've tried to identify my loved ones' languages in hopes that I can become a better daughter, sister, friend, etc. After all, there's more to love than just the romantic kind.