Dr. Gary Chapman
Author of The 5 Love Languages®
When it comes to talking, all of us are affected by our personality. I have observed two basic personality types. The first I call the “Dead Sea.” In the little nation of Israel, the Sea of Galilee flows south by way of the Jordan River into the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea goes nowhere. It receives but it does not give. This personality type receives many experiences, emotions, and thoughts throughout the day. They have a large reservoir where they store that information, and they are perfectly happy not talking. If you say to those with a Dead Sea personality, “What’s wrong? Why aren’t you talking tonight?” they will probably answer, “Nothing’s wrong. What makes you think something’s wrong?” And that response is perfectly honest. They are content not to talk. They could drive from Chicago to Detroit and never say a word and be perfectly happy.
The other extreme is the “Babbling Brook.” For this personality, whatever enters into the eye gate or the ear gate comes out the mouth gate, and there are seldom sixty seconds between the two. Whatever they see, whatever they hear, they tell. In fact, if no one is at home to talk to, they will call someone else. “Do you know what I saw? Do you know what I heard?” If they can’t get someone on the telephone, they may talk to themselves because they have no reservoir. Many times a Dead Sea marries a Babbling Brook. That happens because when they are dating, it is a very attractive match.
If you are a Dead Sea and you date a Babbling Brook, you will have a wonderful evening. You don’t have to think, “How will I get the conversation started tonight? How will I keep the conversation flowing?” In fact, you don’t have to think at all. All you have to do is nod your head and say, “Uh-huh,” and he or she will fill up the whole evening, and you will go home saying, “What a wonderful person.”
On the other hand, if you are a Babbling Brook and you date a Dead Sea, you will have an equally wonderful evening because Dead Seas are the world’s best listeners. You will babble for three hours. He will listen intently to you, and you will go home saying, “What a wonderful person.” You attract each other. But after five years of marriage, the Babbling Brook wakes up one morning and says, “We’ve been married five years, and I don’t know him.” The Dead Sea is saying, “I know her too well. I wish she would stop the flow and give me a break.”
The good news is that Dead Seas can learn to talk and Babbling Brooks can learn to listen. We are influenced by our personality but not controlled by it. One way to learn new patterns is to establish a daily sharing time in which each of you will talk about three things that happened to you that day and how you feel about them. I call that the “Minimum Daily Requirement” for a healthy relationship. If you will start with the daily minimum, in a few weeks or months you may find quality conversation flowing more freely between you.
Could you use a little creativity in speaking love and appreciation to others? Here are a few suggestions to inspire you:
WORDS OF AFFIRMATION: “I purchased a clear jar, decorated it, and put thirty affirmations inside, so even on days I don’t see him, he can read thirty reasons why I love him. He loved it!” —Chiffon
ACTS OF SERVICE: “My husband and I work opposite shifts. Once when I got home he seemed to be frantically getting his stuff together to leave on time. I got his lunch together for him while he got ready, and he was very appreciative of that. It was something that only took me about five minutes, but allowed him to stress a little less and showed him I was thinking of him.” —Stephanie
GIFTS: “I asked a lot of my friends to write birthday cards for my best friend. I got about 30 cards in total, put them all in a box, and gave it to him on his birthday. He felt loved and enjoyed reading everyone’s birthday wishes and encouraging words to him!” —Keziah
QUALITY TIME: “My boyfriend and I are several hours apart at different colleges. We both enjoy the same TV show, so every other night we take the time to Skype and watch that show together! It’s the perfect way to spend time with each other by chatting on the phone about the show while seeing each other, just as if we were together in person!” —Emily
PHYSICAL TOUCH: “About a year ago, I set up an alarm to go off every day, which plays the song my wife walked down the aisle to at our wedding. It works as my reminder to give her a big ol’ smooch. It’s especially fun when the alarm goes off when we’re in public . . . in those cases, we just look at each other and smile.” —Hunter