Thursday, April 21, 2011


As a single-parent, I have to admit that I'm kind of biased to literature that reflects my own life story. Even still, certain material can be inspiring whether reflective or one's lifestyle or not. A couple weekends ago, I sat down with a book that a friend insisted I read, and in less than 2 hours, I had practically inhaled it. Was I ever glad that she shared it with about inspiring...

Dear Grace, Letters to a Single Parent by Temiika D. Gipson, tells the story of a single mother's journey to Christ, written through a series of letters addressed to a woman named Grace. It is a quick read, not only because it's a mild 70 pages, but because the story is so engaging that it's a one-sitter. The author's testimony regarding the challenges she has faced as a wife, woman, daughter, and single-mother universally crosses color, class, and faith boundaries.

While written from a Christian perspective and heavily cloaked in religious verbage and theology, most single-mothers from any walk of life will be able to see themselves in this story from one perspective or another. The material shared in the 7 letters depicts a real, raw, and relevant account of the author's circumstances of the 10 year span covered. Just enough details about varying events are offered to paint a clear picture of each particular situation, while not so much as to distract you from the author's overarching theme of God having the power to bring us through any situation, and ultimately for our good.

Each chapter begins with a poem, and concludes with a set of questions designed to prompt more thought about one's own beliefs and values. As a book including poetry, autobiographical accounts and single-mother self-help book all in one, the author has marked little traveled territory genre-wise and sets new and unique standards in the world of self-publishing. In my opinion, that's exactly what self-publishing is all about.

The poem, chapter, and questions could have flowed together more smoothly in the layout, but the overall attempt at this content design style is one to be applauded. As for the testimony itself - empowering, inspirational and motivating! A few more details about specific situations would have painted a more concrete picture in a few of the letters, but that the book is written as letters and not a straight-ahead autobiography, makes this point moot.

For the single-parent looking for light at the end of the tunnel, this is a work that will serve as a reminder that everything happens for a reason and that "trouble don't last always". From a religious standpoint, it stands as a reminder that God will never leave or forsake you. Any way you slice it, the work stands to enhance your perspective on life as a single-parent. Kudos to the author for this valiant effort and courageous offering. Finding this book won't be a problem either, as it is widely available on
amazon (paperback & Kindle), as well as from other major book retailers.


Thursday, April 14, 2011


Welcome from Gary from Dr. Gary Chapman on Vimeo.

For more on The 5 Love Languages check out THE WEBSITE...very comprehensive & tricked out with free downlaoadable resources for professionals, such a counselors, pastors, and marriage educators. As a Marriage and Family Therapy graduate student, I was tickled to find free goodies that I can incorporate into my actual counseling, like:

-an informative Podcast

- Assessments for the various love languages and appropriate relationships that allow you to learn your own love language

Now, don't just take my word for it...check out the DVD Promotional Video that allows you to hear about the gist of the book straight from the horses mouth

The 5 Love Languages™ DVD Promo (DPTV) from Dr. Gary Chapman on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Written by renowned marriage and family therapy counselor, Dr. Gary Chapman, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret To Love That Lasts offers an ideology that teaches 5 fundamental ways to express love in marriage and other significant relationships. The ideology stresses that people express their love for one another in various ways and that to identify them is to open the door to healthy communication. Taught from a Christian perspective and written primarily to help couples improve their marriages, the focus of the book is on loving more effectively, which can apply to any relationship. Chapman has discovered that we each have a primary love language, and often communicate our love to others from the perspective of how we prefer to be shown love. Loving from our own perspective contributes to dysfunction in the relationship because we are ignoring the love language of the spouse, or loved one, which is most likely different from our own. As a result of not loving one another according to the primary love language of each individual, our “love tank” runs empty, and this is what contributes to the discourse in our marriages and other close relationships.

Using a communication model, Chapman has termed the 5 love languages: words of affirmation, receiving gifts, acts of service, quality time, and physical touch. Words of affirmation concentrates on using words to affirm the other person, which will in turn increase their self- image and confidence. Receiving gifts is a universal act across all cultures that expresses to a person that they are valued and being thought about. Acts of service requires doing something considerate for a spouse or loved one that requires an investment of time and thought that will lead to that person feeling special. Quality time involves giving one’s spouse or loved one their undivided attention in order to show them how important they are to be with. Physical touch means giving physical attention, such as hugs and kisses, back rubs, massages, outside of sexual activity in order to awaken the love within one’s spouse or loved one. Often, an individual communicates using more than one of these love languages, however, Chapman resolves that there is always one dominate to the others.

According to Chapman, just as with spoken languages, each love language has a variety of dialects, meaning there are specific things that one can do that may speak to a spouse or family member more than another. Chapman believes that learning our spouses or family members love language will change the climate in the house and promote a more loving environment all around. Citing the divorce rates as 40% of first marriages ending in divorce; 65% of second; and 70% of third, Chapman makes a great case for why loving better might save more marriages.

Chapman’s ideology works from the assumption that all marital problems stem from a lack of speaking the effective love language, when in many cases there are more severe problems contributing to the marital breakdown. The model does not consider deeper issues like drug and/or alcohol problems or personality conditions that might prevent the spouse from being consistent with the love language behavior. That one’s love tank needs constant filling by our spouse reflects a more serious problem and Chapman’s ideology negates this core issue. There is a root “why” question that needs to be understood before one can effectively address the “how” question that will move a relationship in the area to be permanently healed in that area. A love deficit is typically indictive of a basic need not being met early in life. In order to change this within an individual needs more cognitive restructuring as to the individual core beliefs need to be addressed or the spouse is likely to run the risk of falling back on their old behavior.

Considering this is written from a Christian angle, my thinking is that Chapman would point out that only a relationship with Christ can truly fill our love tanks. While unconditional love from our spouse communicated in our primary love language will make our marriages more healthy, no one person can make us happier people - only we can accomplish that through our own submission to the joy from a life in Christ. Chapman points out that we spend a lot of time loving for ourselves when we should be loving for others, yet encourages a self-centered approach to giving love in order to get the love that we need.

From a self-help perspective, I think that Chapman does a great job showing the importance of recognizing that we do not all communicate the same in love and that we should be both conscious and considerate of that in our relationships. On the other hand, because family is the the core relationship in our world, I believe that in order to reverse the divorce rate, we need to investigate the deeper human issues that are affecting us individually before we can expect a simple model to revolutionize the way we love and communicate. All in all, it is a great read and a basic step that could help any couple or individual toward developing a healthier relationship.