Sunday, July 13, 2008

Review: Love as a Way of Life by Gary Chapman

Love as a Way of Life
by Dr. Gary Chapman

For decades Dr. Gary Chapman’s best-selling books have shown readers how to speak the “love language” of those they care about. Now he digs even deeper to uncover the foundations of what it means to cultivate a lifestyle of love and how doing so leads to satisfaction and success in every area of life.
Drawing fresh insights from timeless biblical principles, Chapman presents poignant stories of real people who have discovered the joys of living out the seven characteristics of authentic love: kindness, patience, forgiveness, humility, courtesy, generosity, and honesty. Enhanced with eye-opening self tests, practical ideas for building daily habits of love, and inspiring examples of love’s power to change lives, this book guides readers in putting love to work in all of their interpersonal relationships.
Convinced that in a world of constant conflict people desperately need authentic love, Chapman paints a compelling vision of how life can be richer and relationships more satisfying for anyone who practices Love as a Way of Life.

Love is an attitude that says “I choose to focus my life on helping others.”’ – Gary Chapman

Love as a Way of Life is another incredible book on love and relationships. It focuses on the true joy of loving others and giving without expecting to receive.
Chapman defines the seven characteristics of a loving person, touching on many aspects of each. He outlines how to become less involved with ourselves and shift our focus to reaching out to others in kindness. We learn patience in all areas of our lives. Chapman explains that justice and love must work together in forgiveness. The chapter on courtesy shows what it means to be ‘friendly-minded’ and helps us recognize the struggles of others. He demonstrates true humility and sacrificing for others. Generosity is portrayed as the giving of oneself in all aspects of life. Finally, he discusses honesty and expressing it in a loving manner.
Chapman begins these seven chapters with a checklist and ends with ways to apply it to your own life. The final section of the book shows how to apply these characteristics to specific areas and relationships in our life, including marriage, children and work.

Love as a Way of Life is similar to The Five Love Languages in that it encourages us to seek ways to enrich the lives of others, but it goes much deeper. You cannot know the Love Language of every person you meet, but you can learn to treat them with love. Chapman breaks these principals down to everyday living, from complex family dynamics to situations such as driving or shopping. Love as a Way of Life is relatable to all ages and walks of life, as the principals are universal.

Chapman makes you think about doing the small things that really do matter. The checklists are thought provoking – when you find a characteristic that is one of your weak spots, it really makes you pause. The author offers practical solutions, as he understands that we all possess weaknesses and strengths, which elevates this beyond just another “you can do it” book.

The storytelling aspect keeps readers engaged. It demonstrates that we are not alone in our struggles and gives us a sense of community. Chapman outlines potential problems and people who have encountered these challenges, and his solutions give you actual things to try.

The Apostle Paul comes to mind as someone who truly adopted love as a way of life. While we may not be able to follow his incredible example of loving sacrifice, through Love as a Way of Life, we can all strive to do a little better!

Author Bio:
Gary Chapman is the author of twenty-five books, including the New York Times bestseller The Five Love Languages, with more than 4 million copies in print. His daily radio program, A Love Language Minute, is broadcast on more than 100 stations nationwide. Chapman, a graduate of Moody Bible Institute, Wheaton College, Wake-Forest University, and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, serves on the pastoral staff at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

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