The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate
The Five Love Languages: A Review
Though most books that claim to contain the magic formula for maintaining healthy relationships fall far short, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate seems to come close. Gary Chapman, a relationship counselor, compiled the list over the course of his counseling career based on how couples described what was missing in their relationships.
After the Honeymoon Phase Ends, Then What?
Chapman’s love languages are meant to create a balance of emotional exchange for couples after the “falling in love” phase of the relationship is over. He points out that our most basic human need is to feel genuinely loved by another person. But how we show that love is not always perceived as such by our spouse. So our job is to find out what love looks like to our spouse and to feed that need. To hook the reader into buying into his premise, Chapman includes anecdotes from couples who have experienced great success after being in either a workshop or counseling session with him.
What are the Five Love Languages?
According to Chapman, the five love languages are Quality Time, Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Receiving Gifts, and Physical Touch. He points out that there are dialects within all these languages so we have to be careful not to jump to conclusions about our partner’s language too swiftly. For instance if a spouse’s love language is physical touch, his/her dialect may be hugging, but not sexual intimacy. He offers three ways to find out your partner’s love language.
Loving is a Choice
One of the major points that resonated with me is that loving is a choice. Chapman says that when we discover our partner’s primary love language, our choosing to then meet that need is an expression of our love. Or rather, If we choose to ignore our partner’s primary love language, we are choosing not to love. At least that will be our partner’s perception, and his or her “emotional tank” will eventually empty because what he/she perceives as love is not coming his/her way.
The Overall Point
Gary Chapman makes some extremely good points about human relationships, whether for husband and wife or parent and child. His message in The Five Love Languages is simple: find out what makes the significant person feel loved and express your love for him/her in that manner. He believes that the more we practice communicating love in this fashion, the more likely our partner will want to do the same for us.
A Quick and Enlightening Read
Covering only 191 pages, the book is a quick read. The language is easy and the chapters are tight. Chapman includes activities at the end of each chapter to help the reader practice learning a specific love language. He also includes male and female profiles at the end of the book to help a reader find his/her own love language. Even if you are comfortable in your current relationship, The Five Love Languages is worth your exploration. And if you are having trouble this book might actually save your marriage.