The author of this book, Gary Chapman, became aware of the five love languages from years of experience as a counselor and studying anthropology. He was counseling a particular couple when it dawned on him that they both showed and received love in different ways. Thus, this book was eventually written.
We’ve all been in love. We become completely smitten with another person. We can’t eat, we can’t sleep, we think of them 24/7. We even drop everything we care about in order to spend time with this person doing the things they love. Then we get married…..and we wonder where that “in love” feeling went. Chapman addresses this in the third chapter of his book. He calls this the in-love experience and feels the longest it can last is about 2 years. And if in those 2 years you don’t learn your spouse’s love language, trouble can begin.
The love languages include:
Words of Affirmation – Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten
Quality Time – In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.
Receiving gifts – Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.
Acts of Service – Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.
Physical Touch – This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.
I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to those who are not having issues in their marriage as well a those who are. It not only helps you show love in the most meaningful way to your spouse, but also teaches you a bit about your own needs. The author makes clear that you cannot demand love, but only request and hope that it is given. This book is simply written and a quick, easy read. The ideas within are simple yet logical and insightful.
Joel and I learned we have the same love language, Quality Time. My secondary love language is Acts of Service. These things I mostly knew of myself, but I did not guess his correctly AT ALL 🙂 I think there is something to be learned and implemented from this book in my marriage and it can only gain from doing so.
At the end of the book there is an assessment for both husband and wife so that you can determine both love languages. Very useful. You can also take the test (and other test) on the Five Love Languages website.