February 14, 2008

Book Review: The Five Love Languages

In with the theme of Valentines Day, I figured I would review this book by Gary Chapman. It was given to me by a friend to borrow. No, we weren't having marital problems, she just thought I would enjoy reading it.

Usually I stay away from self-help books. They have a tendency to be more about making money than helping people. And I think if a couple is having serious marital problems it will take more than just a book to help them figure it out.

But I figured I would give it a try. So I did.

According to Gary Chapman, many marital problems stem from both partners speaking in different love languages. In this book he proposes five different love languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. There is a quiz at the end of the book to help you determine your specific love language.

While it was an interesting book to read, I didn't find it particularly enlightening. I think he oversimplified and repeated many things. Perhaps this was done so that he could publish it as a book and not just a booklet or magazine article. And I don't think it is as simple as a person having just one love language. I think it is a blend of all five that really makes a person feel loved. At least it does me.

But it did have some useful insights to how different people respond to different expressions of love. For example, in one story a husband worked hard to provide a good home and life for his family wondered why his wife didn't show appreciation for his efforts. Turned out that while he was off working hard, he was neglecting his wife's needs at home. ll she wanted was his time and attention.

It is a good reminder that we should actually pay attention to our mates, find out their likes and dislikes.


  1. When you wrote about this on your blog, it seemed to me like he was just relying on stereotypes for the most part. Like I said, in my relationship, it's Brad that's the talker. I do all my talking on my blog. Being quiet doesn't mean there's anything wrong. Also Brad is the one that's always looking for validation. I actually get kind of embarrassed if he compliments the cleanliness of the house or anything like that, but if he does something, like putting together a piece of furniture, I have to gush and brag to all my friends and thank him a billion times before we can move on. I don't think relying on stereotypes is a sound basis for a relationship book.

  2. I've never read this book, but I've gone to a class on the material. I think that he makes a good point, but that it might be overly simplistic. It's important to remember that we give and receive love in different ways, so that we can love others in ways that is meaningful to them. However, I don't think it's as important to properly classify everyone into one box or another. Personally, I'm a sucker for words of affirmation but also enjoy personal touch and quality time.

  3. My husband and I decided to read this book together. It was given to us as a gift. We really appreciated the message of this book. Unfortunatelly, this book did not provide any new materials. There was no specific or special insight that was gained. I think most couples understand that with lack of communication there will be marital problems. We were not able to finish the book because it was so repetative and boring.


Thanks for joining our discussion of this book!

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