March 26, 2011

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

I've heard about this book for years but never actually stopped to read it. Not until I'd had the conversation multiple times with my husband about how our "love languages" were different (quoting a book I actually knew nothing about other than it exists) did I realize I probably should pick up this book and give it a shot.

Do you prefer that someone give you a huge, surprise you with a small gift, tell you that you're beautiful, do the dishes for you, or talk to you for hours at night? Those five items represent what Gary Chapman calls the five love languages - words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. For most of us, we have one that speaks to our needs the most. For me, it's gifts. For my husband, it's physical touch. According to Chapman's book, speaking two different love languages is like someone that only speaks Chinese trying to communicate with someone who only speaks English. You're just never going to understand each other unless you each learn to speak the other's language.

Makes sense right? The difficult part is learning that language, especially one like Chinese that may or may not come naturally to you. Luckily Gary gives practical applications for each of the love languages, simple things like giving your spouse a gift every day for one week and holding your spouse's hand while shopping. Things to make the jump into the deep end of fluency a little easier. But in the end, as he says, "love is a choice," and sometimes you have to choose to do things not because they are good for you but because they are good for someone else. I haven't tested any of the theories and applications in this book yet, but you'd better believe I will be. Because what harm is there in spending more time on finding ways to love my husband. If it doesn't work, there are worse ways I could have spent my time.

And my review of the book itself - it's organized in a very simple manner. Each love language gets its own chapter with a list of ten practical applications for that language. And the most helpful part of the book - the profile quizzes at the end that help you figure out (if it's not obvious) which is your own primary love language.


  1. This is one of my favorite books. It was such an eye opening experience to read it and it all seems so logical after you figure out your family's languages. I wondered why I hadn't figured it all out on my own. LOL!

    I'm Acts of Service. My husband is Physical Touch. Our kids are Quality Time and Gifts. I have noticed a difference in my relationships when I apply these languages. Even if it's just 20 minutes one on one playing legos with my son or an extra touch as I pass my husband in the kitchen.

    I think this is a book everyone should read.

  2. I love this book. I don't read a whole lot of books more than once, but this one has had four, maybe five readings. And despite the fact that my copy is full of very-personal notes and highlighting, I lent it to my then-girlfriend several years ago.

    (She's now my wife.)

    Anyway ... thanks for reminding me of this. Maybe it's time to break this tome out again.

    By the way, I'm a Touch and Words of Assurance kind of guy, while my wife is an Acts of Service type of lady.

  3. I, too, have heard a lot about this book, but never actually picked it up. I should!


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