Monday, March 29, 2010

Book Review: The Five Love Languages

Title: The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate

Author: Gary Chapman

Categories: Relationships [child/parent, husband/wife, friend/friend], Love, Self-Reflection, Marriage

Synopsis: Everyone has a love language.  What is a love language?  It is the way in which you perceive/receive love.  There are 5 love languages:
  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Quality Time
  3. Acts of Service
  4. Receiving of Gifts
  5. Physical Touch
While you may immediately think, "Hey, I like all five of those!" chances are only one is your primary love language ("PLL").  Chapman writes, "My conclusion after thirty years of marriage counseling is that there are basically five emotional love languages--five ways that people speak and understand emotional love."

After some introductory chapters, Chapman then gives each love language its own chapter where he describes the love language in detail and gives examples from couples he has counseled over the years.  Chapman then gives the reader an opportunity to determine what their love language is.  Here are a few waysto determine what your PLL is:
  • think of how you mostly express love to others.  This may evidence what your PLL is.  i.e. you express love the way in which you wish to receive love.
  • think of your complaints of your friends/spouse or ways in which they make you feel unloved.  That may reveal what your PLL is. i.e.  You always complain that your spouse does not tell you how much he/she likes the way you dress, how you cook, etc... this may be an indication that "words of affirmation" is your PLL.
  • Chapman writes "what makes you feel most loved by your spouse? what do you desire above all else?  If the answer to those questions does not leap to your mind immediately, perhaps it will help to look at the negative use of love languages.  What does your spouse do or say or fail to do or say that hurts you deeply? . . .  If your primary love language is used negatively by your spouse--that is, he does the opposite--it will hurt you more deeply than it would hurt someone else."
  • think about what you request the most from your spouse.  this may indicate your PLL as well.
Chapman then discusses how "love is a choice" and talks about the importance of selflessness in the marriage relationship. speaking your spouse's love language even if they aren't speaking yours.  He ends his book with a short chapter about understanding your child's PLL. He talks about how your child, at a young age, develops a PLL unintentionally and how speaking your child's PLL is very important. He also notes that chances are if you have more than one child, each child's PLL will be different so don't try a "one size fits all" solution for all of your children.

My Thoughts:   There are a number of things I liked about this book.  First, I actually learned something about myself (always a PLUS!).  Coming into the book I was pretty sure what my PLL was.  BUT after reading the book, my PLL is actually not what I thought it was (I just knew I spoke QT, but it turns out my PLL is acts of service and QT is my secondary language).   So, learning something about myself gives this book a plus for sure.  I also found it interesting to see how I rank the five languages in significance. 

Second, although Chapman doesn't really discuss love languages outside of the spouse and children context, I really believe this applies to any close relationships that we have.  However, I also think that our PLL may vary depending on the relationship.  At least mine does.  For my friends, my PLL is quality time.  Receiving a gift, words of affirmation, acts of service, and/or a warm embrace when I'm down from a friend is great.  BUT, for me, it really means a great deal when friends make time for me.  Not just time, quality time.  Likewise, it really hurts a great deal when friends don't make quality time for me.  Thus, I learned that my PLL in my most important (female) friendships is quality time. 

Like I said, Chapman does not go into the friendship relationship, but it was very easy for me to assess my PLL in all of my relationships through this book.  Do you perceive love differently from friends? parents? spouse? or do you have the same PLL for all of those people?  I'm sure, for some, you may speak the same PLL for each of those relationships.  But I learned that I do not.

Third, Chapman really focuses on selflessness.  Which, in my humble opinion, is one of the most important words in the marriage relationship.  He really talks about the importance of learning and speaking your spouse's love language even when you do not feel as though they are speaking yours.  Some of his examples from couples that he has counseled were quite moving.  By focusing on what others' PLL is, the book reminds the reader that "it's not always about you!"   Trying to learn the PLL of your friends, family, spouse may help you express love in ways you never have before.

Recommend?  I would definitely recommend this book to any couple that is engaged.  But honestly, I can see how many married couples could also benefit from this book.  And like I said, I was able to take Chapman's analysis/discussion of the 5 love languages and apply it outside of the marriage context.  So really anyone could read the book and learn something.  However, I'd say the target audience is engaged and/or married couples.

Rating (A-F): Solid A

If you've read The Five Love Languages please let me know your thoughts!!


1 comment:

  1. Awesome book! I also have the Five Love Languages of God.


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