Book Review: The 5 Love Languages

123456Title: The 5 Love Languages
Author: Gary Chapman
Genre: Nonfiction Self-Help
Publisher: Northfield Publishing
Publication Date: January 1, 1990
Pages: 204 pages
Format Read: Audiobook
Standalone or series: Standalone
Where I got the book: Library Libby app
Date finished reading: January 9, 2020

Goodreads Description: Couples who understand each other’s love language hold a priceless advantage in the quest for love that lasts a lifetime — they know how to effectively and consistently make each other feel truly and deeply loved. That gift never fades away.

My Review: After years of counseling couples and talking with people about their relationships (both good relationships and bad relationships), the author, Gary Chapman, derived a concept on how to build strong relationships and marriages. This concept is the understanding of what he deems the five love languages. The five love languages are:

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Quality Time
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Physical Touch

I was curious about this book, because even though it is 30 years old, I still keep hearing about it on a regular basis. Plus, I am always looking for books that can help me strengthen my personal relationships.

The first step in utilizing this concept is understanding your own love languages. I admit that the more examples I read of each of the love languages the more I believed my love language was a bit of everything, so taking the free online quiz was really helpful. Apparently “Words of Affirmation” is my love language and then all the rest are pretty closely tied. A big tip I got out of this book is that we often treat others through our own love language and not their love language. Since I like to feel appreciated through complimentary words, I may speak those positive words and compliment my partner all the time and be frustrated when I don’t receive those words. Turns out my partner’s love language may not be the same as mine, so those words hold a different meaning for my partner than they do for me.

The second step and one that isn’t really addressed too much in the book is convincing your partner to also take the quiz. Yes, I could guess what my partner’s love language is, but I could be wrong. Taking the quiz prevents that error and will give further insight. It just may not be that easy to convince your partner to take the time to do that.

The third step is realizing what you want in a relationship based on your love language(s), and then also treating your partner the way that he/she wants to be treated based on his/her love language(s). Gary Chapman covers many case studies related to all the different love languages that can help those wanting to do things based on their partner’s love language(s). He helps us think a bit outside the box, when our partner may not be helpful in providing examples or expectations. However, if this is a concept that you really want to work on, it should be a team effort – you and your partner should both be investing time to meet each other needs. If you are finding it difficult to do that even once you know each other’s love language(s), that is when it might be useful to accept some outside help. Marriage/relationship counseling can be very useful.

Gary Chapman made a comment in the book that really moved me into action with this concept when he stated that there are “tremendous benefits to meeting the emotional needs of your spouse”.  If you listen to podcasts, the podcast By the Book discussed this book. They decided to live by this book for two weeks with their spouses and discovered many realizations regarding their own behavior and their own needs as well as their spouses. Jolenta made a comment on this podcast episode that this book was about getting over insecurities and putting focus on each other. I like that this book generates revelations, such as this one, to its readers and am not surprised that it continues to be a well-respected book and a well-used method in strengthening relationships.

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦