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: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 


Book Review: Love Big

LoveBig_CoverFinal_3bTitle: Love Big
Author: Rozella Haydee White
Genre: Nonfiction, Self-Help
Publisher: Fortress Press
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Pages: 178
Format Read: Book
Standalone or series: Standalone
Where I got the book: From a friend of the author
Date finished reading: October 14, 2019

Goodreads Description: In the words of Mother Teresa, “We have forgotten that we belong to each other.” This lapse in memory has caused deep fractures and allowed fear, hatred, and division to infect our lives together. We’ve become disconnected from each other and from our very selves.

In Love Big, leadership coach Rozella Hayd’e White introduces readers to the power of revolutionary relationships. Modeled after the image of God as a lover, these relationships can heal the brokenness of our lives by crossing over the dividing lines of race, gender, religion, orientation, ability, identity, and class to provide relief and inspiration.

Revolutionary relationships will usher us into a reality marked by love, connection, and a belief in abundance.

Revolutionary relationships lead us to love big–to love despite hardships and fear; to love in the face of despair; to love ourselves and others deeply and passionately; to love in ways that change us all.

My Review: I received a copy of this book from a friend of the author. I always enjoy reading local authors’ works. Some readers might be turned off by the religious foundation of this book, but this book is more about relationships, love and faith. You don’t have to share the same religious beliefs as the author to appreciate her ideals and her guidance. If you are doing a self-evaluation and wanting to love a bit bigger and better, this is a great book for you.

“To love big is to have faith, even when you don’t understand how faith works and especially when you don’t believe that faith even matters.”

If you currently feel or have felt the following, this book is a great guide to possible ways to change your life. “Fear and hatred lead to an inevitable conclusion: that there isn’t enough. Enough time. Enough resources. Enough jobs. Enough money. Enough joy. Enough love.” Here are some key points that I took from this book:

  • You can’t truly love others unless you love yourself. This is hard for many people. This may involve a healing process from some tragic event in your life. This may involve having a better self-image, including being happy with your abilities and your body. “Restoring my soul is probably the hardest work I’ve ever done because it requires me to be excruciatingly honest with myself and to listen deeply and well.”
  • Discover your own dreams, desires, and who you are. It is important for us take time to acknowledge our likes and dislikes; to think about our strengths and weaknesses; and even establish goals or wishes for the future – what you want to get out of life. “The goal is to name your hopes, values, and dreams, claim the ways that you want to show up in the world, and have a partner that helps you do the good and hard work of staying focused on the fact that what you say matters most.”
  • Live the life you want to live. When you love yourself, you want you to be happy. If a relationship or job or responsibility is not making you happy, it may be time to reevaluate and/or make a change.
  • Live outside your own bubble. “The bubbles that we live in keep us separate from one another. This leads to an isolation so deep that we don’t even recognize how disconnected we truly are.” It is a growing experience to not only engage with your community and the people/issues within your community, but also open yourself up to know more about the world. Don’t be afraid to explore the world and other cultures. “There’s something to be said for waking up, for the moments in our life when we realize we have been asleep. … And we all have a choice, either to hit the snooze button or to wake up.”
  • Show love. Showing love may be trying to understand or relate to others, empathizing with someone else or a situation. Sometimes love can be showing some gratitude and mercy. (I just finished a great book by Bryan Stevenson called Just Mercy.)
  • Establish revolutionary relationships. The author describes the steps and qualities of revolutionary relationships. See below. You love yourself and are ready to love others. These relationships are established to not only help you love but strengthen you as a person and help you achieve the goals and desires you have for the future. “Revolutionary relationships lead me to action. I must nurture these relationships and the people I love. I can’t be selfish because these relationships continually pull me out of myself and into the world.”

Revolutionary Relationships Defined:
1. God in Relationship with God
2. Lessons from Trinity
3. Covenant, Not Commitment
4. Life-giving
5. Risk-taking
6. Vulnerable
7. Forgiveness
8. Gracious
9. Diverse
10. The Foundation – “Revolutionary relationships create the foundation for building lives of meaning, joy, connection, and love.”

I personally have spent a lot of time digging deep within myself to understand myself more and appreciate the person I am. I enjoyed learning about the author’s idea of revolutionary relationships – relationships that will help you grow not hold you back. I think the hardest part with this idea is how family fits in. There is that common phrase “I may have to love you but I don’t have to like you.” I have found that I can choose my friendships, but I can’t choose my family. The author shared some of her difficult family relationships, but every family is different. I just wonder what is the best way to handle difficult family relationships. If anyone has any input on this or reading materials they would recommend, please share in the comment section below. In the meantime, I hope to do better at loving big!

“We love big when we fall in love with ourselves, rouse our minds, reform our bodies, and restore our hearts. We love big when we engage in revolutionary relationships and seek holistic healing, as individuals and as a community.”

“When we are healed, we create new, life-giving realities; liberate ourselves and others from systems, ideologies, and structures that are oppressive; and sustain one another to live lives of peace marked by justice. This is how we love big, and this leads us to love despite differences, to love in the face of hardships and despair, to love ourselves and others deeply and passionately, to love in ways that change us all.”

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦