The Five Love Languages

Have you ever read a book and liked it so much that you say to yourself, “I wish everyone would read this?”

This happens to me whenever I read a good book.

One such book I highly recommend to everyone is “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate” by Dr. Gary Chapman. 

Chapman, a renowned author, speaker and marriage counselor, has more than thirty years of experience in marriage counseling. His books are widely popular.

Based on his work with thousands of people, Chapman comes to the conclusion that problems and unhappiness in marriage often have a simple root cause — we speak different love languages.

If couples don’t speak the same love language, they can’t communicate effectively. The result is miscommunication and misunderstanding and feelings of not being loved.

Chapman believes the need to feel loved is a basic human emotional need. At the heart of every human being is the desire to be loved and understood by another human being. However, what makes one person feel loved is not always the thing that makes another person feel loved.

In the field of linguistics, there are many different languages: English, German, Chinese, French, Italian, Spanish, etc.

Most people grow up learning and speaking a certain language which becomes our primary or native language. We are most comfortable speaking this language.

Naturally, if one person speaks only English and another speaks only Chinese, they can’t communicate with each other. At the very least their communication will be limited.

In the area of love, there are also different languages.

Chapman identifies five love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service and physical touch. They are five ways that people speak and understand love.

A language may have numerous dialects or variations. Similarly, within the five basic emotional love languages, there are many dialects.

If you like to use kind words and verbal compliments to express love, then your primary love language is words of affirmation.

If being together, doing things together, spending focused time together, having quality conversation with each other, and giving each other undivided attention is important to you, then your primary love language is quality time.

If you think giving and receiving gifts is the way to express love, then your primary love language is gifts.

If you feel most loved when your spouse does something for you and if you seek to please your spouse by serving her/him, then your primary love language is acts of service.

If holding hands, kissing, embracing and being intimate makes you feel loved, then your primary love language is physical touch.

As we grow up, we develop a primary emotional love language based on our unique psychological makeup and the environment. We will speak and understand one primary love language.

We often love our spouse the way we’d like to be loved, and so does our spouse love us the way they’d like to be love.

But husband and wife rarely speak the same primary love language. We become frustrated when our spouse doesn’t understand what we are communicating. We think we are expressing love, but the message doesn’t come through, because what we are speaking is like a foreign language to them.

If your love language is different than your spouse’s, then no matter how hard you try to express love, you will not understand how to love each other.

Chapman uses the concept of the emotional love tank. When our love tank is full, we feel secure and loved. But when our love tank is empty, we feel used and not loved.

If we want to fill our spouse’s love tank, to meet their emotional need for love, and to be effective communicators of love, we must be willing to learn their primary love language. If we want our spouse to feel the love we are trying to communicate, we must express it in their primary love language.

Once we meet our spouse’s emotional need and fill their love tank by speaking their primary love language, chances are they will reciprocate and speak our love language.

Chapman believes that learning and understanding the primary love language of yourself and your spouse is one of the keys to a loving relationship.

If you are interested in learning more about the five love language and discovering your and your spouse’s love language, if you long to improve your relationship with your spouse, your children, your parents, or your siblings, then you will benefit from reading the book.

You can find the book at the Washington County Library, local book stores or online.

The book will also make a great Valentine’s gift for your loved ones.

For more info:

[Originally published in Woodbury Bulletin on Feb. 11, 2009]

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