The Self-Help Book Review - The Five Love Languages is a book written by Gary Chapman who is a very experienced marriage guidance counsellor.
Gary has been counselling couples for 40 odd years and has come up with a simple system to help couples connect or reconnect. He, through his years of experience, believed the reason why a lot of relationships fail is because we are ‘speaking’ different love languages.
The brilliant thing about the five love language system is that you can use it in any type of relationship. This could be between you and your children, work mates, friends etc. It is just a way of understanding and connecting with someone else.
From that he said that we all have one or more of five different ways to express or accept love. Which are like five different languages.
The five different ways are:
Words of affirmation
Acts of Service
For the person we are in relationship with to feel loved, you’ve got to communicate with them in their own Language. For example, if your love language is gift giving and the person’s love language is acts of service. If you’re constantly giving gifts but not doing anything for them, not taking out the bins, not cleaning the place whatever the service they want, they’re not going to feel loved.
Unless you two understand each love language and decide to communicate based on the other person’s love language, the person you are in relationship with won’t feel loved or you won’t feel loved either.
If I could go into a bit more depth over what each love language is.
Words of affirmation.
The person who’s primary love language is words of affirmation, they feel loved when you show kind words, when you show encouraging words, when you praise them a lot, when you send love letters. When you through words, show them what you mean to them.
He gives examples from his book that If your spouse’s love language is words of affirmation, to remind yourself that words of affirmation is your spouse’s love language. Print the following on a 3 x 4 card. Put it in a mirror or other places where you see it daily
Words are important
Words are important
Words are important
For you, words might not be that important, but the person you are in relationship with words are important so for them to continue feeling the love that you have for them, you’ve got to:
tell them that you love them
support them verbally
The next love language is quality time. The person whose love language is quality time needs you to:
spend time with them.
give them focused attention
take them out and just be with them
spend time with them alone
if your spouse’s love language is quality time, take a walk together, through an old neighbourhood. Ask them questions about their childhood, memories of childhood. Really get to know the person through their experiences.
Another idea is to go and rent bicycles. Ride them till you are tired, sit and watch the ducks. When you get sick of the quacks, roll onto the rose garden, learn each other’s favourite colour of the rose and why.
The next love language is receiving gifts.
This is quite straightforward, you just like having presents. You don’t feel loved unless you got a present isn’t it? I like having presents, I wouldn’t deny that. I do like gifts, but it’s not my main love language
I know that if I was with someone who was ok with giving gifts and they weren’t spending time with me they were just giving gifts and I wasn’t seeing them again or they weren’t speaking kind words the gifts to me would be immaterial.
So, the first suggestion I’d say here is you need to save some money then again the best gifts aren’t necessarily the most expensive ones.
The suggestions that Gary says that you should do here is a funny one I thought, give your spouse a gift every day for a week. It need not be especially, just any week. I promise you it would be the week that was. If you are really energetic or you really have a lot of money, you can make it the month that was.
Acts of Service
The next love language is, Acts of Service. This is more or less what it sounds like, An act of service.
it could be taking out the bins
It could be doing the vacuuming without being asked
it could be washing your spouse’s car
The person here, needs you to do things for them. They need you to serve them.
The final love language, physical touch. This one as I said before is not just about sex, even though that plays a big role it. It is also about PDA, public displays of affection, giving hugs, kisses. A squeeze on the bum as you walk pass. A kiss on her neck as she is washing the dishes. This person wants you near them. They want to cuddle up to you in bed or while watching the TV.
If you’re quite an insular person, not really that bothered about hugs and kisses the person that you are with can feel quite unloved
I’ve got an extract here from the book itself:
“I had no idea what he was feeling. I knew he was not reaching out to me. We were not kissing and hugging as we had done earlier but I assumed that since we were married that was not as important to him now. I knew that he was under pressure with his job. I had no idea that he wanted me to take the initiative. I would go for weeks without touching him. it didn’t cross my mind”.
Gary has some more suggestions on how to communicate with your partner who’s love language is physical touch
Overall, I did enjoy this book. and I do refer to it quite often in my own personal life and my own relationships because it’s not just for romantic relationships, it’s useful for any sort of relationship, particularly relationships with your own children. All children have their own love language
You may have a child that needs more praise. I’m not saying you shouldn’t praise your child but some needs more affirming than another child. You may have another child that needs more hugs and kisses
Any cons, not much
I see it’s quite simplistic, in a way. I feel that if you were having serious problems in your marriage. For instance if there was infidelity, it would be hard to start on the physical touch if you don’t trust them but it’s a good framework to work from.
I can’t think of much that’s wrong with this book. I think it’s fantastic. It’s well written, it’s easy to understand
Also be aware that it is the guy Gary is a Christian and it’s a Christian book It’s not dogmatic in any way shape or form. He’s quite a gentle kind man and he does write it all with compassion and care that’s what you want more than anything else
So if I was to give this book a mark out of five. I would give it five stars.
I’ve got an affiliate link to amazon here where you could buy the book.
To find out your love language, click this link here that will take you to the official love languages website. You would then be required to complete the quiz which would take around 15 minutes. http://www.5lovelanguages.com/
I am a Therapist based in Sutton Coldfield, UK also available online.
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