The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Gary Chapman is a man of words. A Pastor, an anthropologist, holding a Masters in Religious education and a doctorate in adult education, he is the perfect author to write a book on the five languages of love. 

Or rather, five love languages, as he prefers to put it.


Author : Gary Chapman
Originally Published : 2015
Publication : Northfield Publishing
Pages : 208
Genre(s) :-  Non-Fiction, Marriage, Relationships

What are these five languages you ask? They are: 

  1. Words of affirmation
  2. Quality time
  3. Receiving gifts
  4. Acts of service
  5. Physical touch

Each of these languages is essential in marriage for it to survive and strengthen. I can vouch for these points now that I’m a husband. 

We must be willing to learn our partner’s primary language of love, Gary says, if we want to be effective communicators of love. 

To make matters complicated, people speak different languages of love and one needs to understand which one works when and how. 

The primary language of love for each person is developed in childhood and is influenced how parents express love to the children. Chapman reminds us that every child has something called an “empty love tank” which the child aims to fill in the way it knows love. When this need is unmet, the child falters. 

Falling in love, says Chapman, temporarily attempts to fill that tank, but one needs to understand how you want to be loved, communicate the same with your partner and then go ahead with your life if he/she reciprocates in the same language. Else, matters turn sour too soon. If the “falling in love” experience is euphoric at its peak, it soon withers down. Initially we just can’t just enough of each other, but then once you do, the euphoria makes way for mundane tasks that test your patience. 

Gary goes on to explain the 5 languages of love, summarized as below: 

  1. Verbal affirmations- expressing tasks completed, work done, the help received from your partner goes a long way in letting him/her know you feel grateful. It elicits similar behaviour in the future 
  2. Spending quality time with each other. Giving your 100% attention when you are with him/her without distraction. Some people don’t want the money, the cars, the baubles, their primary love language is just quality time. If one partner needs it and the other is not aware and speaks a different language, all the effort goes in vain. It’s more about togetherness than proximity
  3. A gift to the person you love is a deep visual symbol of what you mean to the person. It need not be expensive, even a small flower from the garden is fine. But it signifies you mean something, that the person thought about you while bringing it. Many people thrive on such visual symbols and love to cherish them. Many times, it is the intangible things that you gift your partner, like a shoulder to cry or just your presence in times of crisis
  4. Men, in general, consider acts of service as a token of love from their partners. They will silently observe what she does for him and appreciate it nonetheless. Because love is freely given, requested, never asked for. And small acts of service speak a thousand words in the language of love
  5. Implicit love touches are one of the dialects of love languages, says Chapman. There are many ways in which one can touch the partner and yet not all symbolize an overture for sex. 

One thing we understand from all of the above five is that each person’s love language is different. If it’s the same for both of you, then that’s a blessing. But when it’s not, you must each learn the language of the other. Too many marriages and relationships have crumbled because a. The two persons refuse to understand that there can be such a thing as a different love language b. They refuse to speak any love language other than the one they themselves know

Key takeaways

  1. Every person knows what his/her primary love language is. Make it known to the spouse to prevent confusion and frustration
  2. Learn the love language of your spouse and communicate more in that primary language
  3. Insisting to speak only in the manner you know will leave your spouse’s love tank empty and he/she may find other ways to fill it, for it’s the need 

Why I recommend this book

Such books must become part of reading for youngsters who are on the verge of entering into relationships. It opens their eyes to how the whole ‘love’ thing functions. It’s not just ‘falling in love’ that matters but ‘being in love and being loved’ that counts too. 

Gary Chapman has written this book using simple examples and a language which we can understand. Marriages are not just about coming together but being together. It takes much more than just proximity for a couple to feel loved and valued. Marriages function as a reminder that they are the bedrock of a family and the community at large. I really hope more people read and understand the ideas of this book.  

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