“The Five Languages of Love,” by Gary Chapman is
an Excellent Book for Deepening a Love Relationship
Would this book have saved my first marriage? Anything
is possible but my focus is now on using Gary Chapman’s “The Five Love Languages” to enrich my
second marriage. Its message is so simple that you’d have to be totally self-absorbed to miss it.
Why no-one has published this book before is a mystery. Marriage as we know it has only really existed for
500 years, so why has the concept of love languages been hidden from us for so long? It’s unbelievable that
all of the love researchers have missed such an important theory over the centuries. Chapman contends that
there are five languages of love: gifts, quality of time, acts of service, words of affirmation, and physical
touch. He maintains that most of us are fluent in at least two of these languages and usually these are the
ones that fill up our own personal “Love Tank”. Although it’s a useful term, I really wish he had
found a better phrase for our reservoir of “feel-good”.
Problems arise, it appears, when your two preferred love languages don’t match those of your partner. If grabbing
your partner unexpectedly does it for you and doesn’t do it for your partner, for example, you could be heading
for troubled waters. If you believe that buying gifts is buying you love and your partner disregards them,
you should take that as a signal. Trouble is most people take these rebuffs as personal affronts and not
as a signal to change channels. Chapman uses excellent illustrative storytelling to emphasize the importance
of each love language. He injects a good dose of humor to drive the messages home. The tale of the caring
husband who made burnt toast for his sick wife because that was his personal preference had me laughing out
loud. Needless to say his wife thought he was undertaking some form of evil torture.
As soon as Chapman spelt out the “five languages” in the book, I was analyzing my own performance.
I asked my wife; we talked about almost everyone we knew and it became clear to me that in “The Five
Love Languages”, Chapman has opened a door that was previously difficult to budge.
The applications are endless. Obviously, relationships in difficulty can start to work methodically towards
a better understanding of one another using the terms. For those of us with children, the five languages
make it easier to understand different responses to gifts, praise, acts of service and so on. Singles searching
for love might understand more clearly how their unattainable ideal partner could be more about “love
tanks” than looks.
Chapman even shows how our annoyance with others in our life is actually generated by our own love language
rather than anything the other person is doing. Some people are neat and tidy, others are scruffy and untidy.
Neither trait makes that person particularly evil or scheming. It’s just the way they are. They get a buzz
out of doing things a different way. The five languages can show people how to get along better at home,
in the workplace or just walking along the street. It can help us in fixing relationships that need more tender loving care.
Before this book was published there were many attempts to encourage people to become more forgiving about
the acts and omissions of others. Marriage guidance counselors, anger management trainers, child therapists
and a whole army of writers have tried to explain this process. I have read most every book on the subject
and “The Five Languages” is the first to make talking about it easy. Gary Chapman deserves every
accolade that exists for encapsulating such a tricky subject so simply. He just needs a sexier name for the “Love
Book Review by Mike Kay