Whenever I hear something three times, I normally pay attention. In the course of the past month, three people mentioned a new book called, ‘The Five Love Languages’ by Gary Chapman, so I ordered it. Chapman is a family therapist that developed this model to help married couples. He has found that that there are five love languages :
1. Quality Time
2. Acts of Service
3. Words of Affirmation
5. Physical Touch
His book explores each love language in depth, giving examples of how to love your partner in these ways. Chapman’s premise is that trouble can arise when partners speak different love languages and thereby stop meeting each others’ important needs. For example, a wife might need Quality time but her husband needs Acts of Service. So she might try to surprise him with theater tickets to show that she loves him but what he really needs is for her to prepare his dinner and do the laundry. Conversely, he may show he loves her by mowing the yard and doing the dishes but what she really wants is for him to close the television and talk to her for 20 minutes at the end of the day. This is important to understand because it is common for one partner to think the other one wants to be loved in the exact way that they do, but this is a fallacy. So this book helps you to identify your own primary love language, as well as the primary love language of your partner. This realization helps you to connect more. Chapman encourages both partners to fill each others’ love tank by doing something in your partner’s love language that he/she wants three times a week (and vice versa). Like when you were dating, the two of you then recreate an environment where you are consistently giving to each other to make the other happy. This increases the surprises, joy and mutual care in your relationship.
I enjoyed the book and think that it is a clever tool to help couples identify their own primary love needs and to begin to communicate about them and address them together. It is simple to do (as it comes with a quiz at the end to help you identify your love language) and it is something couples can then apply on their own, after reading the book. This is what I liked about it.
The downside is that this simple tool does not contend with the myriad of other issues that challenge married couples including unconscious patterns, their parental blueprint, their need to compromise and communicate about heated issues and their ability to problem-solve as a team. So it is important not to approach this book as THE SOLUTION to marital happiness ever after. It is presented in this way in the book, with the many stories of married couples who make this simple change and are then seemingly happy ever more. While I think identifying each other’s love needs is a good start, there may be other things that couples need to practice and learn in order to work well together in the long run.
Despite this limitation, many married couples get caught up in their routines and responsibilities and what how they treat each other is largely unconscious and automatic. Over the years it’s easy for partners to feel invisible and for their relationship to grow stale. This book can help you to quickly identify what makes you and your partner feel most loved so you can immediately apply it to your relationship. So I encourage couples to get the book, try it and let me know what you think. I’ve posted the link to the book on amazon.com below.
Also feel free to post any revelations about your own love language below.
My Best in Love,
Author of ‘Dating from the Inside Out: How to Use the Law of Attraction in Matters of the Heart’ published by Atria Books.