Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Five Love Languages

I've heard a lot of good things about The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman, but up until last week I had never read it myself.

Here is a basic summary from Amazon:
Unhappiness in marriage often has a simple root cause: we speak different love languages, believes Dr. Gary Chapman. While working as a marriage counselor for more than 30 years, he identified five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. In a friendly, often humorous style, he unpacks each one. Some husbands or wives may crave focused attention; another needs regular praise. Gifts are highly important to one spouse, while another sees fixing a leaky faucet, ironing a shirt, or cooking a meal as filling their "love tank." Some partners might find physical touch makes them feel valued: holding hands, giving back rubs, and sexual contact. Chapman illustrates each love language with real-life examples from his counseling practice.
Although I was already familiar with the concepts in this book, I greatly enjoyed getting the complete picture. As I read each chapter I could think of real-life examples of people who speak each of the love languages illustrated in the book. I can see how the information in this book, rightly used, could totally change a marriage.

One struggle I had as I read through this book was determining my own and my husband's love languages. In the book Gary Chapman explains that the easiest way to identify what love language is naturally spoken is to search for the kindnesses that are most desired. The easiest way to identify your spouses' love language is to look for the area that is most requested, or most nagged about. This is all well and good, but as I read through each of the love languages I realized that my husband and I consistently show love to each other in 4 of the 5 languages!!

Later in the book Gary Chapman explained that it is most difficult to determine your love language if 1) Your "Love Tank" is full, and has been as long as you can remember, or 2) if your love tank is empty and has been as long as you can remember. In either case there is very little information to draw on to figure it out. So that explains my difficulty.

My end evaluation? This is a GREAT book, and it is definitely on my recommend list. However, I will probably not be reading it with my husband for a year or two, as it will be more beneficial to us after a couple years of marriage than it is now, during our honeymoon phase.

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