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The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Hello everyone!  I’ve been saving this review for February, because I thought it would be a good fit for Valentine’s Day.  My fiance and I have been attending a variety of marriage preparation classes and meetings through his church, and the priest who is advising us recommended that we both read The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

The 5 Love Languages

The 5 Love Languages

I thought the book was pretty good.  As a linguist, I naturally loved that he used languages and dialects as a metaphor for expressing love.  The basic concept is that there are five main ways people express love (Quality Time, Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, and Gifts), and usually married couples don’t use the same “language.”  By figuring out which language your partner speaks/understands and using it, you can make them feel more loved and appreciated.  For example, if a partner’s love language is “Acts of Service,” then they might prefer help with chores over compliments. But if a partner’s love language is “Quality Time,” doing chores in another part of the house from where they are might not make them feel loved at all.

Another good thing about this book is that the author has set up his ideas so that they apply to more than just romantic love.  Do you want your coworkers or roommates to feel appreciated?  Are you more interested in strengthening relationships within your family?  These ways of communicating love and appreciation could still be useful, and in fact, there are now several other versions of the Love Languages book (presumably with the same concepts but different examples.)  I was intrigued by this and spent some time pondering which love language different people I know speak.

My one complaint about the book would be that each chapter seemed to begin with a fairly depressing anecdote about a failing marriage.  Of course, all of the marriages were eventually saved by applying the concept of love languages, but I still found the anecdotes somewhat off-putting.  It just seemed a little too negative for people in newer relationships.  It wouldn’t stop me from recommending the book, but I would definitely mention that fact to anyone that was considering reading it.

If you think you might be interested in reading the book, I would recommend skimming the website and taking a quiz here.  It’s a great preview of the book.  You might also check out some of the other versions of the book-this is the original and it only focuses on married couples.  You might find a different version more interesting.

I give this book three stars, because although the concepts were very interesting, I thought the writing was simple and the explanations and examples could have been more concise. ★★★

-Elizabeth

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