They say that French is the most romantic language of all, but after reading Gary Chapman’s bestselling book, The 5 Love Languages, I would have to disagree. This international bestseller written by the director of Marriage and Family Life Consultants, Inc. has revived the love in millions of marriages around the world by uncovering the five specific languages that successful couples use to communicate their love for one another. These couples share a priceless love due to their understanding of the language that the other uses daily to show their affection for one another.
These love languages include words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. In the book, Chapman reveals the secret to love that lasts by describing each of these languages and how to apply them to your marriage. He begins the book by describing that we all have an emotional love tank. As human beings, we all have the need to be known intimately and loved by another. When one does not have this and is isolated, it can be devastating and debilitating to them.
Marriage is designed to fulfill this emotional need, or “love tank”. The Bible refers to this when it spoke of the husband and wife becoming “one flesh”. Chapman goes on to explain that learning the following love languages can help couples keep their spouse’s love tank full. (pages 19-24) The first love language that Chapman explores is words of affirmation or expressing emotional love by using words that build up. Encouraging words, kind words, and humble words are all powerful ways to communicate love. Encouraging words are meant to “inspire courage”.
We all have more potential than we will ever develop, so insecurities may be holding your spouse back from doing what they enjoy. Your encouraging words show that you believe in them and their abilities. Love is also kind. Kindness is shown in the way we speak. Often times our words say one thing, but our tone of voice says another. We must always remember, ‘”A soft answer turns away anger. ” Kindness is also shown in forgiveness. Love doesn’t keep a score of wrongs. We must understand that forgiveness is a commitment and choice to show mercy and not hold things against our spouse.
The final way you can show love through words of affirmation is with humble words. We have to be sure to make requests and not demands by knowing one another’s desires and expressing those desires in loving way. Requesting your desires gives your spouse the choice to love you. If your spouse’s love language is words of affirmation you can compliment your spouse to others when they are not around, tell them how much you appreciate them, and write them love letters. (pages 37-50) Quality time is the second love language. This involves giving your spouse undivided attention, talking, and listening.
It is not enough just to live with your spouse and be in the same room with them; it means spending time together without any distracions. You must not only have focused attention, but also quality conversation. This is sympathetic dialogue where you share experiences, thoughts, feelings, and desires without distractions. A spouse who feels loved by spending quality time with you will want you to spend time in conversation, listen sympathetically, and ask them questions with a genuine desire to understand their thoughts, feelings and hopes. (pages 55-70)
The third love language is receiving gifts. After Dr. Chapman traveled around the world examining the cultural patterns surrounding love and marriage, he found that giving gifts was the part of the love-marriage process in every culture. For example, in our culture, the wedding ring symbolizes a never-ending marriage. The gifts themselves are symbols of the thoughts that go into them. It doesn’t matter if it cost money or not. Not only is it the thought, but it is also the fact that the thought was expressed and secured in the gift and expression of love.
If this is your spouse’s love language and you have problems spending money, you need to remember that buying gifts for your spouse is the best investment you could ever make. (pages 75-86) Acts of Service is the fourth love language Chapman discusses in the book. This includes doing things you know your spouse wants you to do. You should seek to please them by serving them and express your love to them by doing things for them. Acts of service require thought, planning, time, effort, and energy. These expressions of love should be done in a positive spirit.
However, one should not be forced to do these things. Love is always freely given and cannot be demanded. We should request things of one another instead. In the words of Chapman, “Requests give direction to love, but demands stop the flow of love. ” (pages 91-104) The fifth and final love language is physical touch. Physical touch can make a marriage amazing or destroy a marriage. It can communicate hate or love, and to the person who’s primary love language is physical touch, its message can mean a lot more than the words “I hate you” or “I love you. Physical touch can take many forms in marriage. Touch receptors are located all over the body and any caring touch can be an expression of love, but not all touches are equal. It is important to learn to speak the love dialect of you spouse and know what touch makes them feel the most loved. The touches could be explicit and require lots of attention and time such as in intercourse, or it could simply be implicit and take only a moment such as a rub on the shoulder. (pages 109-119)
This was a brief summary of the advice and insight Gary Chapman gives us about the five love languages. The book is full of stories, personal experiences, and more great ideas that I wish I had room to explain. I would encourage everyone to read this book. Even if you are single and never plan on being married you can apply this book to your life. Using love languages can benefit all of your relationships in life, not just your romantic ones. After reading this book I thought about the dynamics in my own family and how this book could apply. My father is outnumbered in our house.
He was blessed with a wonderful wife and two daughters, but sometimes being the only man can be hard on him. We all love each other, but like all families we have our arguments. After considering these love languages, I realized that most of our arguments are a result of not expressing our love in each other’s primary languages. My dad’s love language is acts of service. He feels most appreciated when we do his laundry, cook dinner, and keep the house clean without being asked. However, my mother, sister, and I all speak the language of words of affirmation.
My Father often forgets to compliment us on how well we are doing our chores. Instead, he gives us advice on how we can do things better. He thinks that he is helping us and loving us by doing that, but all we want is to hear how much we are appreciated. We get tired of doing things for him when he forgets to thank us, and that makes him feel unloved just like we feel unloved when he tells us how to do it better. If us girls focused on serving Dad because we love him, and Dad focused on complimenting us when we did good, we would all have full love tanks.
In the past few years, we are realizing that this is our problem and we are doing better about it. Despite our occasional arguments, we are one happy family and I would not know how to love without them. I believe that reading this book and applying it to my own family will prepare me for marriage one day. I hope and pray that I can learn to speak the primary love language of my husband so that we will have a life-long marriage that glorifies God. However, there is one language Dr. Chapman forgot to include. All husbands should be able to speak the language of “yes ma’am. ”