The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman is one of my favorite books to recommend to couples seeking to improve their relationship. Dr. Chapman explains that the expression of love falls into five different categories; each of us can identify one or two of these categories in the way we express love, and the way we want to receive love from others. Usually, the way we express love is the way we expect to receive it. The five love languages are as follow:
- Words of Affirmations – hearing “I love you” or the reasons why you’re loved, hearing unsolicited compliments
- Quality Time – undivided attention, spending one on one time with your partner
- Receiving Gifts – it’s the thoughtfulness and efforts behind giving a gift
- Acts of Service – taking over your partner’s responsibilities
- Physical Touch – hugs, kisses, holding hands and more physical affection
The reason that I believe this book is helpful is that it explains that there is no right or wrong way to express love, there are just different ways. The goals is to concentrate on what is effective for your partner and your relationship. Since we’re individuals coming from different families and backgrounds, we usually have a different idea of how love is expressed. Finding out how your partner understands love can be key to the success in your relationship. In the same manner, understanding your love language can help you ask for what you need in the relationship. The book is also interactive, since it provides a quiz that will help you find out your love language, as well as a quiz for your partner. Remember, expecting that your partner “knows” what your love language is will most likely never happen, so do not count on it. Instead help your partner show you his/her love. We all need guidance. I would also like to point out that Dr. Chapman is a Pastoral marriage counselor so the book mentions his beliefs often. Regardless of your religious views, I believe that the concept of the five love languages can help couples express and receive love in a more effective manner. If you feel that your efforts to express love are being overlooked, or you feel unappreciated, this book could help.