on December 23, 2010
The main idea behind this book is that just as people have unique personality preferences, we all have unique preferences for what we find satisfying and motivating when it comes to love. Your love language is the way that you most feel loved and cared for. The problem is most people love how they want to be loved, and that doesn't tend to align with how their partner wants to be loved. So, you have to learn to speak your partner's love language. The author also believes that focusing intently on speaking the love languages will rekindle relationships where people don't even seem to like each other anymore.
My only critique is that they didn't focus more on understanding and discussing your emotions. For this you and your partner should read Emotional Intelligence 2.0. It did wonders for my husband and I.
The relationship expert who wrote the book arranges the book into the five love languages, and provides quizzes to help you determine which language you are:
- Words of Affirmation:
If this is your love language, you feel most cared for when your partner is open and expressive in telling you how wonderful they think you are, how much they appreciate you, etc.
Basically, they find ways to remind you that their world is a better place because you are in it.
- Acts of Service:
If your partner offering to watch the kids so you can go to the gym (or relieving you of some other task) gets your heart going, then this is your love language.
This love language is just as it sounds. A warm hug, a kiss, touch, and sexual intimacy make you feel most loved when this is your love language.
- Quality Time:
This love language is about being together, fully present and engaged in the activity at hand, no matter how trivial.
Your partner taking the time to give you a gift can make you feel appreciated.
How's your relationship with your mate? Your children? Your parents? Your siblings? It may be a matter of the state of the "love tank".
Author Gary Chapman in his book The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate believes everyone has a love tank, and that tank is filled by different love languages. These five languages are Gifts, Words of Affirmation, Quality of Time, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.
Often, we tend to give love in the languages we are most fluent in, which usually ends up being the languages that fill up our love tank. This would be why a husband who does yard work, dishes, car maintenance, etc. (Acts of Service) is floored when his wife says "You never show me you love me. You never cuddle with me, or caress my hair, or make the first move for sex." (Physical Touch). Or, "Why don't you spend time with me? Why do you work so much?" (Quality Time). And, "Why don't you buy me flowers? Why don't you ever get me cards or balloons...just because?" (Gifts) Or "You never tell me what I mean to you. Why don't you ever share with me what I mean to you, or what my good qualities are?" (Words of Affirmation) But, if her language is primarily Acts of Service, she'll feel so loved and honored because her husband does so many things for her, and thus feels "full" in her love tank.
This may not sound like a big deal, but considering the divorce rate is 50% (as one relationship instance), and so many seem to be unhappy with their primary relationships, the concept of love languages may very well be a signficant factor in understanding self and others, and in relationship growth. Perhaps relationships get rocky or arrive at an impasse because individuals are speaking a different love language than what fills up the "love tank" of the object of their affection...and a result, the recipient doesn't feel loved. It's not that they feel empty and unfufilled because love isn't being given, but because the language "spoken" is not something that registers to the recipient as a form of love.
Chapman further theorizes that we usually have 2 main love languages that fill up our tank. He also says that if a person has a hard time identifying their main love languages, they've either been on empty for so long and are out of touch with their needs, or they have been so filled up by their spouse, that all 5 languages tend to speak to them equally.
A story in the book that illustrates the love tank theory is the "burnt toast syndrome". A woman was sick in bed. Her husband would always bring her burnt toast to her when she was ailing. She was so hurt and offended by this repeated insensitivity and ignorance, that she finally burst into tears one day, and asked him why he did that...and didn't he care? She was floored to hear him say "I'm sorry honey. I had no idea. Burnt toast is my favorite, and I gave you what I would consider my favorite breakfast...burnt toast."
Chapman writes: "When your spouse's emotional love tank is full and he feels secure in your love, the whole world looks right and your spouse will move out to reach his highest potential in life. But when the love tank is empty and he feels used but not loved, the whole world looks dark and he will likely never reach his potential for good in the world."
I recommend this book highly. It could very well be a relationship saver!
on January 12, 2004
This book is absolutely incredible. Having serious marital problems, I was desperate for any kind of help. I was about to turn to counseling when I heard about this book. I decided to buy it so that my husband and I could read it together.
Not expecting too much, one lazy morning I suggested to my husband that we lay in bed and begin reading this book out loud to eachother. We read 120 pages that morning! We could not put it down! Both of us shed a lot of tears that morning, this book really hit home.
That morning when we woke up, everything seemed hopeless for us. After reading this book, we had hope that our problems can be resolved. Our attitude toward eachother has greatly changed since we read this book.
Basically this book explains that people feel loved in different ways. For example, my love language is "quality time" and my husband's love language is "personal touch." Without quality time with my husband, I feel unloved... my husband feels unloved when we have a lack of physical contact. Our love languages are so different... before reading this book, I just thought that my husband wanted more sex for selfish reasons. When in reality, personal contact is what he needs to feel loved. Before reading this book, my husband hated when I nagged about spending time together.. but now he realizes that spending time with me is the best way to tell me that he loves me.
Dr. Chapman says in this book that LOVE IS A CHOICE. Find your partner's love language style, then choose to show love to your partner in that way (it's not about what YOU need to feel loved, it's about what YOUR PARTNER needs). I thought that spending quality time with my spouse was the way I can show him I love him. In reality, that's MY love language, not HIS.
Even if your partner does not want to read this book with you, there are ways you can begin to repair your marriage on your own, and before you know it, your partner will begin to reciprocate.
This book is INCREDIBLE. I plan to pass it around my friends and family. Please invest the $12 and read this book, your marriage will never be the same again!
on April 22, 2014
I'd read the original Five Love Languages from the library several years ago, and I really liked Dr. Chapman's ideas.
They make sense: we each spell L-o-v-e differently. For some of us, it's words of affirmation, others it's acts of service, gift-giving, spending time together, or positive physical touch. Most of us have a dominant love language, identifiable from our own actions and our expectations of others, and all of us need to learn to speak all five languages.
On and off, I had though about the love languages in relation to my family and friends.
Now, Moody Press offers several of Dr. Chapman's books for review, and I was eager to try one again.
The Five Love Languages Singles Edition was a great choice. It encompass a lot of the basic teaching, while not being specifically about marriage.
Dr. Chapman's thesis is that much pain and confusion could be avoided if we just spoke each other's language. I agree.
Within my own family, I know that there's no lack of love, but we certainly all feel unloved at times.
Why? Because we aren't expressing that love in a way that means something to the beloved.
(If I really need a hug, and you offer to vacuum the floor under my desk, you'll wonder why I felt so neglected when you'd been so helpful.)
My Grammy loves receiving gifts. You can give that lady a package of pencils or a pair of socks, and she's hug you and kiss you like you gave her the Hope Diamond. My Mom hates most surprises, and she doesn't like accepting gifts because she knows how much they must have cost. For Mom, it's an act of service that touches her most. A bracelet that Grammy would be delighted to receive will truly mean less to Mom than a week's worth of folded laundry.
Family disharmony can come from very simple roots: Grammy gifts Mom a pink bathrobe for Christmas. Mom looks at it and wonders "Thirty dollars for a garment I'll never wear? Why?" Meanwhile, Mom thinks "I didn't buy her anything, but I know she need's her plants repotted. I'll visit her with new potting soil and make a day of the project, that'll bless both of us."
Was it love? Yes, on both sides, but they were each speaking their own language, and that spelled "You don't understand me!" to the other.
So simple, it's ridiculous. I can see why this book is full of personal stories, from college students with intractable roommates to second marriages, where the Love Languages turned things around.
Too many people, when faced with a personality conflict, react in defensiveness: "I don't need to change what I'm doing- they need to change how they're reacting!" Maybe all you need is a tune-up in they way you both act towards each other?
The other big obstacle I can picture is discomfort: "It's not my style to give verbal praise, hug people, hang out just catching up, etc."
Like Dr. Chapman says, your own style may never change, but you'll probably need to expand your skills so you can meaningfully relate to people with different styles. That's what this whole thing is about... meaningful interaction.
So, if you're curious about the Love Languages, and you're ready to apply them to friends, family, and significant other, then this edition is a fine place to begin. It's got testimonies to show you how this stuff works out in people's lives, it's got an overview of each language, it's got a quiz to assess your own languages, and because it's for singles it's got several chapters specifically looking at the point of dating in the first place. Again, I think Dr. Chapman nails it: dating is ultimately about connecting with another person, and if we aren't used to deep, intentional relationships to start with, dating will be difficult. That's why he applies the Love Languages to every relationship. There's no time like the present to begin learning.
Thank you Moody Press Newsroom for my review copy!
on March 5, 2010
Like a couple of other reviewers I had read the original Five Love Languages. It is insightful and has helped me and my wife communicate much more effectively. If you haven't read that, then by all means buy this book. Unfortunately this book has hardly been changed from its original edition and I believe that there should be some sort of disclaimer. Luckily Amazon accepted the return (I purchased the Kindle edition) as I reported this to them within a day of purchase.
on November 25, 2012
I previously purchased The 5 Love Languages and thought it was very good. Wanting to learn more, I read about the Men's Edition, expecting it to be different based on what the summary said. But the content is 99% the same as the original, not just the themes of the book but the actual words. I, and probably many others, was totally mislead by the write-up about it and wasted my money. Very disappointing. If you already purchased any of the similar books, do not waste your money on any of the others as they are all the same, as I found out the hard way.
on October 7, 2012
... as the original. There are times when a book needs to have masculine packaging before some men will pick it up. I believe that is the idea here. So this is a book that you would purchase to give to that guy who could really benefit but would probably not care for the original cover, etc.
on July 19, 2011
i loved this book (i read the kindle version). a lot of the people who gave it low ratings said it was full of simple common sense. to a point, that's true. but 1) simple is NOT the same as easy and 2) when your marriage is in crisis, common sense goes out the window and you start trying crazy things to solve the problem. or you can't even TRY to solve it at all and it spirals out of control. who can think clearly when there is that much tension at home? its nice to have someone point out some really basic changes to make.
my husband and i have COMPLETELY DIFFERENT languages. because of that, we didn't really understand what the other person needed because it was SO DIFFERENT from what each of us needed. we didn't realize how much our actions or lack of actions around a certain "language" affected the other person. now that i understand, of COURSE it seems like common sense, because it is SO SIMPLE. but i DID need someone else to point it out. thank god for Chapman!
this book gives PRODUCTIVE, action-oriented things you can physically DO to help your marriage. most of them take not even 5 minutes a day.
its made a HUGE difference for us. i read it about 7 months ago and my house has been a happy and peaceful place ever since (even through some heated arguments and differences of opinion). i hope it helps you as much.
on April 14, 2006
I was drawn to this book because the foundation of Dr. Chapman's Five Languages is very simple yet profoundly important. But that being said, this foundation is also little more than common sense. It doesn't take a psychology degree to know that we each have our own values and priorities, and different personal triggers for happiness. My hope for this book was that it would build on my and my husband's Average Jane/Joe common sense and help us understand and practice it more deeply after 10 years of marriage. Unfortunately, what starts off as a great vehicle never quite surpasses 20 miles an hour. This book did a good job of reminding me to recognize and honor differences, but it didn't teach me anything new.
The paragraph above would have prompted me to give this book 3 stars ("It was OK"). But the two paragraphs below tempted me to give it 1 star ("Hated it"). In the end I'm compromising at 2 stars. There are two things about this book that really bothered me.
One: Dr. Chapman seems to live in Disneyland. The contrived Hallmark card image on the book's cover is a good indication that its contents are idealistic rather than realistic. He believes that we can get over years of troubles and pain through exercises that include watching ducks on a lake together, or saying, "Thanks in advance for mowing the lawn," instead of "I want you to mow the lawn." Is there wisdom to his suggestions? Most certainly. Do they fall short in the real world? Most certainly. One after another, he introduces us to couples who have come to him after decades of misery and threats of divorce, and within just a few months they're walking off into the sunset (presumably the one on the cover) to live Happily Ever After without cracking a sweat. The more of these couples I read about, the more I felt like I was watching "The Cosby Show" where life's problems are easily solved and everyone plays their part effortlessly because the writer scripted it that way. Dr. Chapman consistently sidesteps the real world where humans are complex and life is inevitably complicated.
Two: At nearly the end of the book I became outright enraged, prompting me to write this, my first ever Amazon review. A woman comes to Dr. Chapman and tells him that her husband dismisses her, belittles and insults her, and tells her outright that he hates her. Dr. Chapman asks what her husband's primary language is, and she says it's Physical Touch. He then advises her to have sex with her husband. She protests, saying that sex makes her feel degraded and used as an object because she knows she isn't respected or cared for as a human being. Dr. Chapman persists, telling her (quotes shortened but not taken out of context), "Your response is normal. That's why loving someone who doesn't love you is unnatural and difficult. You need to rely on your faith in God to do this. Read Jesus' sermon on loving your enemies and then ask God to help you practice the teachings of Jesus." The woman again protests, saying it would be hypocritical of her to sleep with a man who hates her and whom she may well hate in return. Dr. Chapman persists again, saying, "If you claim to have feelings you don't have, that's hypocritical. But if you express an act that is designed for the other person's pleasure, it's simply a choice. Your action isn't born of emotional bonding, it's born of doing something for his benefit. That's what Jesus meant." WHAT?! Jesus wants women to pleasure men for their benefit without regard to emotional bonding?! I'm sorry, I thought that Jesus taught us the opposite. From there, Dr. Chapman tells her that if she gives her husband sex six times in the next month, chances are he'll give her the Thursday evening Scrabble game she wants. I could hardly absorb this justification as I was reading. Dr. Chapman's end conclusion is that his plan is a "miracle" anyone of us can practice in our own marriage.
For many little reasons, and for the one huge reason of the paragraph above, I am dumbfounded that this book has averaged a 5 star rating from more than 300 readers. I find myself deeply dismayed that people are incorporating into their belief systems advice which is so unrealistic, oversimplified, and even outright degrading at times.
Again, the foundation of this book is a good one, and it's good to be reminded that we need to see and care about others instead of only ourselves. If only Dr. Chapman would build on this positive in a realistic and respectful way.
on March 2, 2015
Bought 2 copies, hoping to identify and solve a few critical issues in my relationship. My 28 yr. old niece /newlywed suggested I read it. She said it was very helpful for her. To keep this in context, I am 54 and single so naturally I bought 5 Love Languages for Singles. I feel its a reasonable read but if you are my age, I believe the author fails to consider the contemporary demographics of today's singles. He defers to ones' parents quite often which makes it hard for me to identify with what he explains. My parents are both gone and would be, by the authors definition, considered naive to any of the 5 languages that he proposes. But even with that, I would suggest that anyone in their late 40's has grown so independent of a parent influences that become less relevant.
I am not suggesting that there is no value, I actually found it enlightening, but there is much more complexity to the statistical definition of singles these days that I wish he would address.