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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.

- Affection:
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.

- Gifts:
Your partner taking the time to give you a gift can make you feel appreciated.

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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!
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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!
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on December 1, 2010
Dr. Gary Chapman should be nominated for something .....HUGE. This book is a life changer. No, a love changer. Ok, it's both. What hit me right away is it made perfect sense. Then, to top that, by putting the information to actual use, I was able to see real results just like he had written about in the book. After assessing my wife as having the "acts of service" love language, I decided to test out how she would react. I'm usually up and out the door to work before she gets up. I know she enjoys a cup of coffee in the morning and the sooner the better. So, one morning I set up the coffee pot and put a sticky note on it stating, "Just turn me on." She called me at the office and went on and on about how sweet that was and how I scored big points. The guys in the adjoining cubicles were baffled at my side of the conversation. When I told them about the call, and about the book, they thought it worth looking into a bit more.
I've given over a dozen copies to friends and family. I just gave one to my nephew who was recently married. I even sent one to a guy I met on a plane who told me he was engaged. Without exception, people come back and tell me how The 5 Love Languages have made such a positive difference in their relationships. This stuff should be taught in school.
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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.
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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.
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Requests give direction to love, but demands stop the flow of love. ~Gary Chapman

It is amazing how you will just have learned a lesson and then read it in a book, however, there are many lessons you don't want to learn five years from now. This book is filled with ideas on how you can immediately transform your relationship from a cold grave to a peaceful island resort. Perhaps you want to change your life into an amazing adventure or you want to calm the storms.

Gary Chapman presents five love languages. One of these languages may be your primary love language, but he takes it further and explores the dialects of love. I think that many of us want all five languages, but there are various ways each can be expressed.

Gary explains the five languages in detail and finally you will understand why some people don't respond to your gifts and others go wild with happy kitten joy. When you meet someone who shares your primary language it can feel like you have entered a magical country where everyone is speaking your language.

For some individuals, "words of encouragement" will be much higher on their list than "the show of love through gifts" or "acts of service."

I had trouble deciding which language was my favorite, but I know I get a bit happy when I receive gifts. However, I noticed that I never complain about not receiving gifts. Gary actually made it easier to figure out when he started to talk about what you complain about most. I normally say: "You are not listening to me."

While I enjoy gifts, I'm never demanding in this area. So then I considered "Quality Time." Bingo, I was very concerned about "Quality Conversation." There is definitely "bliss" in "sympathetic dialogue." This is actually a rare thing indeed. When you talk to people, most of the time they are more worried about what they are going to say next and when you find someone who actually listens to what you are saying and responds in a way that makes you feel understood, that is bliss.

So, I was very happy to have discovered my primary love language and I also figured out why people in my life don't always respond to gifts in the way I think they would. Some do and they will be getting more boxes of homemade cookies, for sure. ;)

Gary does bring out various aspects of love that make you realize that love is not just a happy feeling of infatuation. It was interesting to read about how long the initial bliss stage lasts in most relationships and then to read about the decline and divorce rates for first, second and third marriages.

There are examples in this book that present great hope for marriages that have grown cold or are on the rocks. Even one partner can read this book and change their relationship.

There is a study guide at the end of the book and the questions can be used at home or in a class setting.

"The Five Love Languages" is an essential book for marriage counselors, couples and anyone who wants to figure out how their partner responds to various forms of love.

~The Rebecca Review
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on December 13, 1999
The author reveals, through 25 years of counseling, that he has determined people communicate love in five basic ways.They are Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Physical Touch and Giving Gifts. For example, if my primary love language is Quality Time, then I will show my love to others by spending quality time with them. If I don't receive that in return, my love tank will be empty. The author stresses the importance of knowing your loved one's love language so that you can communicate love to that person in a way in which he/she feels love, so that their love tank can be continually replenished. If my spous's love language is acts of service and he is always doing things for me to communicate his love, but I receive love through the language of quality time, I will not receive his acts of service as communicating love and therefore my love tank will be dry. I in return, must communicate my love to him through acts of service in order to fill his love tank. An empty love tank causes relationships to deteriorate.This book was excellent for teaching us to recognize the way in which our loved ones receive and feel loved.
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on October 4, 1999
It is so simple and easy to understand. After I read it, I couldn't understand why I hadn't realized these concepts before. I wish I could give a copy of this book to every man, woman, and child. What a wonderful world we would have if we all understood the "Five Love Languages" and spoke them to all we meet everyday!! The family is a great place to start. My family and I regularly ask eachother "How full is the 'love tank?'". When things are tough at school, work or life in general, we now ask eachother freely "What can I do to make your love tank full?" Sometimes only the passing of time will cure a family problem (example: problems at work), but our family's committment to express to eachother the variety of dialects between quality time, words of affirmation, and physical touch (which seem to be the most needed of the 5 languages in our particular household when outside problems occur) can make the hardest of times go by so much easier and faster. How I wish everyone would read this book!!!
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on May 22, 2000
Are you sure you know what makes your mate feel loved? If you can answer "yes" without hesitation you are either very lucky or (more likely?) too hasty. Reading this book made me understand more fully what I thought I knew already: Human beings are different. One person's way of expressing love may mean little to another person. Gary Chapman identifies five basic ways of expressing love: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Acts of Service, Giving Gifts, and Physical Touch. If you and your mate speaks different "love languages" AND NONE OF YOU REALIZE IT, disappointments and problems are in store. E.g, imagine you give your mate a gift that you put a lot of work or money in, but s/he would much rather just be together with you for an hour. Both of you will be disappointed, you because the gift what not taken as the love sign it was meant to be, your mate because you spent time on the gift instead of spending time on him/her. Turn the story around and imagine the joy possible if you both know what will make each other feel loved and both express love in the mate's love language. The book is an easy read, full of examplifying stories from real life, and avoids the pitfall of easy solutions to hard problems. There are a few Scripture references in each chapter, which is a plus from my point of view, but the book can be read without those by anybody ready to think of the loved one before thinking of oneself. One reservation about me: I am a bachelor, and this is mostly a marriage book. The principles of the book can be applied to family and people around me, but without a mate I am not fully competent to judge to book. At least I know what to give my cousin when she is married at the end of the summer!
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