Five years ago, in the context of a volunteer team, I was introduced to "the five love languages." It's the concept that every expression of love falls into one of five basic categories. Now, for the first time, I read one of Gary Chapman's books on the subject, The 5 Love Languages: Singles Edition. It explores this concept from the viewpoint of various singles (never married, widowed, divorced). According to the Goodreads rating system, "it was amazing"—that's 5/5 stars from me.
As an avid story-lover, I thoroughly enjoyed Gary Chapman's use of true stories to illustrate how an awareness of the five love languages has helped people cultivate, mend, or excel in their various relationships. Romantic, familial, platonic—the nature of the relationship doesn't matter. Of course, he's promoting his idea, so it's not in his interest to share instances of failure. Nonetheless, the book's versatile selection of success testimonies inspires confidence that there is great insight to be found in this philosophy. It's evident that the author really believes what he teaches.
There are some nuances or side points of The 5 Love Languages: Singles Edition that I question, but for the most part, it was an enriching read. The languages of love that this book teaches are "Words of Affirmation," "Acts of Service," "Receiving Gifts," "Quality Time," and "Physical Touch." Though it isn't common knowledge in the general public, it seems intuitive, once explored, that different expressions of love will hold different levels of importance to different individuals. For one person, uplifting and affirming words are the key to the heart, while for another it's quality time. In His Word, God exhorts us to look not only to our own interests but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:4) and to consider how to stir up one another to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24). The fact is, while we all need love (from both God and people), our interests look different at a grassroots level. It takes thoughtful consideration to know what will stir up love in another. I really appreciate the attention this book gives to exploring the dynamics of human relationships.
The 5 Love Languages: Singles Edition by Gary Chapman was insightful and delightful, hence the 5/5 stars I give it. I would be interested in reading more of his spinoffs based on the core concept of the five love languages, and I would recommend this book to anyone interested in exploring the dynamics of human relationships as God has made it.